December 11, 2018

BY SCOTT BLINKHORN

sb-takebackthenightConestoga students attending Wilfrid Laurier University’s Bra
ntford campus will soon have the chance to vote on whether or not they want a universal bus pass (U-Pass). On Sept. 26, the Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) board of directors agreed unanimously to hold a referendum that asks if a Brantford Transit pass should be mandatory and included in students’ fees every semester.

The U-Pass would allow students to use their ONE Cards as the bus pass.
The pass would cost Brantford Conestoga students $48.35 a semester according to CSI president Cameron Jones, who helped negotiate the deal. CSI would take 50 cents of the fee to recoup the cost of holding the referendum and to pay for other associated costs, with the remainder going to Brantford Transit. The cost of the pass is expected to increase with inflation.

Jones was adamant students were getting a good deal, saying, “They are giving us the same deal they give to Laurier Brantford students.”

According to Brantford Transit’s website, a standard student pass costs $55.50 a month.

The referendum, which will take place from Oct. 11 to 13, must have at least 10 per cent of Conestoga Brantford students vote to be considered valid. Students will be able to vote in person or online.

This past February a U-Pass with Grand River Transit (GRT) was rejected by Doon, Cambridge and Waterloo students, with 2,139 voting no and 1,591 voting yes. Director Steffanie Panchaud asked if another referendum could be held at these campuses this year.

Jones said a bylaw prevented the same question from being put to students two years in a row, adding, “I think that the margins of that vote made students’ opinions clear.”

However, he said once the Brantford referendum concluded CSI could begin to focus on preparing another GRT U-Pass referendum, possibly for the 2018-2019 school year.

In his report to the board, Jones said he is currently in negotiations with Guelph Transit, with the hope of providing a U-Pass to students at the college’s Guelph campus.

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