EDITORIAL: Is TTC proposed 70$ student pass worth it for Humber students?

With the proposed Universal Transit Pass by TTC, the question about how Humber students would welcome it remains hazy.

Humber College North campus sits at the crossroads of four municipalities. The significant number of its students drive to college or commute via other transit system such as MiWay, Brampton Transit, York Regional Transit and from points beyond by GO Transit.

Toronto Transit’s board agreed on adopting the U-Pass on March 20 that would allow post-seconary students unlimited travel for adiscounted cost of $70 per month. The current post-secondary student Metropass costs $116.75 per month along with $7 photo ID which needs to be renewed every October for unlimited trips.

Now it’s up to the individual post-secondary schools to hold referendums to decide whether to join U-Pass.

This seems like it would be a great deal for students who commute on TTC daily to their colleges or universities. They will pay less than half the price of an adult monthly pass. It’s a welcome financial break for post-secondary students.

But it may not work as intended at Humber.

For any university or college to be eligible for the discount, a mandatory cost of $280 would be added to each student’s fees each semester. This planned program becomes a burden as students who don’t use the TTC because they would not be able to opt out of that mandatory fee.

It would not be justifiable to ask students who are not benefitting from it because they use another transit service. International students who work part-time to pay their semester fees would consider it an additional burden.

Former IGNITE president, Maja Jocson said it’s not feasible for Humber campuses to join because Humber North is serviced by five public transit routes including the TTC.

The U-Pass, Jocson explained, was started by “core downtown institutions” that “chatted amongst themselves.”

Similar programs like U-Pass are already in effect in other cities with big universities such as Calgary, Waterloo, Halifax and Ottawa. The program has been a success for these cities as there is only one transit system transporting to and from the colleges and universities.

There is a higher probability of the program coming into effect in Toronto. U of T would wholeheartedly accept it as this proposal from TTC seems to be prompted by U-Commute, a campaign initiated by the University of Toronto’s Student Union (UTSU).

U-Commute is the brainchild of Anne Boucher, vice-president external of UTSU. She along with the student unions conducted an online survey to weigh student interest in U-Pass. The results show about 95 per cent of the more than 16,000 students who responded favour the idea.

We will have to wait and see the results of the first referendum which is scheduled next week. The U-Pass program would work only all of the following schools, University of Toronto – St. George, Ryerson University, OCAD and George Brown College, agree to a four-year term.

If any of the four institutions support the program, all four would have no choice but to accept it.

We agree with Humber’s IGNITE administration decision to oppose the program. It unfortunately is a benefit that a significant portion of the student body would not enjoy.

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