Surrey Transit Photo: Ray Hudson

Vancouver: Following student support from 10 public universities and colleges in Metro Vancouver, the U-Pass BC program has been extended for five years, providing better access to transit for nearly 140,000 students.

“I remember how undeniably important my U-Pass was to my ability to get around while I was studying at UBC. Countless students have relied on this program over the years to get them to and from school affordably, enabling them to succeed,” said Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale, on behalf of Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We’re proud to invest in their success, while promoting more environmentally, socially responsible transportation choices, now and into the future.”

The U-Pass BC program, which began in 2010, is a partnership between the Province, TransLink, participating public post-secondary institutions and their student associations. Students holding a U-Pass BC card have access to bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain services within Metro Vancouver, as well as discounts on West Coast Express.

“Students are an important part of our customer base,” said Kevin Desmond, CEO, TransLink. “Transit plays a vital role in the day-to-day lives of students, and for many, it also resonates with their values and vision for a cleaner and more environmentally sustainable future. The U-Pass BC partnership allows us to support almost 140,000 post-secondary students with discounted transit passes, empowering them to travel throughout our region, whether it’s to school, work or home.”

Post-secondary institutions participating in the U-Pass BC program include:

• University of British Columbia (UBC)

• Simon Fraser University

• Capilano University

• Kwantlen Polytechnic University

• Langara College

• Douglas College

• Vancouver Community College (including the Native Education College)

• Emily Carr University of Art and Design

• Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (Burnaby campus); and

• British Columbia Institute of Technology­­

 “The U-Pass BC program provides us with the freedom to get around and the security of making life more affordable and convenient,” said Christina Ilnitchi, vice-president external, Alma Mater Society at UBC. “It not only connects us to our campuses, our jobs and our region, but it’s also the more accessible and environmentally friendly travel option.”

In 2019, U-Pass BC was an agenda item in referenda held by the student associations at participating institutions. Extending the program for a five-year term and supporting the mandatory monthly fee passed with overwhelming support at all 10 schools.

Supporting transit is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

• The current $41-monthly U-Pass BC rate for unlimited use of transit in Metro Vancouver will remain in place through to April 30, 2020.

• On May 1, 2020, the monthly rate will increase to $42.50, with further annual increases through to May 2024, when the rate will be $46 until the end of the five-year agreement on April 30, 2025.

• In 2018, U-Pass BC students accounted for 35 million TransLink journeys, or close to 13% of TransLink’s passenger journeys.