January 17, 2018 1:41 pm
Updated: January 18, 2018 3:35 pm

University of Manitoba Students’ Union wants changes to U-Pass

WATCH: The University of Manitoba Students' Union (UMSU) wants changes to the transit U-Pass. Global's Amber McGuckin reports.

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The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) is asking for multiple changes to the transit U-Pass that was brought into place over a year ago.

The students’ union wants students living in areas with “little to no” bus service to be able to opt-out, an expanded U-Pass over the summer and the $5 fee for the Peggo card scrapped.

RELATED: Winnipeg Transit’s Peggo tap cards now available for everyone to use

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Under the current agreement, only students who live outside of Winnipeg can opt-out of the U-Pass. The areas that were identified as having little to no service include St. Vital South Perimeter, Sage Creek, Bridgewater, St. Norbert and Amber Trails.

UMSU president Tanjit Nagra said when the students’ union initially signed the U-Pass agreement in 2016, Transit said students with existing Peggo cards could use them for the U-Pass but due to technical challenges they couldn’t.

READ MORE: U-Pass approved at two Winnipeg universities

“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,” Nagra said.

There are 28,893 U-Passes in Winnipeg: 22,024 of them are from the U of M while the other 6,869 are from the U of W. Of those more than 20,000 are used monthly. The fees for the U-Pass are $265 for the school year, while monthly bus passes for post-secondary students are $80.10. The savings for students using the U-Pass adds up to about $375 per school year.

The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association also has negotiated a U-Pass and didn’t have a comment about extending their program.

Winnipeg’s transit union issued a statement saying they sympathize with students, as well as any other people within the community who don’t have access to reliable public transit.

“For years, Winnipeg has grown upwards and outwards, while City Hall hasn’t invested in expanding a public transit service which is already stretched thin,” Aleem Chaudhary, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union 1505 said.

“Instead of investigating opt outs for those enrolled in the U-Pass program who can’t access Winnipeg Transit service, we believe that the city should take action immediately to address historical and current funding shortfalls and move to enhance and expand transit service across Winnipeg.”

The Red River College students voted to bring in the U-Pass but there’s no official word on when they will be able to get it.

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