Codiac Transpo offers students free rides to promote U Pass

Post-secondary students in Greater Moncton will be able to ride the bus for free in February as Codiac Transpo pilots a new U Pass program.

Proposed program would provide post-secondary students unlimited transit for $100 annual fee

Codiac Transpo will offer unlimited free transit service for post-secondary students with student identification next month to promote a proposed new program.

The Universal Pass (U Pass) would offer an annual unlimited fare of $100 to students at CCNB-Dieppe, Crandall University, NBCC-Moncton and Université de Moncton.

By comparison, the annual cost of an average monthly punch-pass for students is $564, according to senior transit planner Marie-Claire Pierce.

Meanwhile, operating their own vehicle could cost up to $10,000, including monthly payments, insurance, gas and parking, she said in a statement.

The cost of the U Pass would work out to about $1.92 a week, while a cup of coffee a day adds up to nearly $12 a week, said Pierce.

But all enrolled students at any given institution would have to participate — "a buying-in-bulk concept, if you will," said Pierce.

The fee would be collected as part of tuition or student fees, she said.

Such programs are already in place at St. Thomas University in Fredericton and the majority of universities and colleges in the Halifax area, said Pierce.

The free one-month trial will give Moncton area students an opportunity to see how the system works before any votes are needed by student bodies or to an administration signing on, she said.