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UBC, SFU urge students to carpool as transit worker dispute leads to full-on strike

University students may be hit the hardest by a complete Metro Vancouver transit strike. The remote locations of SFU and UBC do not help. And as Jordan Armstrong reports, the timing could not be worse.

With Metro Vancouver transit workers threatening to walk off the job en masse for three straight days next week, universities are urging students to share rides to school.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) have already warned students, faculty and staff to prepare “alternative transportation” as the job action ramped up.

WATCH: Premier John Horgan weighs in on transit strike

Premier John Horgan weighs in on Metro Vancouver transit strike
Premier John Horgan weighs in on Metro Vancouver transit strike

Now that a full-on strike is on the horizon, those schools say carpooling with friends or classmates may be the best way to reach campus.

“Right now what we’re encouraging our students, faculty and staff to consider is carpooling, cycling or other alternate modes,” spokesperson Matthew Ramsey said Wednesday.

“We know that a lot of our students come from far afield, and we understand that they’re concerned about how they’re going to get to and from this campus.”

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READ MORE: Transit strike day 20: Union plans system-wide shutdown on 3 days next week

Classes will proceed as normal despite the walkout, Ramsey notes β€” a fact repeated by SFU and other universities in the region.

Students and faculty can make arrangements for off-campus learning or teaching, but only after speaking with staff and academic advisers first.

How do I carpool?

UBC has posted a series of links and guides on how to organize carpools among friend groups, classes and offices.

Among the incentives offered are transferable parking passes, allowing multiple people to take turns driving their own vehicles while sharing the same parking pass.

The school also has printable maps of Vancouver and Metro Vancouver to help carpool organizers pinpoint where everyone in their group lives so they can plan their route to and from campus.

READ MORE: SFU, UBC students warned to prepare ‘alternative transportation’ as transit dispute impacts mount

Many of those resources are also available to SFU students, who are also urged to connect with friends or classmates who use car sharing services like Evo or Car2Go.

“Print out a map and everyone interested in carpooling can put a sticker on the map to show the general area they are commuting from. It’s a good first step in setting up a carpool,” the school says.

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Paid carpooling services

If students and faculty don’t know anyone with a vehicle, they can also sign up for Poparide.

Every major post-secondary institution in Metro Vancouver is represented β€” including SFU, UBC, BCIT, Emily Carr, Capilano and Kwantlen β€” with students and staff listed as members.

If those members are heading to or from campus at the same time as you, you can buy a seat in their vehicle for as low as $5 and get picked up on the way.

Students also get $5 worth of free rides if they verify their student email through the website.

Universities told to prepare for further transit disruptions amid job action
Universities told to prepare for further transit disruptions amid job action

At SFU, student Shaun Chaudhry is part of a student-led carpooling service organized through a Facebook group.

He says SFU students can join the group and hitch a ride from their classmates on their way to school.

“There’s an announcement board at the top of the group chat and it says where all the drivers are going to be going from,” he explained.

“Some students have put down for free, other students have put down, like, five dollars per student just to help out with the gas and parking costs.”

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READ MORE: Metro Vancouver transit strike: Here’s how your commute may be affected

The SFU Burnaby campus has set up additional street parking in the eastbound lane on University Drive East to accommodate an increase in vehicle traffic. An additional shuttle bus is also in effect between that area and the main campus.

Ramsey says UBC is also looking at other parking opportunities to meet demand.

Meanwhile, several UBC students on Reddit are actively discussing pitching tents on campus, while others are inviting people to sleep overnight in the common areas of residencies.