Windsor

UWindsor students vote to keep universal bus pass

Students at the University of Windsor have opted to keep their U-Pass on a permanent basis.

The results of a student referendum were returned Thursday night

In the lead-up to the referendum, Jeremiah Bowers said he heard from many students who rely on the U-Pass as their only means of getting to school. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Undergratuate students at the University of Windsor have voted to keep their universal bus pass, according to results of a referendum revealed Thursday night.

The U-Pass was first voted in during the spring of 2016 as a three-year pilot project. Thursday's vote entrenches the bus pass on a permanent basis. 

"Really the core of it means that students will have affordable and accessible transportation," said student alliance president Jeremiah Bowers.

U-Pass changes

The price of the U-Pass will stay constant at $66 a semester for the coming school year. In 2020, the price will be adjusted each year along with the consumer price index, according to Transit Windsor executive director Pat Delmore.

"I think that's a very positive impact," said Delmore. 

"For four years they'll have been paying the same price for their pass, and we're doing that so we can encourage additional ridership."

Pat Delmore said he was pleased to see the results of the referendum, because the U-Pass program helps increase Transit Windsor ridership. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

One element of the U-Pass that will change come September is the rule about who's allowed to opt out.

Previously, only students who lived outside of the transit service coverage area could opt out of the pass. Going forward, those students will still be given priority, but a certain number of students who buy campus parking passes will also be allowed to opt out on a first-come first-serve basis. 

In the future, Bowers said he hopes to work on additional transit partnerships, and has his eyes set on longer distances.

"We'd love to explore discounts with the Via Rail, because we have a lot of students from Toronto," he said.

"[The U-Pass] is something that's here for the long run, so we want to make sure that it's continuing to respond to students needs."

Graduate and part-time students vote on March 28 and 29. 

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