University students against summer transit pass

WINNIPEG — The majority of students at the University of Manitoba don’t want to extend the current U-Pass transit program into the summer but are happy with it during the school year, according to a referendum done by the University of Manitoba Students’ Union.

The referendum was held to see what course of action the university should take regarding a future fee increase to the U-Pass and potential summer extension.

The results were as follows:

Round 1:

 42.83% Continued Enrolment

 35.84% Summer Extension

 20.39% Discontinued Enrolment

 0.94% Abstained

(Eliminated discontinued enrolment due to lowest 1st preference)

Round 2:

 59.46% Continued Enrolment

 39.59% Summer Extension

The referendum gathered a record-high voter turnout with 39.5 per cent of students voting.

In a Facebook post, the students’ union said, “The students at the University of Manitoba have sent a clear message that they are willing to stand up and do their part in addressing the climate emergency.”

NO TO SUMMER PASS

Currently, the transit department is reviewing a report done by Winnipeg Public Service on the potential of a summer U-Pass program.

The report shows two options for the program: either a four-month pass option or an eight-month pass option.

The four-month pass would cost students $246.86, with the committee saying the cost would be higher because enrollment numbers are much lower in the summer.

The referendum done by the University of Manitoba Students’ Union shows students don’t want to pay for the extension or don’t feel they need it.

FEE INCREASE

In 2019, Winnipeg Transit recommended increasing the U-Pass fee to $160.75, $24.50 more than the 2019/2020 school year.

According to the referendum, almost 60 per cent of students want to continue the U-Pass, even with the fee increase.

“Despite a fee increase, students showed their commitment to keep this successful program alive,” said the University of Manitoba Students’ Union.

Winnipeg Transit requested the fee increase due to budget constraints and the enrolment of Red River College into the U-Pass program.

The students’ union says the final decision relies on city council and the final budget, which will be released in spring.

“The students have spoken loud and clear, and the focus now turns to the city of Winnipeg,” said the union.