TTC board approves significant discount for post-secondary students
Chris Harding uses a transit diary app that he helped develop called City Logger at the Sheppard West TTC Station in Toronto on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Donovan
Kayla Goodfield, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, March 20, 2018 5:23PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 21, 2018 9:40PM EDT
The TTC board has approved a significant discount for post-secondary students in Toronto.
The board met on Tuesday to discuss a staff report that recommended the creation of a “U-Pass,” which would allow students at participating universities to ride the TTC for $70 per month.
The proposal would automatically charge $280 per semester – which adds up to $70 per month – to students through their student fees and they would not be able to opt-out of the program. The “U-Pass” would then be added onto the students’ PRESTO cards allowing them full access to all TTC services.
Eligible students would have the "U-Pass" for all three semesters, including the summer semester.
OCAD University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, York University, Centennial College, George Brown College, Humber College, and Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology were named in the staff report as the stakeholders the TTC board consulted when designing this program.
Since the program has been approved, the TTC will enter negotiations with these post-secondary institutions to see who is interested in participating.
In order for the program to cost the set amount at least one of the following schools (University of Toronto St. George Campus, York University or Ryerson University) has to opt-in.
In a tweet on Tuesday, TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said University of Toronto will be holding a student referendum on the matter sometime next week.
If the other schools want to participate as well, they too would have to hold a student referendum.
Each participating post-secondary institution would have to agree to a four-year term with the program.
The staff report said that the program would be “revenue neutral” because of the additional income it would bring by requiring all full-time students at the participating universities to pay for the pass.
The possibility of a “U-Pass” was brought upon by student union representatives from four downtown Toronto post-secondary institutions through an online survey. The results saw that 95 per cent of 16,000 students surveyed said they were in favour of the program.
At $116.75, 760,000 post-secondary student metropasses were sold in 2017. That generated revenue accounts for $61.7 million annually, the TTC said. According to the transit agency, that revenue would be matched with the introduction of the “U-Pass.”
The TTC said $5 from every “U-Pass” would be used to boost service in an effort to accommodate an expected 15 per cent rise in ridership.
The “U-Pass” would only be made available to full-time students at public universities and colleges at first but the TTC will later report on the potential to expand the program to private career colleges and part-time students as well.