Undergrads vote yes on U-Pass

Graduate students will decide whether the Universal Transit Pass gets the boot at OttawaU when they cast their ballots next month.

The majority of undergraduates voted in favour of the U-Pass in last week’s referendum, despite a rise in price and cuts to service.

“There’s several bus routes that used to go to campus, that don’t anymore,” said Elizabeth Kessler, vice-president of university affairs at the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa.

“Students are angry about that, but of course, people need to get where they’re going, and I think that’s why we see the numbers that we do.”

OC Transpo wants to charge $180 per semester, a jump from its current $145 cost, which is included in student fees.

The referendum votes were tallied and preliminary results show 70% of students supporting the motion: 3,666 voted for it, while 1,536 said no.

Roughly 15% of undergrads voted, up from last year’s 11% turnout, although there was no referendum question.

“I think it was because of the U-Pass,” said Kessler.

If grad students vote against it, “then we won’t have a U-Pass at OttawaU,” Kessler said.

“They both have to vote yes. That was a condition of OC Transpo. I think, for them, it’s not worth it unless a certain number of people are paying into the program.”

But Transpo is making changes.

Students living in rural areas inside city borders — such as Almonte, Carleton Place, Carp, Dunrobin, Embrun, Metcalfe, Osgoode, Rockland, and Russell — will be able to opt-out of the program.

So will those living outside of Ottawa, and they’ll be refunded $360.

Students in Gatineau, Cantley, and Chelsea who use ride STO instead of Transpo are also exempt.

Ottawa U’s graduate students will vote March 19 to 21.

Carleton University referenda are also slated next month.




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