SFU residents' transit pass set to launch

January 26, 2006, vol. 35, no. 2
By Diane Luckow

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The SFU Community Trust and TransLink are implementing Canada's first community transit pass program.

Effective Feb. 1, residents at SFU's UniverCity residential community can purchase an annual pass at a substantially discounted rate for unlimited three-zone travel on buses, SkyTrain and Seabus.

The program is possible because the trust is guaranteeing to subsidize the program with an annual grant of up to $25,000 in each of the first two years to equal the estimated revenue which TransLink would have received through its fare boxes or monthly passes. As well, Vancity is sponsoring the program with a $100,000 grant over the first two years.

“One of the goals at UniverCity is to reduce reliance on the private automobile,” says Michael Geller, president and CEO of the SFU Community Trust. He's confident that the new program will encourage community residents, many of whom never take the bus, to purchase passes and become regular transit users. He expects the program to become self-financing after two years.

The community pass program aims to build new transit ridership in geographically well-defined communities built according to sustainable design principles.

Residents at UniverCity will pay $28/month for the pass, plus a one-time $50 application fee. (a three-zone monthly pass normally costs $130).

The program follows up on TransLink's Vancity U-Pass program, launched in September 2003. It provides 60,000 UBC and SFU university students with unlimited transit access at a substantially reduced cost.

TransLink estimates that one of every two students at UBC and SFU are now regular transit users.

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