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NAIT Students To Vote On U-Pass Next Month

Edmonton transit service bus stopped for a pickup

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.

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