Monday, 15 April 2013

Spring & Summer U-Passes are Coming!

By Liz

Transit accessibility has now come for those undergraduate and graduate students who are planning to take a course or two over the spring and summer months.

For the past two years, U of A graduate students have been able to enjoy the financial, social, and environmental benefits of the Edmonton area’s only Spring and Summer U-Pass program. After seeing the success of the graduate program, it didn't take long for the U of A’s undergraduate students to ask for one too. In March 2012, the Students’ Union held a referendum, where 83 percent of undergraduate students voted “yes” on the matter. As a result of last year’s vote, undergraduate students who are taking courses in the 2013 Spring and/or Summer semesters are in for a treat as they will now be eligible to use the Spring and Summer U-Pass. Starting on April 15 they’ll be able to stop by their nearest InfoLink location to pick up a sticker.

Aside from becoming the proud owner of a shiny new sticker, what will the Spring and Summer U-Pass mean for students? University of Alberta student Claude Alain St. Amand Hubert thinks “it will be a good deal” financially. He explains that monthly “bus passes are really expensive” as the average monthly pass is now $90 per month. At just $116.67 for four months, the U-Pass should make transit more accessible for students.

In addition to the financial savings it will provide, current Students' Union Vice President (Student Life), Saadiq Sumar, hopes “that students continue to take full advantage of this program by not only using it for academic purposes but also to explore what Edmonton, Strathcona County, and St. Albert have to offer. The three municipalities after all have rich culture and heritage and students should strive to learn more than just what is being taught in the classroom.

Students like Christine Kaspick agree with Sumar’s broader view of the program. Kaspick notes that participating students will “still have [access to transit during] the evenings and weekends,” which means that after class, students will still be able to use the U-Pass to access their summer jobs, in addition to the many events and festivals that take place around the city.

But the benefits don’t end there! As Office of Sustainability Director Trina Innes points out “small lifestyle changes, such as taking public transit, are simple and inexpensive ways of making your life more sustainable. The U-Pass not only reduces the environmental impacts of our students' transportation, but also makes public transit more accessible ultimately increasing support for more sustainable transportation now and into the future.”

If you are an undergraduate of graduate student enrolled in Spring and/or Summer courses, make sure that you pick-up your Spring/Summer U-Pass. Even if you’re class(es) don’t begin until June, you can still collect your sticker starting on April 15.

The Spring and Summer U-Pass will be valid between May 1 and August 31, and is available to any undergraduate or graduate student registered for Spring and/or Summer courses. To find out if you are eligible, check your “Fee Assessment” on BearTracks. For more information on the U-Pass, please visit


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