Student bus pass not to be implemented until fall 2020 term

By Nicole Buffie

RRC students will have to wait a little bit longer for the U-Pass, which won’t be available until the fall 2020 semester. / NICOLE BUFFIE

Red River College students won’t be able to purchase U-Passes until the fall 2020/2021 school year, said Lauren Slegers, president of the RRCSA, despite a statement on the RRCSA website claiming they would be available for students this September.

Earlier this year in March, students voted to accept the U-Pass in a referendum to implement it for the 2018-2019 term, but students noticed it wasn’t made available for them upon paying their tuition.

The U-Pass is a year-long bus pass offered to students attending RRC which will be tacked onto their tuition fees, with an option to opt-out if you are out of city limits where bus lines aren’t offered.

Slegers said that the results of the referendum caused a lot of delays, along with a report that had to be made by Winnipeg Transit on how the U-Pass would function which was a timely process.

“We would have loved to get it by now and we’ve been working diligently to try to get it implemented as soon as possible, but unfortunately some of the process and procedural barriers have prevented us from doing that,” Slegers said.

RRCSA president Lauren Slegers (right) and vice president external Alex Hartung plan to start negotiations before winter break with Winnipeg Transit. / NICOLE BUFFIE

The RRCSA plans to get negotiations going before the winter break, in which they will discuss what the cost will be to students, who will be able to opt-out of the U-Pass, and what the general needs are for students who use Winnipeg Transit.

First-year Graphic Design student Abigail Bakker said it’s unfortunate she won’t be able to take advantage of the U-Pass as she will be graduated by the time it’s implemented.

“People are relying on having that pass and budgeting for it, thinking that they might not have to spend as much because it’s included in their tuition, so it’s disappointing I’ll have to spend more money,” Bakker said.

RRC student Abigail Bakker wishes there was a U-Pass system in place already but will have to settle with buying individual passes until her graduation in spring 2020. / NICOLE BUFFIE

Slegers said she hopes through negotiations with Winnipeg Transit there will be expansions of bus lines, making transit more accessible to students in areas that don’t offer many lines, a possible opt-out for students in those areas, as well as increasing the number of buses on routes often taken by students.