Ryersonian reporter Madison Macneil says all students should have the option to opt-out of the RU-Pass. (Kayla Douglas/Ryersonian)

I love to walk. Partly because I love the exercise and it’s a good way to get my steps in, but mostly because it’s the cheapest way to get from point A to point B.

As a post-secondary student, there are endless expenses. Whether it’s tuition, food, rent or transit, something is always pulling at my wallet. So one thing I can confidently save money on is travel. Instead of paying for TTC fare or taking an Uber, if it’s within walking distance, count me in.

Last week, Ryerson announced the results for the RU-Pass referendum, which means that in September 2019, all full-time Ryerson students will see an additional $282 on their tuition fee statement each semester, totalling $564 a year. This cost will go toward an unlimited TTC pass for students, in an attempt to make travelling around Toronto more affordable.

The key word here is all. All Ryerson students will have to pay this extra cost, unless under special circumstances such as being unable to use transit through grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code. This means that students who have accessibility needs will be able to opt-out of the pass. Other than that, the only opt-out option for this pass is through a case-by-case assessment by the Office of the Registrar at Ryerson.

On a case-by-case basis? Ryerson or the TTC should not be the determining factor on whether or not you have to pay for the RU-Pass. This should be a personal choice based on affordability and usability.

The RU-Pass was introduced by the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) as an attempt to make Toronto transit more affordable for students. But what about the students who don’t need to use the TTC? Or what about the students who occasionally use the TTC but don’t use it enough to be paying such a hefty cost each year?

The RSU president, Ram Ganesh, told the Ryersonian prior to the referendum results, if the RU-Pass was approved, they would be going back to the TTC to discuss adding more possibilities for the opt-out option. Though he couldn’t make any promises, he said they were going to try their best to help the students who don’t need the pass.

The TTC argues that making the pass mandatory for all full-time students would make up for the loss they will incur from subsidizing the current TTC monthly pass fee of $116. 75 per person. If the RU-Pass is supposed to be cost beneficial for students, why is it forcing people to fork up money they would never usually spend?

The pass is a great idea for students who frequent the TTC, but anyone who doesn’t see a need for it should be able to opt out. It’s not fair to force students to pay extra fees on top of all the other mandatory fees involved with post-secondary schooling.

Walking used to be a cost effective way for me to travel. Now it looks like I’m going to have to pay $564 a year to use my own feet.

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