Monday, February 12, 2007

My Love / Hate relationship with the U-Pass

It's student council election time here at Ryerson, and I was just approached by Chris Drew, who is running for VP Finance & Services. He mentioned the U-Pass in his pitch, which brought back some fond memories of this proposal.

Essentially, if a student referendum yielded a "Yes", then all students would be charged $500 in additional tuition, and all students would receive a metropass each month for the 8 month semester. This would be a special metropass for students only, and would not be transferable.

Here's my two cents.
  • My opinions on the amount of tuition I am charged are beyond the scope of this blog, but I will say that lower tuition fees must be offset by higher taxes or reduction in services. We as a society can make that choice, but only after the ramifications are understood. The student groups who organized the protest last week ignored the other side.
  • Many Ryerson students commute from the 905, and walk from Union Station to campus. The inability to opt-out of this proposal has been a sticking point, but it can be mitigated if the pass is transferable. I try to walk as often as possible, so a metropass would be better off in the hands of one of my numerous family members who live downtown.
  • Any proposal should only be a stopgap until the fare card is operational. Then, college and university students should get access to discounted prices, but should also have to renew their privileges yearly - unlike seniors who tend not to revert to middle aged.
In the spirit of full disclosure, my good friend Noble Hove is running for the faculty of community service representative under the Ryerson Students Union party - the same as Mr. Drew. They'll call it a "slate", but honestly, who are you trying to fool? A group of people running for political office under the same banner is a party.

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