The DC-UOIT Student Association (SA) is hoping to pack three buses of students to head to the Durham Regional Headquarters to show support for the SA’s opposition of the proposed U-Pass increase.
The decision, which rests in the hands of the Durham Region Transit (DRT) Executive Committee, details plans to increase the cost of the U-Pass by 25 per cent over the next two years.
“This is a disaster for students, both institutions and the broader community,” said vice-president of College Affairs for the SA, Mike Guerard. “The U-Pass is a vital tool in recruiting students to both Durham College and UOIT as many schools in the area do not have such a program. More importantly, for those students who do not drive it provides them with a cheaper way to travel to and from school as well as work.”
Shaival Shah, a second-year biological science student at UOIT, agrees and says this may have a negative impact on students’ decision of whether to come to the universities and college.
“I think [the increase] is a bad idea because a lot of students don’t even really use the pass, they use it to travel very small distances,” said Shah. “If they increase the price there’s really no point, because it’s just a waste of money for a lot more students and that would be a negative aspect for a lot of students coming to the university [and college], realizing they’re paying $125 for something they probably aren’t using.”
As part of their school fees, full-time students at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Durham College and Trent University Durham currently pay $103 per semester for their U-Pass. If the proposed increase is approved, U-Pass fees will increase to $120 for the Fall 2016 semester and according to an SA-issued press release, will increase again to $135 for in the Summer 2017 semester.
According to Guerard, the cost of the U-Pass is partially funded by Durham Region, who decides how much money they will pay and the students are left with students paying the remainder.
Students are currently unable to opt out of the U-Pass fees, according to the SA.
The DRT Executive Committee’s meeting to discuss the proposed increase takes place Dec. 2 at the Durham Regional Headquarters, 605 Rossland Road E. in Whitby at 1:30 p.m. The buses the SA has organized will be at the north Oshawa, downtown and Whitby campuses and will leave at noon to travel to the meeting.
If the committee decides to pass the motion to increase the cost of the U-Pass, the decision will then be passed on to the Finance and Administration Committee, and then on to Regional Council, which will make the final decision.