While most people are paying more to ride the Rocket this year, college and university students will be enjoying cheaper TTC fares with the introduction of a new $99 monthly post-secondary pass.

The pass is the fulfilment of a promise the TTC made to student groups last November when it approved an overall fare increase.

But the cost to the TTC is nearly double the initial projections — up to $7 million annually compared with an earlier projection of about $3.8 million. That’s because the earlier estimate was based on 2005 volume incentive discount (VIP) pass sales, which, as it turned out, had increased dramatically, according to marketing manager Alice Smith.

In the past, universities bought the VIP passes and sold them for about $107 to $109 per month, but there were often lineups to buy them and sometimes schools ran out, said TTC chair Adam Giambrone.

The new student pass requires a special photo ID available on campuses for $7 or at Sherbourne station for $5.25 with proof of post-secondary enrolment. Full- and part-time students in degree and diploma programs are eligible, and the passes are transferable to other students with the appropriate photo ID.

One of the students who protested the fare increase at last fall’s transit commission meeting applauded the new passes.

“The TTC is showing its commitment to student ridership, which represents a significant amount of customers,” said Krisna Saravanamuttu of the York Student Federation.