University of Guelph Bus Pass

Oh my!   What a day.  1600 emails and counting.  There has been a great deal of confusion building between Monday night’s Council budget meeting and today about the alleged termination of the University of Guelph universal bus pass system.    Although there was discussion about increasing fares and making transit more affordable for high school students,  I maintain that there is not a specific recommendation to Council to cancel/eliminate/terminate the U of G bus pass.     Here’s the official word from the General Manager,  Community Connectivity and Transit, Michael Anders:

Potential Changes to Fares for 2010

On November 30, Transit
staff outlined to Council three potential options for
changing/increasing fares in 2010. Each option is summarized below.

a)  Standard Fare Increase
Option – Staff discussed the potential impact of an overall 7% increase
in fare revenue. The methodology used to calculate the incremental
revenue including the impact of fare elasticities was described.
Council asked that a 3% and 5% increase also be assessed by staff. This
material will be included in the response back to Council for the
December 8th meeting.

b) Inclusive Student Fare Program Option
– The intent of this option is to assess the feasibility of
implementing an inclusive pricing structure for all full-time students
in an accredited learning stream and would encompass elementary,
secondary, college, post-secondary and other eligible institutions. As
part of the exercise Transit staff needs to review the existing model
for the University of Guelph U-Pass program and will be working with
the Student Union who we have a contractual relationship. If Council
embraces this idea, staff will return to Council in early 2010 to
propose various models that will address the issue of transit price
equality for all students in a learning stream. Further details are to
be provided in the response back to Council for the December 8th meeting.

c) Combination Option
– This is option is a combination of a) and b) where a percentage
increase is applied to adult and senior fares and the inclusive student
fare program is implemented. Staff was requested to provide further
details at the December 8th meeting reflecting a 5% increase on adult and senior fares.


To conclude, Council has not directed staff to pursue any of these options.  They are being considered as part of a much larger budget process.

Feedback always welcome…..


3 thoughts on “University of Guelph Bus Pass

  1. Thank you for your clarification, Leanne. I am a U of G grad who was a student when the Universal Bus Pass was first implemented. I was shocked to read (on facebook) that the city was likely going to cancel this much needed service for university students. I am pleased to read “the official word” on your website and trust that you will carry the voices of the 1600+ students who took the time to write you to council later this week when the bus fare change proposals are being discussed.

  2. I echo what Sarah has said above: Thank you for clearing up the discrepancies in information that have been circulated. As one of those 1600+ people who emailed you I’m glad to know the real facts of the matter and trust that you will carry our concerns to the council during discussions on the matter.

  3. The trouble with a pass for all full-time students is that such a pass would have to be optional, making it much more expensive (up to four times as expensive) for those students who chose to opt in. Mr. Anders has been quoted as saying that the necessary price increase associated with an optional pass would result in a loss of a quarter of the university’s transit ridership.

    What concerns me is that the cancellation of the U-Pass is being pitched as a way to raise $300,000 in transit revenue. I have written about the issue in more detail on the TriTAG blog, but raising the price of the U-Pass by less than $10/term could produce the same revenue with no loss of ridership.

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with harmonizing fares for students who are not covered by the mandatory U-Pass, so long as the U-Pass program is retained.

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