Survey shows students wouldn’t pass up a U-Pass




Ninety per cent of Sheridan students who were recently surveyed say they are in favour of a transit discount pass.

A survey of 466 students conducted last week by the Sheridan Sun discovered near unanimous support for a transit U-Pass.

The survey was posted on various Sheridan-related Facebook groups for students to click and voice their opinion on the topic. It was also conducted face-to-face with a random sample of students at Trafalgar, Hazel McCallion and Davis campuses.

A U-Pass gives students the ability to use the transit system in their college/university’s city for free throughout the school year by showing bus drivers their student card.


According to Barry Cole, director of Oakville Transit Services, Oakville, Mississauga and Brampton transit systems formed a partnership and offered Sheridan College in February, 2011 the opportunity to give students a U-Pass for $185 for an entire school year.

The Student Union says it rejected the offer due to a lack of interest from students. The partnership between the three municipalities dissolved.

Since then, “there have been no further discussions regarding a U-Pass for Sheridan College students,” said Cole.

“A few boards ago, the SU Board of Directors made a motion that essentially, it wouldn’t be brought back to the SU, or we couldn’t start bringing it up unless there was a demand from students,” said SU president Jenna Pulver.

After hearing about the interest students have taken shown via to the Sheridan Sun survey, Pulver said, “I would bring that survey and the results that the Sun have to the board, and maybe we would conduct more surveys and get the results from that. At least with you guys having your survey, we could open up that topic again.”

In 2010 Student Union put out a survey for students to determine which services they wanted the SSU to provide.

This included the U-Pass program and more specifically, how students were planning on using it.

Of the 400 students who responded and lived in Oakville and went to Trafalgar, 58 per cent said they would use the pass to commute to school.

Of the 226 student respondents who lived in Mississauga and attended Trafalgar, 68 per cent said they would use the pass to commute to school.

Of the 592 students surveyed who lived in Brampton and went to Davis, 70 per cent said they would use the pass to get to school.

Of the 294 students who lived in Mississauga and went to Davis, 80 per cent said they would use the pass to get to school.

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Pulver explained that they still do surveys about the U-Pass to see what the demands are, “and there still doesn’t seem like there’s a demand at this point,” she said.

Until the SU implements a U-Pass, “I’m not highly motivated to do much for Sheridan students with transit because I’m not going to have much work with to make changes,” Mayor Rob Burton told the Sheridan Sun in October.

With Sheridan shuttle buses overcapacity and other Canadian colleges and universities adopting the U-Pass program, many students have voiced their support for the idea.

“The U-Pass is used at probably almost all of the universities and colleges I can think of,” said Kathleen Glenn on a Facebook post. “I don’t understand why Sheridan, a highly commuted-to college with very low amounts of rooms for residence, doesn’t have one.”

According to Pulver, not only is there not enough interest from students but also she says there is no telling how prices might change within the next few years if Sheridan was to get a U-Pass.

Pulver does mention that the SU is trying to figure out how many more shuttle buses they will need to meet student demands.

“The question is, can we afford to be paying for more and more buses? Is that going to be realistic?”

Students are paying fees to the SU, and the union and college pays for the shuttle buses as of right now. For the two buses that the union helps pay for, it costs $283,000 each annually, as reported in a Sheridan Sun story in September. “Essentially, students are already paying for the buses, and it would be an additional cost on top of that,” said Pulver about U-Pass fee.

She explained that costs for the program would have to be sorted out and negotiated, but a ballpark total estimate would be around $250 to $300 per year.

In the Sheridan Sun survey, results showed that students were willing to pay up to $150 per semester for a pass.

“As a former UTM student I can’t even begin to express the value the U-Pass has had during my university years.

“While I am pleased that Sheridan has taken a step forward by offering shuttle servicing, during peak hours, it’s always crowded,” reads an anonymous response in the survey.

“Considering that Sheridan is present in three different cities, I think it’s only fair to be able to have the U-Pass subsidized by our tuition,” the response continued.

“It would be a great incentive to use public transit without the accumulating costs, and could potentially ease up congestion on the roads if more students were able to take transit instead of drive.”

Carleton University, Wilfrid Laurier University, Fanshawe College, University of Ottawa, UTM, University of British Columbia, Langara College and Douglas College are just a few of the post-secondary schools that already have the U-Pass program for students.

Algonquin College students voted for the U-Pass program on Friday. Forty per cent of the student population took part in the vote and 83 per cent were in favour.

“If I haven’t said it strongly enough: implement a U-Pass,” said Burton. “It will open up new vistas of opportunities to move around, your personal mobility will expand.”

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