Student Union takes a pass on U-Pass


Sheridan Student Union is defending its decision not to opt into a program that would save money for students who use public transit.

Sheridan had a chance to take part in the U-Pass Program, which is used by many colleges and universities throughout Canada.

With this program, students would have had unlimited accessibility to all three campuses’ transit systems every semester for around $200 a year.

“Sheridan is one of only a few that doesn’t have this,” said Barry Cole, director of Oakville Transit Services.

About a year ago, Cole got Mississauga Transit and Brampton Transit to join up with Oakville Transit so the offer could be made to Sheridan.

“Unfortunately, the Student Union would not allow a referendum and simply declined the offer,” said Cole.

“I have always been curious as to why students would complain year after year about the cost of transit, yet no one would step up and advocate for a U-Pass Program.”

On Jan. 1, 2014, Oakville Transit users started paying $3.50 instead of $3.25.

“We try to raise it little by little,” said Oakville mayor Rob Burton.

Since the cost of fuel and transport are constantly going up, prices are adjusted more frequently, as opposed to rising drastically every few years.

Still, people complain about having to pay extra.

“There is the U-Pass program which could give students a super deep discount,” said Burton.

“U of T had student referendum and our transit has asked Sheridan to do the same thing, and so far they have never agreed.”

Although Student Union ended up declining, there had been discussion for a few years on whether or not the school wanted to go through with getting the U-Pass Program for students.

Student Union President Jenna Pulver made it clear that there were a few reasons as to why the college did not go through with the program.

“All three municipalities need to all agree on the same thing,” said Pulver, “and that’s really challenging to navigate.”

Another reason is, after surveying and collecting data, the college found there are a number of students at all the campuses that drive to school.

“With what the municipalities were offering, there was no opt-out option,” Pulver said. “Students couldn’t choose not to have a pass, every student would have to pay for it.”

Still, students who do take public transit want some type of discount, knowing it would be beneficial.

“If there’s some way the school could help, it’d be great; that’s money people could be saving,” said 23-year-old Jessica Johnson, a first-year Arts Fundamentals student.

Johnson commutes everyday by public transit from Burlington to Sheridan’s Trafalgar campus.

Recently there have been no plans to go through with getting the U-Pass, “And there won’t be until the board of the directors sees a significant interest from students,” said Pulver.