Clock Ticking on Mandatory U-Pass - The EyeopenerThis week's edition of Ryerson's weekly independent newspaper brings news that the Ryerson Student Union has 7 months to act on the TTC's offer of a $60 U-Pass. The U-Pass program would see each student receive a TTC metropass every month, with the reduced rate of $60 a month included in their tuition. This would be a savings of almost $40 over the current student discount, and a savings of $20 over the average amount a Ryerson student spends on the TTC each month. However, the program isn't without its faults.
The entire student body would have to participate, as the non-users would subsidize those who use their passes. While this may not sit well with non-transit users, it is a sacrifice that should be made for the greater good. Making transit more accessible, especially for students, is not only a noble cause, but it serves to introduce them to transit at a time when they are forming lifelong habits. In addition, experiences in British Columbia have seen ridership increases of 10% or greater under similar programs. In my view, it is clear that the positive effects on transit ridership far outweigh the small financial inconvenience of the less than 30% who do not use the TTC as their main mode of transportation.
Also, the pass may not be transferable, and there is no indication how this program will change when Presto is fully implemented on the TTC (which I suspect will be much sooner than Presto literature indicates). While this is one detail that I would like to see ironed out, the U-Pass program is better than nothing in the interim.
TTC chair Adam Giambrone and Mayor David Miller will be on campus on January 17th in order to gauge student reactions to the proposal, but I am certain that they will find near-universal support.. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if most students question why the Ryerson Student Union hasn't already taken the deal.