Transit details for U-Pass still being worked out

REGINA – Students at the University of Regina have voted in favour of a universal bus pass at the cost of $70 to $90 a semester.

About 20 per cent of the 13,000 eligible students cast a vote during the referendum. Unofficial results show 1,520 students wanted the bus pass, while 1,278 did not.

Student union president, Devon Peters, said there’s a huge savings to students.

“It’s roughly one quarter of the price that students are paying right now,” he said.

While students that live out of town or within one kilometer of campus can choose to opt-out, those with cars will not.

Peter argued drivers will benefit from more riders taking the bus, as it will reduce congestion near the university.

“We’re going to see 300 or 400 less cars in our parking lots every single day, so it means parking spots closer to the school,” he said.

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However, Alena Vidyadhar, who voted against the U-Pass, said public transit is not a viable option, given her hectic schedule.

“My life just won’t allow me to. I have to go from here to work. Sometimes I work at 6:30 in the morning, then come here, then go to crossfit,” said Vidyadhar.

Salmaan Moolla agreed. “If the bus service in Regina was a little bit more efficient and a little bit better, I think more students would have been looking at the U-Pass as an option,” he said.

The students’ union is hoping to address those concerns with additional buses on campus, and extended routes.

However, Mayor Michael Fougere could not make any promises and said details still need to be negotiated.

“We can’t answer a lot of questions yet, we just got the results of the referendum, but we will talk about how the program will be designed,” he said.

However, Fougere said the vote is a step in the right direction in terms of sustainability: “We’ve had ridership go up already, about 14 per cent over the last two years. Of course this will just add to that.”

Fougere said the U-Pass likely won’t be implemented until September 2016.

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