The aim of the Universal Pass (U-Pass) is to benefit students who commute, but some are confused about how the new pass would work and how much it would cost.
“To be honest I’ve never actually heard of the U-Pass,” said Ryerson student Simone Gavros. “I don’t know if there was any advertisement about it but I’ve never been aware of it. So I feel I’ve either been out of the loop or it hasn’t been advertised.”
The U-Pass is a proposed discounted Metropass for full-time, post-secondary students. It would provide students unlimited access to the TTC during the academic year for a lesser price than the current Post-Secondary Metropass, which costs $116.75 a month.
For the U-Pass to be implemented at Ryerson, a referendum must be held and a majority of the full-time students who vote must be in favour of the pass. University of Toronto St. George, one of the schools that was to be a partner, recently held a referendum and students rejected the offer.
Abbey Humphreys, a first-year history student at Ryerson, was surprised to hear that Ryerson will still be voting on the U-Pass in the fall, in light of UofT’s rejection. “I thought all four schools had to say yes in order for it to be approved,” said Humphreys.
Some commuter students, who say they understand the U-Pass. believe it would be a good value for money, if implemented.
“I take the subway from North York to here so (the U-Pass) would definitely benefit me because when you’re down here you jump on the subway a couple times a day and it’s not always worth it for me to get an unlimited pass for the month so I just use PRESTO,” said second-year hospitality student Sabrina Jean.
If approved, students will have to pay an additional $280 every semester toward their tuition. There will be an option for students to opt out on a case-by-case basis. Those will be handled by the university and how that would work has not yet been defined.
Third-year social work student Paige Jemmet also said she thinks that adding the fee into the cost of tuition is beneficial. “That way you don’t have to be coughing up out of your own pocket and it’s already part of your school fees,” she said.
For students that don’t rely on TTC to get around, an extra $280 a semester — working out to $70 a month — for the U-Pass just isn’t worth it.
Paul Fermo, a second-year business tech management student, wasn’t pleased after hearing that the pass would be mandatory for all full-time students. “(If U-Pass were approved,) I’d be a bit pissed off. I don’t want to spend $12 going back and forth, plus an additional $70 that I’ll probably use only once or twice a week,” said Fermo.
Ryerson will vote on the implementation of the U-Pass in fall 2018.
By Serena Lalani and Matthew Chin