87 per cent of students vote for three more years of U-Pass
By Dylan Hackett, News Editor
Last week Douglas students across both campuses answered the U-Pass referendum with a resounding “Yes,” giving Douglas students three more years of TransLink accessibility. Twenty-nine per cent of eligible voters cast 3,202 ballots, a three per cent rise from the 2010 referendum. The U-Pass will rise in costs over the next three years to keep with projected inflation estimates: through May 2013 to April 2014 the monthly cost will be $35, May 2014 to April 2015 will be $36.75, and from May 2015 to April 2016 the price will be $38.
Students who voted at David Lam campus were less in favour of the new U-Pass deal with 21 per cent of student voters rejecting the initiative.
In New Westminster, only 9.5 per cent of students voted against the U-Pass deal, a drop from 2010 where only three per cent of students rejected the ballot referendum.
“Based on this historic voter turnout we know that students are engaged in the campaigns and services of the DSU,” said Jill Griffin, DSU external relations coordinator and campaigns coordinator for the U-Pass campaign. “The DSU is excited to provide our members with such an important service that makes the lives of students a little easier by saving them money. We are going to work hard to continue to provide member with cost-saving services.”
Other schools in Metro Vancouver who answered the referendum have also elected to renew the U-Pass and according to Griffin, “Results at VCC and [from the] UBC Alma Mater Society have been very positive. Both student unions had an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote! This program has become essential for students all across the region.” Students eligible for the U-Pass currently pay 20 per cent of the cost of normal adult three-zone monthly passes, which have no legislated pricing cap.
“Students should know the DSU, along with other student unions across the Metro Vancouver region, worked hard to get the lowest price possible and we will continue to fight for service increases,” said Griffin. “At the end of the day we knew the U-Pass BC program, even with a moderate price increase, would save students a ton of money compared to regular transit monthly fares.”
Soon after the expiry of the current U-Pass deal in 2016, David Lam campus will be connected to the SkyTrain system via the upcoming Evergreen Line slated for completion in the summer of 2016. Douglas College will be the eastbound terminus stop on the line.