TransLink Temporarily Suspends the U-Pass program

Some students may be eligible for a refund, a MultiPass coordinator says

University students may lose access to the U-Pass program because of Covid-19 complications. (Kristen Frier)

Some university students have no use for their Compass Cards as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prevent people from using transit.

Starting May. 1, TransLink will temporarily suspend the U-Pass B.C. program. Michelle Lam, KSA’s MultiPass Coordinator, says making the cancellation happen was a lengthy process.

MultiPass coordinators participated in various meetings with other post-secondary institutions, KPU, and TransLink in order to move forward with the suspension.

The MultiPass program offers access to a discounted gym membership, bike lock rentals, the KPU shuttle, and a car sharing program.

All of these services are suspended and students will not be paying for them through upcoming tuition fees for the summer and fall.

“We will still provide a regular shuttle that goes between Surrey, Cloverdale, and Langley campuses but on a reduced schedule, so one bus from Monday to Friday,” says Lam.

Students who did not activate their Compass Cards for the month of April will get a refund. This will be issued through KPU and not the KSA.

Lam says she knows students might have concerns about already having paid the MultiPass or U-Pass fee, but assures them that refunds will be provided eventually.

“KPU still needs to figure out how to change the system, so give them some time and if the student didn’t use the service [for the month of April] we will refund the fee back,” she says.

“We understand that some of the students might still have to work in order to earn their money to pay towards their tuition or pay towards their living, so we did consider that.”

She and other coordinators are exploring ways to create a bursary for students who still need to take transit using the Compass Card.

“A regular monthly pass would be up to $170 instead of $51 for the U-Pass,” she says.

Lam says that post-secondary institutions have the right to decide when to relaunch the regular U-Pass program.

“We briefly talked about a monthly review for the program to see if the situation improved or if anything changed — if the government announced an additional policy regarding the social distancing —to decide when to resume with the program,” she says.

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