Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College students will once again reap the benefits of the UPASS program for another school year.
Starting Sept. 1, all BU and ACC students enrolled in the 2014-15 academic year will be able to board Brandon Transit buses simply by flashing their student ID card.
In exchange for this service, the ACC Students’ Association and the Brandon University Students’ Union have negotiated separate all-inclusive fees that are remitted to Brandon Transit on a regular basis.
BU students pay $15 automatically as part of their student fees for the service, while the fee for ACC students is absorbed into annual student fees.
"It’s a great value for them, they’re not paying for it ... and it’s something they can use year round," ACCSA president Tylor Johnson said. "I know a lot of students who have families who may only have one vehicle, so it’s convenient for them to use the bus."
BUSU president Joel Springer added the program is also a real money saver for students.
"A lot of students face financial constraints ... school is expensive," Springer said. "Having a UPASS for $15 for the whole year is just one less expense you have to worry about."
A 30-day bus pass for post-secondary students on brandontransit.ca costs $45.
Since the UPASS program began in 2011, it has also given Brandon Transit ridership a boost.
According to March 2013 city council updates, 33 per cent of BU and 29 per cent of ACC student ID cards utilized the transit service at least once.
"So obviously there is a need there and students are accessing the transit routes so that’s good for the students and obviously that’s good for transit," Brandon Transit manager Carla Richardson said.
"From our standpoint, we’re pleased that it’s that successful and that it’s being utilized."
However, it’s important only students use their own passes as they are not transferable to family members, spouses or children, Richardson said.
There’s also a chance bus operators will ask students to provide other valid ID from the school they attend while boarding.
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