Price of UPass may be on the rise

By Scott Strasser

University of Calgary students might see the price of their UPass increase soon, according to Students’ Union vice-president external Conner Brown.

“[A report] is before city council,” Brown said. “Calgary Transit is proposing a 5 per cent increase on the $117 we’re currently paying per semester.”

The 5 per cent increase would see the price of the UPass go up to $123 per semester. The information is outlined in Calgary Transit’s “Fare Strategy Review.”

Calgary Transit said a price increase will be on the table at upcoming negotiations, but would not confirm if it was a part of their immediate plans.

“We will be negotiating with all post-secondary schools regarding continuing UPass agreements into 2015,” said Calgary Transit communications co-ordinator Ron Collins.

The price of the UPass is determined by calculating Calgary Transit’s estimated annual revenue from post-secondary students and having that total revenue shared evenly by all students at an institution. Surveys and ridership counts are done by Calgary Transit to see how many students use their services.

According to Calgary Transit, university students make up seven per cent of Calgary’s total ridership and money from the UPass program accounts for eight per cent of Calgary Transit’s total revenue.

“It makes absolutely no sense,” Brown said. “Calgary Transit wants students to pay their fair share, and I would argue they are doing that, plus more already.”

The cost of university transit programs has gone up across Canada in recent years. Transit passes for university students in Vancouver have increased from $30 to $35 per month since 2011, and will increase to $38 per month in May of 2015. Ottawa also saw a price increase, with their UPass going from $145 per semester to $180 per semester in 2011 — an increase of almost 25 per cent.


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