BC Transit is proposing a UPass for college students in the Comox Valley. File photo.

BC Transit is proposing a UPass for college students in the Comox Valley. File photo.

Mandatory discounted transit pass proposed for Comox Valley college students

The UPass would give students a considerable discount — but not all students seem thrilled about it

As part of a fare review, BC Transit is proposing a discounted universal bus pass for North Island College students in the Comox Valley.

But support for the idea might not be as universal as the pass itself.

Representatives from BC Transit presented a review on its fare structure for the Comox Valley transit system at the CVRD’s committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 6.

One of BC Transit’s suggestions is to implement a mandatory UPass system for college students in the Comox Valley.

UPasses are discounted public transit passes for post-secondary students included in their mandatory fees. Such partnerships between post-secondary institutions and local transit authorities are common in large Canadian cities.

“We recommend that [CVRD] staff engage in dialogue with North Island College and the North Island Students’ Union to introduce a UPass program,” said Levi Megenbir, a senior transit planner with BC Transit, at Tuesday’s meeting.

Under the proposed system, NIC students would be charged the rate of one monthly adult bus pass — $52 — that would give them universal transit access for a whole semester. Students currently pay $135 for a semester bus pass or $44 for a monthly pass.

According to a staff report, implementing a UPass system could increase transit revenues in the Comox Valley by about $200,000 and increase ridership by about 180,000 annual rides per year.

“This has been shown in other regions to provide a considerable amount of fare revenue and ridership, as well as contribute towards reducing the number of cars on the road and parking concerns on campus,” said Megenbir.

But NIC students themselves may not be on board with the idea.

North Island Students’ Union (NISU) executive director Andrew Dalton said he was surprised when he learned about BC Transit’s suggestion and stated he does not think the student body would support it.

“Everybody I’ve heard from says this is not something they would want,” he said. “Charging students a large, mandatory fee is not in their best interest.”

Fourth-year NIC business student Sheldon Falk lives in Black Creek and said he would not be able to attend evening classes without a car, as the last bus to Black Creek leaves at 5 p.m. He thinks the current transit network in the Comox Valley is not comprehensive enough to support a UPass.

“The schedules aren’t good for students,” he said. “It seems wrong to deal with a shortfall in funding by putting it on the backs of students, which is adding a further barrier to education.”

Victoria is currently the only municipality on Vancouver Island where post-secondary students pay for a UPass. Discussions were also been held in Nanaimo for Vancouver Island University students, but the VIU Students’ Union did not support the idea.

After listening to BC Transit’s presentation, the CVRD board approved reaching out to NIC and the students’ union for further consultation.

NIC responded to a request for comment with the following statement:

“We welcome any opportunity to talk to our community partners about ways to improve transit schedules and routes for our students,” wrote NIC’s vice-president for strategic initiatives Randall Heidt.

Just Posted

Brooklyn Elementary was able to get its expanded garden ready this spring. Photo by Comox Valley Schools
Comox Valley school garden in full bloom after setback

Along with COVID delays, Brooklyn Elementary project had lumber stolen in 2020

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Little Brown Bat, Cori Lausen image
Puntledge River bats being studied

Project will use ultrasonic data to collect information on species and habitat

A 30x40 ft boat/car shop in the Little River area near Wilkinson Road was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived on scene. Photo by Comox Fire Rescue
Comox firefighters battle ‘showy’ shop fire Saturday night

Smoke could be seen throughout the Comox Valley

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Most Read