U-Pass eases parking

By Andrea Bundon

It wasn’t without growing pains, but the U-Pass appears to be having the desired effect on campus.

“What we really needed to do was ease the demand in the peak hours,” said Peter Fraser, Director of Ancillary Services at the University of Calgary. “I think we are about 90 per cent there.”

Since the U-Pass program started in September, Calgary Transit ridership has increased approximately 40 per cent with 50 per cent more people riding the C-Train at the University Station compared to the same time last year, according to Calgary Transit usage counts.

“Parking usage is obviously down, but not by a huge amount,” said Fraser. “The most noticeable trend is the lack of waiting time. Lot 10 still has two 15 minute waits three or four days a week but the line-ups after 12 p.m. have virtually disappeared everywhere on campus… We still have to pass one more test and that is when the weather gets ugly.”

Students’ Union Vice-President Operations and Finance Robbie White agrees the program seems to be well received by students.

“I think it’s going well because I haven’t heard a lot,” said White.

Usually, students with complaints are quick to knock on his door.

“By far the biggest outcry is for us to come up with a viable program for part-time students,” said Fraser. Part-time students currently are not eligible for the $50 U-Pass.

Both Fraser and White are keeping in touch with Calgary Transit and discussing how to better meet students’ needs. Since September,

C-Train hours have been extended by about an hour in the morning and evening.

“I think an awful lot of that came from the SU’s presentation to them saying that’s what it would take to make a larger portion of students want it,” said Fraser. “We got a very good price… [Calgary Transit] seems to have a very positive attitude towards continuing to make it better.”

“They want me to put up a survey on-line about usership,” explained White adding that prizes may be offered to students who participate. “I just want to make sure I word it right to get good responses.”

Although Transit hasn’t made a firm commitment to increasing service to campus, the new Children’s Hospital on the West Campus will make many new routes more viable on and near the U of C.

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