By Stephanie Swensrude
A referendum on the U-Pass will take place from February 5 to 11.
The referendum needs two-thirds of students to vote “yes” to pass, and if passed, it will go into effect in September 2021.
NAITSA has negotiated a new five-year contract with the City of Edmonton as the current contract is due to run out this year.
The pass will be $180 per term with no price increase for the entire period.
Jason Roth is the student advocacy director at NAITSA. He said that students have been eligible for a variety of reduced transit rates since September, but once more classes are in-person, students will no longer be eligible.
“Under normal circumstances, post-secondary students do not qualify for RIDE transit, and they will not again in the future,” said Roth.
Roth wants students to remember that this is a five-year contract and that classes will not be online forever.
Although NAIT is planning to have classes online in the fall, a valid contract needs to be in place to have a U-Pass program, whether it effectively begins in September 2021 or January 2022.
The U-Pass will continue to be universal with very few exceptions, as the bulk discount is part of how NAIT can get the price so low.
However, under a new pilot program, some students may be able to opt-out of the U-Pass:
- students receiving AISH
- students who are 65 and older
- students doing a practicum, apprenticeship, or 100% online classes
- students who travel 100 kilometres or more to NAIT daily
Nicole Mueller, a student at NAIT, understands why people might be against the U-Pass.
“I know a lot of people who drive and have to park every day,” she said. “I like it, but I understand that it’s not necessarily applying to everyone.”
Students can access more information on the U-Pass referendum here.