The fight begins for price equality

Students across Metro Vancouver are uniting against public transit inequality. With “UPissed@UPass” as their bold slogan, these students are determined to not let one’s school be the deciding factor in the cost of a monthly transit pass.
Student Unions from Emily Carr, Vancouver Community College, Douglas and the UBC Alma Mater Society, together representing 65, 000 students, have joined forces and created the OnePassNow campaign, wanting a $25 U-Pass for all Metro Vancouver students.
The campaign all began when, during the May election, Premier Gordon Campbell promised to expand the U-Pass program as part of the BC Liberals’ platform.
“Our plan ensures that all students, no matter where they are attending college or university, have easy and affordable access to transit,” he said at a campaign rally last Spring.
TransLink bases their U-Pass student prices on a policy called “revenue neutrality”. The greater the transit use is at the college or university, the higher the U-Pass fee is, so TransLink can retain their current revenue.
Currently, students at Capilano pay $31 a month for their U-Pass, and students at UBC and SFU pay around $25. Other institutions pay $73, however, OnePassNow is lobbying for a $25 pass for everyone.
“This is one of the most active, unified responses I’ve seen in my experience as a volunteer and activist,” says Rachel Simpson, spokesperson for the Emily Carr Students’ Union. “Students feel as though they are not being respected as equal members of the community. We want Premier Campbell to keep his promise of expanding the UBC U-Pass to all Metro Vancouver Students.”
The campaign members are not alone. At the beginning of September, 3000 Metro Vancouver post-secondary students were polled and 97% of them want to see a U-Pass made available to all students at the same price.
Colin May, a student at Capilano University, includes himself in that 97%. "The U-Pass provides a huge benefit by enabling us to be environmentally responsible with little cost. The U-pass should remain standard issue for all post-secondary students."
There are some students at Capilano, however, who feel that the U-pass in any form is a financial burden. Last year, one student even went so far as to start a petition to revoke the pass from Capilano.
TransLink and the B.C. government are currently deciding the 10 Year Financial Plan for TransLink – a plan that will shape the transportation for our generation. Rachel and OnePassNow recently did a presentation to the TransLink Board to spread awareness about the campaign.
“We want [TransLink] to recognize that the U-Pass is ultimately about investing in tomorrow. Students are the future of our economy and the environment, and we believe that a $25 U-Pass is a great way of helping students get the start they need.”
OnePassNow is working hard to get their message out in every way possible. Their recently released anthem can be found on YouTube, where students chorus, “Hey Mr. Campbell Man, we’re not second class - you promised us a universal pass”. They also have a group on Facebook and a live Twitter SMS feed.
“We have lots more like this up our sleeves,” says Rachel, including a “secret and creative” big event planned for the last week of October.
“We are sending a clear message to the Premier and TransLink. Don’t underestimate us.”
For more information, check out the campaign’s website at

by Samantha Thompson

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: