According to the University of Toronto’s (UofT) student newspaper, The Varsity, a questionnaire was distributed across social media platforms which surveyed students about the possibility of including transit costs in tuition in an initiative called U-Commute.
The university aims to partner with George Brown College, OCAD University and Ryerson University to create the U-pass, a cheaper transit pass and easier to obtain metropass.
The University of Toronto Student’s Union (UTSU) tried to implement the pass in 2008 and most assumed the initiative was just not feasible when in reality “it’s just that no one had been trying”, said Anne Boucher, VP of UTSU.
The initiative is not original either, schools like Carleton University and University of Ottawa have had transit passes included in tuition for a while.
A customer development representative from the TTC, Arthur Borkwood claims “…a U-Pass can increase ridership by 20%.” He also said, however, that “the only downside would be potential lost revenue,” which he hopes will be balanced out by the increase in amount of riders.
The initiative is rooted in the idea that if more people pitch in, then the cost ends up being cheaper for everyone. It’s important to note, however, that the TTC already offers a significant student discount for both high school and post-secondary students, saving 30 dollars a month off the regular adult metropass price of $146.
The initiative also aims to help students with mobility issues navigate not only to campus but also anywhere else in the city. At the moment, these students use subsidized taxis to get around which can be expensive. The UTSU hopes that these students will not only have more freedom with a subsidized U-Pass but also ease the cost to the school that subsidizes these costs.
If you are a U of T, Ryerson, George Brown or OCAD student, please visit U-Commute to find out more information as well as participate in the survey.