Students hop on bus once again
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Students hop on bus once again
By Stephanie Cesca
Pending final approval, Western's student bus pass will be back in the bag for at least another year, after almost 5,000 students voted to continue the program.
The mandatory bus pass for all fullŠtime undergraduate students will now rise $16 to $96 for the 2000-01 academic year.
Larry Ducharme, general manager of the London Transit Commission, said he was pleased the majority of students voted in favour of the pass. Only 691 students voted "No" to the referendum question which accompanied the University Students' Council presidential ballots last Wednesday and Thursday. "I think it's a reflection of the work we've done with the [USC] in putting together a valuable program."
Ducharme explained the price hike was necessary to accommodate the extra services provided for students. "The program was successful beyond our expectations and the student council's at the time," he said.
Since the pass was so heavily used, Ducharme said increased access to and from campus was needed, which in turn cost the LTC increased service and vehicle maintenance fees. "The price adjustment reflects the sum of all those things."
Now that the students have voted in favour of the pass, he said the LTC would have to discuss with the USC how long the $96 price tag would last. "The next step for us is to work together and work out the particulars."
The pass, he added, was still an excellent bargain and he encouraged students to evaluate how it was economically beneficial for most users. "Just take the price you pay and divide by the number of trips you take."
USC president SzeJack Tan agreed the referendum results demonstrated the bus pass' extreme popularity with students. "I think it was a decisive turnout and it showed students at Western really love their bus passes."
Tan said the USC would sit down with the LTC to iron out the details of the pass, probably some time in the summer. However, before that time, he said Western's Board of Governors would have to approve the pass as well, after he makes a presentation in March to the Campus and Community Affairs Committee, a subcommittee of the BOG.
The pass would then be then be voted on by the BOG in April, but only after a review by the Property and Finance Committee, explained Michael Rubinoff, undergraduate representative to the BOG and member of both committees. "It's sort of a long process," he said.
However, Rubinoff and Tan both agreed the pass should be approved with flying colours. "The Board loved it at first. It's a great tool for the university. It provides a beneficial service for students who don't have cars," Rubinoff said.
The bus pass was quickly approved when it went before the Board two years ago, said Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration.
"I think the feeling was, if the students felt it was valuable, then the BOG would think so as well," he said. "I think the bus pass has been a success. It's been well-received by students."