Starting this September, UBC will be having a different U-Pass program. After looking through the FAQs, here are some notable differences that I saw.
First thing of course is the new look of the U-Pass. Sorry to break it to everyone who loves collecting U-Passes, but starting in September, it will look like this:
Personally, I don’t really like the change. I quite liked the plastic-y feel of the card. It also no longer has your picture or name on the pass so it seems like a generic bus pass, without the ads. It is stated that it can only be used by the person whose name is written on the back of the U-Pass, but I can see this being exploited. Although TransLink employees do have rights to verify your eligibility, how often would they check?
Another notable difference is of course, the increase in price. The U-Pass currently costs $23.75/month for UBC students. Starting in September, the price will increase to $30. Even with the increase, it is still a huge discount from the $151/month for a 3-zone adult bus pass. The price for a replacement U-Pass has also increased from $26.50(?) to $35. I suspect that the increase in price of the replacement cards is partly to prevent the reselling of U-passes. It should also be noted that the prices will be the same across all schools participating in the program
Which leads to the last major difference I saw. Currently, the U-Pass program is named the “Vancity U-Pass Program” and only 4 schools are participating (UBC, SFU, Langara, CapU). This will change in September when program is renamed to the “U-Pass BC Program”. As the name suggests, more schools will be eligible to participate in the U-Pass program.
I’m indifferent about the new U-Pass Program, but I do think I will miss having my name and picture on it.