Long lines and crowded buses worth the wait
By Mark Brown
Welcome back Western students. The line for your bus pass starts over there.
Once again students at Western have begun the familiar routine of long line-ups throughout the first few weeks of school with one of the longest and newest lines being for the universal student bus pass.
Although some students may be annoyed by the long lines, Ian Armour, president of the University Students' Council, sees them as being symbolic of the high student approval ratings for the pass.
The line-up for the pass was unavoidable, Armour said. "We had to get the latest information from the registrar's office and we had to make sure the bus pass was actually placed on the student's card."
The final design of the bus pass came only after negotiations over the summer between the USC and the London Transit Commission.
"The LTC would have preferred a single card with a photo identification but it was not possible for this year," said John Ford, director of planning for the LTC.
The USC considered several ideas for the final design for the bus pass. "We had hoped to have the sticker on the Western 1 Card, but with swiping the card (for meal plans), it would have been an impediment," Armour said.
Overall, he was pleased with the distribution of the bus pass. He added the stickers will continue to be distributed in the lounge area of University Community Centre until at least the end of this week, depending on student demand. "[After this week] we believe the InfoSource will be able to handle the volume."
Even though the bus pass was intended for full-time undergraduate students, some part-time students will also be able to share the benefit of the pass.
"The way we have worked it out is that full-time students who become part-time students would still maintain the pass," Ford explained.
"There is nothing in the contract about chasing people down," Armour said. He added these students are not getting a free ride since the $75 fee for the pass included in student fees will not be refunded.
Although not every student may have wanted the bus pass, few students have complained. Those students who have expressed their concerns have been furious.
"I had two calls, one being totally irate, about paying for the bus pass," said Peter Mercer, VP-administration at Western.
Armour said he has received under ten complaints regarding the bus pass, which is less than he had expected.
The LTC has already noticed an increased load on buses, said Ford. To meet the increased demand the LTC has added an express service along Richmond to campus and has increased the number of buses on the road, he said.