UBCO students to vote on 20% bus pass hike

University students in Kelonwa are being asked to approve a 20 per cent hike in the cost of their UPASS transit passes.

University students in Kelonwa are being asked to approve a 20 per cent hike in the cost of their UPASS transit passes.

On Nov. 18, a referendum will be held asking UBCO students to approve the increase to $54 from $45. It will be the first increase since the pass was initiated in 2007.

“If you are a UBC Okanagan student and you like your U-PASS, be sure to get out and vote ‘yes’ on Nov. 18,” said Mike Kittmer, Kelowna’s active transportation co-ordinator.

“Even if you don’t use your U-PASS often, you benefit from the program. Just imagine what it would be like if more students drove instead of taking the bus—you’d see more cars on the road, increased commute times, fewer available parking spots and possibly higher parking fees. Nobody wants that.”

In 2007, UBC Okanagan students voted for a U-PASS program to be instated as part of their student fees.

Currently, the UBCO U-PASS costs students $45 per semester ($50 per semester, minus a 10 per cent subsidy from the University) for unlimited transit trips.

The proposed fee would see students pay $54 a semester ($60, minus the 10 per cent UBCO subsidy).

The referendum will determine whether students are willing to pay the new fee as part of the 2012 general transit fare increase; an increase that is necessary to support future transit improvements and cover ongoing operational costs.

“Since the U-PASS was voted in at UBC Okanagan, we have made tremendous advances in the state of our transit system and service,” said Kittmer.

“We know that the system is not perfect, but improvements are being made regularly.

“All Kelowna Regional Transit partners remain committed to improving the system to ensure it will better serve our community and students.”

Voting will take place on Friday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Student Union Boardroom of the University Centre Building (room UNC 105).

Advance voting will take place Thursday, Nov. 17, in the same location, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.