The student union, UTMSU, is campaigning for the addition of a new summer U-Pass. For the past four years, full-time UTM students have had access to an eight-month U-Pass, valid from September to April (inclusive) of the academic school year. The new summer U-Pass would allow students who are enrolled in summer classes to access the Mississauga Transit services, too. Although a fee increase of $30 to the eight-month U-Pass is included in the referendum, this part has not been as explicitly advertised or promoted.
The current U-Pass costs every full-time student a fee of $99.14 (which is included in tuition fees).
UTMSU is supporting the referendum and the included U-Pass fee increase, which would bring the new cost of the 8 month U-pass to $130 for every full-time student and yield a total cost of $215 for every student enrolled full-time during fall/winter session plus either part-time or full-time in the summer session.
Vickita Bhatt, president of UTMSU, expressed her enthusiasm in a letter to The Medium: “Your student union would like to recommend that you vote yes in the upcoming referendum to keep the eight-month regular year U-Pass for $130 and to introduce a new summer U-Pass open to only summer school students who are registered part-time and full-time for $85!”
Note that because the current U-Pass actually costs $99.14, Bhatt’s statement is mistaken. Since students cannot opt out of the U-Pass, every full-time student would have to pay the new, higher price of $130, and that’s without an increase in the services offered.
The U-Pass is an important service to many students, and the summer one would be, as well. “I know lots of people who take summer school courses, myself included. Having to pay for transportation is a big thing for some individuals, especially if they live far away or are juggling a job to pay for the tuition the following year,” commented Fred Besik, a third-year student.
The U-Pass would still be among the cheapest in all of Ontario. Currently, Brock University charges students $290, Niagara College charges $280, while Trent, Ottawa, and Carleton charge $250 for their summer U-Passes.
“I think it’s important that students are aware that the summer U-Pass essentially affects every non-driving student on campus. Tuition fees, textbooks, or even having a social life already takes a damper in our pockets and with the opportunity to have a summer U-Pass it would be a complete bonus,” said student Hilary Receno. “
The voting will take place next week from November 23 to 25, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Davis Building, CCIT, and the North Building. In the meantime, UTMSU representatives will be available to answer questions regarding the referendum. Students are asked to bring their T-Cards to voting stations.