In a flurry of activity on Twitter, BC Premier Gordon Campbell announced that all Metro Vancouver post-secondary students (except those private school kids at TWU!) will be eligible for a U-Pass, eliminating excuses for students to drive drunk!!! Oh, wait.
The new universal Unicorn U-Pass will cost $30/month, with students outside of Metro Vancouver paying less.
So, what does that mean for you sexy UBC folk? Yes, our ego may be a little crushed as our elitism is threatened and those plastic cards with horrific photos from first year pop up everywhere. However, great news: MORE SEXY REFERENDA.
VP External Jeremy McElroy broke exclusively to us (ok, it was a tweet to Taylor, but whatever) that come January 2011, there will be a referendum on accepting the U-Pass at the new price of $30/month. Or, $120/semester.
Currently you are paying $95/semester, or $23.75/month, so the price increase for a normal school year will be $50/year.
In comparison, currently those other kids are stuck with the FastTrax program offered from Translink which allows full-time students from non-private post-secondary institutions to travel across all zones for the price of a single zone adult monthly pass. Or, $81/month. Yikes.
SFU, Langara College, and Capilano University (our not-as-hot sisters in the U-Pass program) are also affected. Langara and Capilano currently pay more than $30/month so they get an immediate price cut. We assume SFU will also be holding a referendum to accept the new price. What do you think? Is paying ~$50 more per year worth it for students from Kwantlen, Emily Carr, etc to save $400 per year?
The overarching question to consider is whether we will be getting increased service to UBC, or if we are simply subsidizing increased service along routes to these other institutions.
As we’ve previously mentioned, in addition to the cost of the U-Pass going up, there are also whispers in a not-so-silent manner that AMS Council is going to hold a referendum or two on raising student fees and tying our student fees to CPI. Stay tuned, kids…we have a feeling there will be some sexy and dramatic debate next year about a whackload of fee increases.