Volume 91, Issue 60

Thursday, January 15, 1998

round and round


Da Da Da

On the road of life there are passengers and there are drivers. This is the heart of the controversy over adopting a universal bus pass at Western.

The question comes up every year – should students have a discounted bus pass included in their student activity fees?

Last night the University Students' Council voted to take the bus pass question to the students. On the USC spring election ballot, Western students can vote in a referendum to embrace the bus pass idea or run it down.

There are benefits and drawbacks to the proposed plan, depending on where you fall in the current transportation scheme of things.

Da Da Da.

The proposed eight-month pass would be drastically less costly than the price students pay now – only $75 for the school year compared to the current price of over $400. For the bus travelling Western population, this is an opportunity too good to pass up.

But here's the catch – students can not opt-out of the fee. If you currently drive to school or live within walking distance, you will still have to pay.

The London Transit Commission says that Western will save money in the long run because they won't have to build more parking lots as more students will be taking the bus. But will more students want to take the bus?

After all, the school is currently vowing to house all first-year students on campus by building another residence. With so many students living at Western, many are not going to need to ride the bus often enough to get their $75 worth. After all, the pass is intended to get students to and from school and since buses stop running before the bars close, students won't even be able to use their passes to save on cab fare.

In the end, the timing of the bus pass question may kill it. With students currently facing the possibility of a tuition increase by 10 per cent next year and another 10 per cent the year after, asking for $75 more could be met with some resistance. A very conservative vote may follow as students hold onto their purse strings. After all, Western students are already paying the highest student fees in the country.

Council's move to send the question to the greater student body is a good one. Let's hope turn-out is high so the issue can be put to rest once and for all. Otherwise, we're driving in circles.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998