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  • CCPA SK Annual General Meeting October 11, 2019
    Please join us for our Annual General Meeting in Saskatoon, 5:00pm, Thursday, October 24th at Station 20 West. (1120 20th St. West) Courtney Carlberg, author of Saskatchewan's Failing Report Card on Child Care, will discuss why Saskatchewan ranks the lowest for overall quality and rates of access to regulated child care in the country and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Corporate Mapping Project receives award for research excellence October 9, 2019
    The co-directors of the Corporate Mapping Project—CCPA-BC Director Shannon Daub and the University of Victoria’s William Carroll—are being celebrated in Victoria today as they accept a REACH Award for Excellence in Research. The REACH Awards recognize “research excellence” as demonstrated through scholarly contributions and societal impact. Since the inception of the Corporate Mapping Project, Shannon […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Unpacking the details of Manitoba Hydro September 9, 2019
    What would a long view of Manitoba Hydro all entail.  Read report here.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA submission to Treasury Board consultation on regulatory modernization September 6, 2019
    On June 29, 2019, the federal government launched a public consultation on initiatives intended to "modernize" the Canadian regulatory system. Interested Canadians were invited to provide input on four current initiatives: Targeted Regulatory Reviews (Round 2) Review of the Red Tape Reduction Act Exploring options to legislate changes to regulator mandates Suggestions for the next […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Join us in November for the 2019 CCPA-BC Gala, featuring Nancy MacLean September 3, 2019
    Tickets are available for our 2019 Annual Gala Fundraiser, which will take place in Vancouver on November 21. This year’s featured speaker will be Nancy MacLean, an award-winning historian and author whose talk, The rise of the radical right: How libertarian intellectuals, billionaires and white supremacists shaped today’s politics, is very timely both in the US and here in […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

The Universal Student Transit Pass

I have an opinion piece out on the City of Ottawa’s universal, student transit pass–also known as “the U-Pass.” Points raised in the op-ed include the following:

-U-Pass programs exist for roughly 30 universities and colleges across Canada.

-For a U-Pass program to be introduced, students typically must vote in favour of the program in student referenda.

-When there is a positive referendum outcome, the university in question–either its senior administraion, its student unions or both–enters into a partnership with the local transit authority.  Full-time students are then automatically enrolled in the program, and payment for the U-Pass is automatically charged to their individual student accounts when they register for fall term.

-A U-Pass will typically give a student complete access to public transit in the municipality in question, all through the academic year.  Yet, the cost of the U-Pass to students is considerably less than what they would normally pay for transit.  For example, the City of Ottawa’s U-Pass currently costs eligible students just under $40 per month.

-One of the reasons it is offered at such a low rate to students is that it is expected that some students will use their U-Pass only sparingly; some, for example, will continue to use a car as their primary means of transportation.  In effect, there is an element of the polluting students subsidizing the non-polluting students.  In this sense, the U-Pass contributes to a ‘green shift’ of sorts. (That said, over time, the U-Pass will also encourage many car drivers to become transit users, and that’s fundamental to the program’s success.)

-The municipality benefits in several ways.  First, far more students take transit when such a system is in place, and this reduces the cost of road repair, helps curb traffic congestion, and reduces pollution.  Second–and this is key–it encourages young people to get in the habit of taking transit instead of cars; this, in turn, offers an important long-term payoff to municipalities after these people graduate.  In other words, it brings about a ‘culture of ridership.’

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