U-PASS helps ease congestion

Oct 02, 2003, vol. 28, no. 3
By Howard Fluxgold

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Early indications are that the new SFU U-PASS system is a rousing success. Originally slated for distribution in May, the universal transit pass was finally implemented in September.

It provides all SFU students unlimited access to TransLink's Lower Mainland transit services for a monthly fee of $23.

Leanne Dalton, associate director of the U-PASS program says that more than 13,000 passes were mailed to students mid-August for use beginning in September and an additional 4,000-5,000 were issued in the first week of the fall semester.

The pass is a cooperative effort of SFU, TransLink and the student society.

The student society adds $92 to student fees for four months' transit while the university pays TransLink $8 per student. The regular price for a comparable student pass is $63 a month, or $252 for four months.
Dalton says that anecdotal information indicates the pass has been an unqualified success.

“Some senior administrators who have been here for a long time tell me that there has been less traffic congestion than usual at the start of the semester. There also seems to be a reduced demand for parking spaces. We hope that when data is collected and reviewed that these impressions will be supported.”

She added that TransLink reported almost 13,000 swipes of the electronic card on one day in early September.

“You can also tell by the number of people coming off the buses that it is being heavily used,” Dalton noted.

She added that while there are still some wrinkles to work out, by far the majority of students are pleased with the implementation and benefits of the program.

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