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No bus pass for you!
By Erin Conway-Smith
While full-time Western students enjoy the luxuries of a universal bus pass, part-timers will, it seems, continue to pay full price for a ticket to ride.
The issue of part-time students being excluded from the University Students' Council's bus pass program was raised at last week's USC meeting in an open forum where council members related students' concerns to the USC board of directors.
"[Bus passes for part-time students is] an ongoing concern one which I personally felt being a part-time student last year," said USC president Mike Lawless.
"If there is any way we can bring a bus pass to part-time students, we will, but the contract that exists doesn't allow us to," he said.
Since 1998, bus passes for the duration of the school year have been available to all full-time undergraduate students at a mandatory cost paid through student fees.
The bus pass program cannot work unless it is a universal program, required either by all full-time students or none of them, said Steve Allen, USC services manager.
It is not possible to include part-time students due to difficulty in defining their student status, Allen said.
"It implies that if you take a half-course in September, you would be eligible for the [year-long bus pass] program," he said.
"If we were to include everybody that simply takes a course, we would have to reevaluate the price [of bus passes]," said John Ford, director of planning services for the LTC.
Bus passes would likely have to be higher than $98.35 if part-time students were involved in the program, Ford said, because the LTC would need to cover revenue they would otherwise receive through regular fares.
Mike Webber, a part-time media, information and technoculture student, said while he would prefer to have a bus pass, he understood why part-time students do not receive them.
"It would be as if part-time students would be free-loading if they were to receive bus passes since many have one or two classes a year," he said.