By ALYSHA MILLER
Conestoga College may be one of the many post-secondary schools to include a bus pass in tuition fees starting in the fall of 2013. Conestoga Students Inc. and Grand River Transit (GRT) will hold a referendum over three days during which students can vote through their student email accounts.
Voting will be held today, tomorrow and Wednesday through a link sent to every @conestogac.on.ca email address belonging to full-time students at each of the Doon, Cambridge and Waterloo campuses.
CSI president, Ciara Byrne, explained the plan in more detail. “The U-Pass is a universal bus pass provided through GRT,” she said. “It allows students access to any GRT service throughout the week from September to August, or until their student card expires.”
The pass would be attached to every student’s tuition fees, costing $90 per semester or $180 per year, “which is significantly cheaper than a bus pass now, which is $204 per semester,” Byrne said.
“GRT has said they will add 18,000 more hours of bus service to the Conestoga College area, so Cambridge, Waterloo and Doon campuses. They’re going to add 10 more buses to service those areas as well.”
Byrne said CSI chose to hold a vote for all students, not just students who already use the buses, because, “We’re here to represent all of our students. We’re not telling students to vote yes for it, or no for it.
“We wanted to represent students who take the bus, and that’s a significant number. This is just something to show that we support them and that we’re giving them an option to make life a little bit easier.
“We also think that it will benefit students who do drive. Although they may drive to the college, they could potentially use the bus pass for anything – if they need to go to the grocery store five minutes up the road and they don’t want to waste the gas. Or they’re out late and they don’t want to call a cab. We think it would benefit every student.”
Aaron Tsarfati, a first-year international business management student and commuter, doesn’t mind the U-Pass idea. “I’d probably end up using it for something. I’m not really bothered by it,” he said.
Randy Heath, a second-year general business student who already uses GRT, likes the idea. “If there will be more buses for less money I really can’t complain about a higher tuition.”
All students are encouraged to vote on the matter. Students with questions can go to the CSI office in Room 2A106.