NAIT’s U-Pass is usually considered a consistent fee for NAIT students, but over the past two semesters, the extra cost had been dropped.
Students being kept in a virtual setting as much as possible made NAIT’s Student Association (NAITSA) feel as though it was unfair to charge students for a service that would not be used.
The Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) has been working to complete a brand new ticket purchasing form through their SmartFare program.
SmartFare is estimated to be in full service across the city this fall and will overhaul the ticket system with near-field communication chips in SmartFare cards. This will allow Edmontonians to simply tap a prepaid card on a bus or train to pay the fare.
NAITSA and ETS have partnered up for a student deal, and they have been working on this connection since early 2012. As the contract between NAITSA and ETS was ending in February of 2021, the Student Association made the decision to integrate the One Card with the city’s new transit infrastructure.
Though NAITSA has not offered a spring or summer U-Pass before, testing the ETS integration has lead to the initiation of a ‘Summer Bus Pass Pilot Project.’
Service Hub Manager, Megan Brodeur, has been with NAITSA for over eight years and has been a key part in launching this program.
“Traditionally, for the U-Pass, you’d line up, you’d get your card, and then they’d put a little sticker on the card. Going forward in the fall, you would just have your One card, and you’d activate it on your NAIT portal, and then you’d show your One Card when you get on the bus and tap it,” said Brodeur.
For 20 lucky students, the summer bus pass can be purchased on the NAITSA website for $90. This is an extremely limited first-come-first-serve program, as it is merely in the testing stages. This is not a reflection of the fall U-Pass, should there be one.
The pass will be valid from Jul. 1 to Aug. 31, 2021.
“All the students at other schools are going to have to go to a 7-11 or something and purchase a SmartFare card, and they’ll have to have both that and their student ID. But we’re the only institution in Canada that is doing this big integration. So we’re really proud of how that’s going to roll out,” said Brodeur.
There will be a new One Card issued to students who purchase the summer bus pass, as it will have a chip inside of it that can be tapped in a bus or at a train station. Upon purchasing, students will be phoned by NAITSA, who will gather some details, and students will be receiving a new One Card in the mail.
The pass can be purchased on the NAITSA website.