Next stop for bus pass
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
The wheels on Western's universal bus pass continue to go round and round due to last night's Campus and Community Affairs Committee which recommended to push the pass to the next stage of implementation despite some opposition.
Chair of the committee, Jim Etherington, emerged from the confidential meeting of council members where the recommendation was supported, clearly impressed by the number of positives inherent in the pass.
"The research was excellent and the students' council approached this in a very good way," Etherington said, adding the proposal was well thought out.
But before the committee adjourned into confidential to discuss the possible recommendation of the pass, opposition arose from returning Western student Sarah McLennan-Stapleton.
McLennan-Stapleton, hoping to begin studies in the master in business administration program in September, took the floor during last night's meeting to voice her concerns many relating to the StatsLab survey done in researching the pass.
The specific problems raised by the opposition included the exclusion of dollar amounts in a question related to the opinion of a flat-rate bus pass and the inclusion of answers in the results of the poll by part-time students who are currently not eligible for a pass.
"Although there is support for the bus pass, I would like to ask the Campus and Community Affairs Committee where the support is stemming from," McLennan-Stapleton said.
These and several other concerns were brought up on the heels of a presentation made by University Students' Council President Ryan Parks, who presented a plan which clearly indicated the years of work behind the bus pass initiative.
Although Parks said he could understand McLennan-Stapleton's concern, he said he had difficulty understanding her arguments which he tried to counter in the question period with the committee and final comments.
"Sarah said the StatsLab survey was flawed she was right because it actually underestimated the support," said Nick Iozzo, spokesperson for the 'Yes' side of the bus pass referendum. The recent 'Yes' referendum vote gained 71 per cent support by students.
The recommendation made by the CCAC will now go to the Property and Finance Committee which in turn will make a recommendation to the university's Board of Governors. VP-administration Peter Mercer said the next step also involves correctly marketing the bus pass.
John Ford, manager of planning services for the London Transit Commission, said the outcome of the referendum was more positive than he expected and he is optimistic about the final result of the bus pass.