Volume 92, Issue 89

Wednesday, March 17, 1999


Editorial Board 1998-99

A toast to savings

Editorial Cartoon

A toast to savings

Imagine someone offered students a deal where they could drink $700 worth of beer for $75. If the next year, the deal was renegotiated to $700 worth of beer for a $79 cost, not many would complain.

However, concerns have been raised with a proposal to increase the cost of the University Students' Council's universal bus pass from $75 to $79 next year. While students should always question the reasons behind rising university costs – regardless of the amount – this hike seems to be warranted.

Due to problems with bus maintenance and decreased funding, the London Transit Commission has deemed the rise in price necessary to continue servicing the number of students who utilize the pass. LTC representatives insist the venture is not one driven by profit. The extra $4 will simply bring the organization closer to breaking even, instead of losing money. Considering the number of students who benefit from the deal, this hardly seems like a greedy request.

However, in the future, students should be wary of companies looking to quietly profit from increases made slowly over a number of years. If this year's hike is approved, the university should be aware of the LTC's revenue and how it compares to cost. After assessing the effects of the increase and the overall service provided, a semi-long-term plan should be negotiated to avoid future random hikes.

In holding the initial bus pass referendum, the university acted in a truly democratic manner. This process should be continued with future matters pertaining to the bus pass if there are concerns the increases are resulting in corporate profit. Student demographics should also be considered – when the students who voted for the pass have graduated, those left should not be locked into a deal where they are forced to pay for something there may no longer be a need for.

Four dollars. The cost of a draught beer, a pack of cigarettes or a meal combo at McDonalds – not exactly life necessities. It can be argued the main issue colouring this proposal is when students voted on the bus pass, they agreed to pay $75 not $79. A decision to increase the amount agreed upon without consulting students is, theoretically, discrediting the initial vote. However, in this case such a minimal increase hardly warrants a referendum.

In the long run, the benefits of the bus pass still amount to a savings of over $700 for each student who regularly uses it. That's a lot of Big Macs.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999