UWindsor Part-time and Graduate Students Make U-Pass Permanent

Graduate and part-time students joined undergrads in making the University of Windsor's  U-Pass project permanent.

The joint pilot-project between the university and Transit Windsor launched three years ago, 66% of undergrads voted in favour of finalizing the pass on March 22.

Under the program students will pay $66 per semester to use transit as often as they like. The agreement stipulates money generated from the pass will be reinvested in transit to better serve students. 

Austin Roth says 90% of those who voted were in favour of the move. He tells AM800 News the program has been and will continue to benefit students commuting between the university's expanding campuses.  

"They're going to be doing improvements, routes are going to get better and when we look at students for the downtown campus at the social work building, at the Armouries getting back to main campus, taking a car, yeah it's a quick drive but it's inconvenient parking," says the student advocate for the Graduate Students' Society. "Hopping in a bus for 10-minutes there and back is super easy."

Roth says many students find a healthy transit network is "critical" to success — especially those who have moved from cities were a car isn't necessary and can't afford to invest in a vehicle to get around.

"Many of our domestic students use the bus when travelling from the VIA Rail station downtown and back to the area. It does allow for quite a convenient way to travel across the city," says Roth. "We knew for our membership that this was critical to them when they're here for their two year or 16-month program, to have access to public transit."

The vote was much closer for the Organization of Part time University Students.

Chief Returning Officer Darryl Gillinger says 54% of those who voted were in favour of the move, but it's the right move when it comes to part-time students making ends meet.

"Shuttling back and forth from work to school and so on and so forth, to be able to access a strong transit network on an affordable bases allows them to continue to be students at the school and hold these other responsibilities in their lives," he says. 

Gillinger says Transit Windsor has lived up to its end of the bargain.

"They've got some exciting plans in the works and they're glad to be partnering with us to continue to offer this service moving forward," Says Gillinger.

There are several opt-out options for students in specific programs and several other circumstances including commuting from the county or for students who purchase a parking pass on campus.