Student Union should stop saying ‘screw you’ to U-Pass


(Illustration courtesy of Olivia Jo)


Oakville Transit director Barry Cole said he’s proposed that Sheridan get a U-Pass for seven years, but has been repeatedly turned down by the Student Union. The SU maintains students aren’t interested.

Yet, in a recent survey conducted by the Sheridan Sun, 90 per cent of students said they want a U-Pass. The poll was conducted in person and through social media. More than 460 students responded in six days. Although only about half of those who took part were transit users, o f those who don’t use the bus, 83 per cent still said they would want a U-Pass.

A U-Pass is a card that allows unlimited fare-free rides on local transit. Each semester, students would pay a mandatory fee to support the program. To board the bus, the U-Pass holder simply shows the bus driver the pass.


Many schools already have the program, including the University of Toronto Mississauga, Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Western Ontario, McMaster University, Fanshawe College, Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, Langara College, Douglas College and the University of British Columbia.

With students worrying about tuitions fees, living expenses, textbook prices, parking passes, gas and more, a U-Pass would be a value to students who have a never-ending list of expenses.

The last time our Sheridan’s SU surveyed students on U-Passes was in 2010. That’s when gas prices were $0.91 a litre, student parking passes were just $306, HMC was still a year away from opening and there were about 2,000 fewer students attending the college.

Four years later, gas prices are well over a dollar a litre and parking passes are up more than 30 per cent.

Transit routes and the frequency of buses have improved in Mississauga, Oakville and Brampton.

The college has since expanded to 18,000 full-time students, and we’re expected to grow to 21,000 by 2016 after Phase 2 of HMC’s expansion is completed.

Even though driving may have seemed more appealing in 2010, the majority of students who took the SU’s survey still said they were interested in using a bus pass for more than one function. Of students who lived in Oakville, Mississauga and Brampton and went to Trafalgar, STC and Davis Campus, 68 per cent said they would use the pass to commute to school. Only 16 per cent said they would not use the pass at all.

Despite repeated claims by SU stating there is little demand from students for a U-Pass, the college and SU are now each paying about $283,000 annually for the shuttle bus program that launched in the fall. The school also spends about $4,000 a week to run a third shuttle bus that only runs approximately six hours a day.

Sheridan did not anticipate the number of students who would use the service, which currently leaves many waiting in long lines, only to get onto an overcrowded bus, if they get on at all.

Instead of implementing a shuttle bus program that only allows students to commute between campuses, it’s time the SU takes another look at the U-Pass.

A pass that would allow students with a part-time job to save money while they balance work and school.

A pass that would allow students living on and surrounding campuses to commute to whichever grocery store they want so they can buy whatever they want.

A pass that would allow students to explore different cities in the GTA.

A pass that would let them go out with friends without worrying about loose change or loading a PRESTO card.

A pass that would ease up on the wallets of students who need and use transit every day.

SU spares no expense letting us know about hypnotists, Nintendo-themed pub nights and PlayStation 4 contests with posters splattered all across campuses. But how much do they really advocate for the interest of students?

It’s time the SU stopped being party central and started working to help alleviate the financial burdens of Sheridan students.

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