City council will once again consider a pilot project to provide a universal bus pass for all students at the University of Ottawa.
The project, which previously failed on a tie vote at city council in December last year, was given new life yesterday in a motion unanimously approved by the transit committee.?
Transit committee chairman Coun. Alex Cullen warned that the financial figures regarding the cost of the project had to be correct if the Upass was to gain approval from the rest of council.?
City staff had advised against reinstating the Upass since it would represent an additional $1.5 million budget pressure on OC Transpo’s budget.?
The Student Federation at the University of Ottawa is proposing $125 be added to the tuition of each student to cover the cost of that pass.
OC Transpo insists that students should pay $198 in order to make the project revenue neutral.?
OC Transpo general manager Alain Mercier also said the Upass would not be highly effective for recovering ridership after the strike, since the majority of students stop taking the bus in mid-April and usage does not pick-up again until September. Ridership level would have returned to normal by then.?
“We don’t disagree with the purpose of the program, we want to have the program. It’s something that is user-friendly for OC Transpo and for students. It’s just working out the economics for when a subsidy would kick in,” said Mercier.?Ted Horton, vice-president elect for university affairs, said he was optimistic this time the Upass would make it though council.