University students are preparing for another battle at city hall over the 27-year-old age limit for purchasing student transit passes, which took effect July 1.
“I’m a full-time student. I pay my tuition. To say that I can’t get a student pass because I’m over 27 is just discrimination,” said Elizabeth Jones, a 36-year-old second-year honours law student at Carleton University. “It’s just about doing what’s right. If we’re going to let them discriminate age here, when’s it going to stop?”
Carleton University Students Association president Erik Halliwell said he’s received a number of calls from shocked students who could no longer buy student transit passes since the change was instituted.
Instead of paying $65.25 for a student pass, full-time students over 27 will have to purchase a regular adult pass for $84.75.
Coupled with the failure of the universal bus pass pilot project, Student Federation of the University of Ottawa president Seamus Wolfe said the age limit sends a bad message to students.
“City hall and OC Transpo consistently work against getting students on to these buses,” he said. “We never see solid effort to make transit better and more accessible to students.”
The age limit will save OC Transpo around $220,000 per year, according to Vicky Kyriaco-Wilson, OC Transpo’s manager of marketing.
OC Transpo was one of the only transit agencies in Canada that did not have an upper limit for student passes, according to Kyriaco-Wilson and most transit services have limits up to age 25.
OC Transpo set the limit of 27 years based on the years required to complete a PhD.
Kyriaco-Wilson said they found students over 25 had more capacity to handle a fare increase.
However, Gaétan-Philippe Beaulière with the Graduate Students’ Association of uOttawa said very few post-grad students go to school continuously from high school to a PhD and many are burdened with large student loans.
He said the average age for finishing a doctorate in Ottawa is 33 years old.
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