City of Mississauga councillors voted against the 8-month UPass for part-time students in the next academic year at a council meeting on Wednesday morning at City Hall. The vote was nearly unanimous with the exception of Ward 5 Bonnie Crombie.
The UTM Students’ Union worked alongside the Erindale Part-time Undergraduate Students to negotiate the inclusion of part-time students in the UPass. Their efforts were successful for the summer session but city council, after postponing the vote last week to gather more information from MiWay staff, decided it is too soon to determine whether part-time students should be included in the 8 month UPass.
Staff reported that implementation of the program this fall could cost the city $150,000.
MiWay will reassess the program after this summer session that includes both full-time and part-time students in the UPass. The issue could then be discussed for 2013/14.
During the summer session, most students are part-time students, making the program a profitable and worthwhile initiative for Mississauga transit. During the regular academic session, only about 700 out of 11,000 undergraduates are part-time.
Gilbert Cassar, president of the UTMSU, stated that each councillor was addressed individually and various arguments were put forth for the benefits of the new program. He explained to councillors that the inclusion of all undergraduate students would reduce abuse of the program, citing that some students enroll as full-time to obtain the UPass and then drop courses to become part-time.
The 8-month UPass costs $141.70 while MiWay’s student pass costs $101 per month – or $808 for 8 months.
The incoming executive team will be responsible for continuing dialogue with the city next year.