Cheap TTC passes approved for students
The TTC Board has given its blessing to the creation of a steeply-discounted transit pass for college and university students in Toronto.
Now, all that stands between students and their long-fought-for Universal Pass (U-Pass) are the academic institutions themselves.
If – and only if – the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, OCAD University and George Brown College collectively agree to a four-year term, people who attend these schools full-time will pay just $70 a month for unlimited access to subways, streetcars and buses.
That's less than half the price of a regular adult monthly pass, and significantly cheaper than the current post-secondary rate of $116.75 – but it's also a mandatory expense.
While I love this, it's also not fair that students aren't able to opt out of U-Pass. Hundreds of students live closer to campus so they don't have to pay for transit. Not to mention not everyone who commutes uses the TTC 🤷🏽♀️ https://t.co/fFDMRo7qD3— Miriam Valdes-Carletti (@mvaldescarletti) March 21, 2018
The $280 cost of this pass ($70 a month, based on 4 months per semester) would be added automatically to an individual's regular student fees each semester.
People who live on or near campus may not benefit from the program as much as those who commute using transit every day. Still, support for the program is relatively strong among post-secondary students.
Student unions from the four schools mentioned above formed a committee to advocate for the pass late last year, telling TTC officials that 95 per cent of approximately 16,000 students who voted in an online survey were in favour of a discount pass.
TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said on Twitter yesterday that the first of several school referendums would take place next week at U of T.
The TTC Board approved the U-pass for full-time university and college students. U of T holds a referendum next week. If they vote yes, the new pass will cost $70.— Brad Ross (@bradTTC) March 20, 2018
The transit agency's full U-Pass policy framework details how and when the passes will be rolled out, should everything go as planned.
Students would need to carry "appropriate TTC Post-Secondary Photo ID" with them to get the discount, for instance.
Nobody would be able to opt-out of the pass unless it imposes a burden related to personal circumstances protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The U-Pass would be only issued by schools, to their own students, on PRESTO cards, to prevent fraud, and be available during all three semesters.
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