Three strikes and no bus pass
By Becky Somerville
Western's University Students' Council Board of Directors discussed the issue of fees for lost bus passes yesterday after it was brought to their attention that some students seemed to be trying to defraud the system.
Gerry Shellington, assistant general manager of the USC, said the London Transit Commission has already sent nine confiscated passes to the USC. He explained there are three sets of numbers which must match in order to constitute a valid bus pass. The confiscated passes all had mismatched numbers.
"It's a serious issue," Shellington said. "It's fraud."
Students whose ID numbers were found on the illegitimate passes will be contacted and asked to petition the Board as to why they should get them back, Shellington said. "We did make a commitment to the LTC that we would do something about the fraudulent use of the pass."
In an effort to eliminate the potential for students to sell their passes, Shellington explained the USC is tightening its reigns on those students who lose their pass. "If you were to sell your bus pass it's quite lucrative. Somebody might pay a lot of money for it."
Shellington said there are two chances for renewal. The first time a replacement pass will cost $75 unless the student has a receipt from Stevenson-Lawson proving they bought a new Western 1 card, whereupon the pass will cost $25. The cost of a pass the second time a student loses it is $75. Students will not be given the opportunity for a new pass the third time.
John Ford, manager of planning services at the LTC, said while the majority of students have only good intentions for use of the bus pass, there is always the potential someone may intend to defraud the system.
"For 99 per cent of the students this isn't a problem, but you have to have checks and balances," Ford said. He added the LTC and the USC worked to design a bus pass which would ensure its proper use and make it easily identifiable by LTC operators, Ford explained.
If a pass was confiscated by a bus driver, it would be forwarded to the LTC administration, then passed on to the USC with an in-depth explanation as to why it was removed from the passenger, he said.
VP-student affairs for the USC, Melissa Cousineau, said she felt the discussion of replacement bus passes was productive. "I thought it was a fair and just way to deal with those who lost their cards."