Students vote in favour of U-Pass

Janelle Hulme

The votes are in. Red River College students have voted yes to the U-Pass — good news for students who take the bus, but some students don’t know how the U-Pass will affect them.

“I’m not even sure what the U-Pass is,” said Paul Krawchuk, 20, a business information technology student at the Roblin Campus.  “I definitely didn’t know it could add on to my tuition.”

Once a contract is signed between the Red River College Students’ Association and the city, the U-Pass fee will be added in to students’ tuition fees, similar to how an athletic fee of $15 was included in students’ tuition last year, according to the college website.

“No one said anything about [the athletic] fee,” said Adam Taplin, current president of the RRCSA. “Although, there is a spectacular difference between a $15 athletic fee and a $260 transportation fee.”

Taplin said the new fee could make a big difference for students who are already tight on cash.

Some students have concerns about the new U-Pass fee, but even students who drive to school see its benefits.

“It’ll help out a lot of students and it’s good to encourage people to take public transportation,” said Ray Weiss, 34.

Weiss, a business information technology student, said he’s heard good things about the pass from students at the University of Manitoba who’ve had the pass for almost a year.

Poll results from the RRCSA show 57.44 per cent of students who voted in the referendum voted for the U-Pass, 38.16 per cent voted against, and 4.41 per cent abstained. More students at the Exchange District campus voted in favour of the U-Pass than those attending the Notre Dame campus. Taplin believes this is because the Notre Dame campus has parking passes for students.

Current Red River College students won’t likely see a U-Pass added into their tuition for the next school year.

“We’re currently working with the city and we will have more information available to students by May or June of this year,” said Steve Nachtigall, executive director of the RRCSA.

Nachtigall thinks that the addition of a U-Pass will ease the financial strain placed the students who currently use bus passes.

“It will save students money and they won’t have to stand in long lines every month to get their bus passes,” said Nachtigall.

Full-time students, those enrolled in 10 credit hours or more, will see the U-Pass fee added to their tuition in the coming years. Students can go to the Red River College Students’ Association’s website for more information.