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WHAT IS THE UPASS?
The Universal Transit Pass (UPass) program gives students enrolled at participating institutions an environmentally friendly, cost saving, safe, and unlimited access to local transit for the applicable semester(s). In 1973, Queens’ University became the first university in Canada to implement a universal transit pass program. Now, more than 60 Canadian universities have implemented a UPass. This program is typically funded through mandatory fees that eligible students pay in each semester in which they are registered. At the University of Lethbridge, the UPass will be available to all undergraduate students who are enrolled in at least one credit course per semester at the Lethbridge campus.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The UPass fee will be assessed on a per semester basis and will be equivalent to the cost of a one-month Lethbridge Transit adult pass. Currently, this is set at $77 plus applicable administrative service fees.
*Note: a Post-Secondary Semester (4 month) Pass with Lethbridge Transit is currently priced at $289, reducing the cost by $212 each semester.
WHO DOES THE UPASS APPLY TO?
This UPass program applies to all undergraduate students regardless whether they are part-time or full-time. This program does not apply to graduate students since they already have a UPass program that has been mandatory since 2008.
WHEN WILL THE PROGRAM BEGIN?
Should the referendum pass, the UPass program will be implemented effective September 1, 2018.
HOW WILL I USE MY UPASS?
Your new student ID card will act as your UPass “ticket” and this card will have an embedded RFID technology to allow users to tap their card for bus entry.
IS THE UPASS VALID FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS?
Yes, the UPass fee will be assessed to students enrolled in on-campus summer courses with the same opt-out criteria as the Spring and Fall semesters.
IS THE UPASS VALID ONLY FOR TRAVEL TO AND FROM THE UNIVERSITY?
No, the UPass is valid anywhere Lethbridge Transit system operates.
CAN I OPT-OUT OF THE PROGRAM UNDER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES?
Students who are exclusively in online courses, or who attend classes exclusively on the Calgary Campus, will be automatically opted out of the UPass program.
In addition, students will have the ability to opt-out of the UPass program based on the following conditions:
-Presentation of a valid CNIB or Paratransit registration.
-A student enrolled in a co-op, practicum, or exchange program who is not simultaneously enrolled in any on-campus credit courses at the Lethbridge campus within a given semester.
-Students living in on-campus residence.
-Students living outside of the Lethbridge city transit boundaries but within an 80km radius of Lethbridge city limits.
Opt-out periods will run simultaneously to those of the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union (ULSU) Health & Dental plan.
The reason why students are given the option to opt out is because those students eligible for an opt-out may be interested in using Lethbridge transit services to run errands or for other purposes.
WHY WILL THIS FEE BE ASSESSED TO EVERYONE?
The UPass is a matter of economy, as city buses rely on passengers to recover costs. We realize that not every student at the University of Lethbridge is interested in the UPass, but for the UPass price to remain low, all students must participate in the program.
WHY IS THIS REFERENDUM BEING PUT FORWARD?
The ULSU has heard from many students that parking on campus continues to be a source of frustration, as well as they are looking for more sustainable alternatives to driving vehicles. Parking at the U of L is limited and not necessarily affordable for all students. The UPass is a proposed alternative to driving and dealing with parking predicaments. In partnership with the City of Lethbridge and Lethbridge Transit, the intent of the program is to offer students an affordable and sustainable method of transportation throughout the community.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE PROGRAM?
-Parking is expensive and not necessarily affordable for all students so this solution provides an alternative.
-The bus stop is located in a central campus location and therefore students do not need to walk far to access the buildings or the bus stop.
-Creates a “Plan B” travel option for students who drive, in the event that they experience personal car troubles or there is inclement weather.
-UPass revenues to the City and increased transit ridership will potentially contribute to improved transit services.
-The program makes it easier for occasional users to run errands or explore the city.
-Offers a safe and reliable travel option for those who choose to
For the University of Lethbridge:
-Supports the University’s Destination 2020 vision by lowering
greenhouse gas emissions through sustainable mobility choices.
-Enables use of land for green space, rather than parking infrastructure.
-Reduced pressure on and demand for parking facilities.
For Lethbridge Transit:
-Growth in ridership, which helps maximize the use of buses.
-Politicians and public see a more important role for transit within the city.
-Students are more likely to use transit after they graduate.
-Supports economic growth within the city.
-Lowers traffic volumes and fuel emissions.
-Improved transit services benefit other (non-student) users.
HOW DO I CAST MY VOTE?
Between Tuesday, March 27th at 9:00am and Thursday, March 29th at 3:00pm, students will have the opportunity to express their voice through a vote in the UPass referendum. The link to vote online will be e-mailed to your student account, but it will also be made available at www.ulsu.ca.