January 17, 2018
Winnipeg, MB – The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) is calling on the City of Winnipeg to amend UMSU’s current Universal Transit Pass (U-Pass) agreement with Winnipeg Transit to improve the service for University of Manitoba students, whose feedback about the service has indicated several desired changes. UMSU’s proposed changes include an extension of the Peggo card cost waiver to include the $5 charge for the card itself, opt-out options for students residing in areas with little or no Transit service, and a potential summer U-Pass that would be optional for students.
“We assumed most students would already have a Peggo card when starting in Fall 2018, and many of them will, but the everyday Peggo card Winnipeggers use won’t be the same as the U-Pass Peggo card. Winnipeg Transit informed us this past summer the cards would be different,” says UMSU President Tanjit Nagra.
When UMSU initially signed the U-Pass agreement in 2016, Transit indicated students with existing Peggo cards could use those cards for their U-Pass. Due to unforeseen technological challenges with Transit’s card system, all new students are instead expected to pay $5 for a new Peggo card to use the U-Pass service—even if they already have a card.
“Charging students another $5 for a service they are already paying for will inadvertently increase the price above UMSU members voted on, and create longer wait times when picking up the pass,” adds Nagra.
The fee cannot be added to the U-Pass fee automatically assessed within new students’ tuition, as the cost of the U-Pass was determined by student vote through referendum in 2014 and did not include the $5 card fee. Continuing to charge this $5 fee could cost UMSU – and, by extension, its student members – more money to implement through service fees to have interac options available. This could also severely decrease U-Pass distribution efficiency. Extending the Peggo card cost waiver to include the $5 fee would alleviate these and related issues.
Under the current agreement, only students who live outside the City of Winnipeg boundary are eligible to opt-out of the U-Pass service with a refund. UMSU hopes to see opt-outs extended for students living in areas of the City with minimal or nonexistent Transit service. This comes in response to requests voiced by members residing in areas including the St. Vital South Perimeter, Sage Creek, Bridgwater, St. Norbert, Amber Trails, and more, who must pay the U-Pass fee but are unable to use the service.
UMSU hopes to also potentially negotiate a summer U-Pass within the current agreement. This would be an option for students attending Summer Session who rely on transit as their transportation to campus. The U-Pass is currently in effect over Fall and Winter Terms only.
The University of Manitoba Students’ Union is the official representative of the over 25,000 undergraduate students at the University of Manitoba.
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University of Manitoba Students’ Union