Students lobby to save bus pass

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Western, LTC need to offer more”
March 10, 2009

To the editor:
I will be voting in favour of the bus pass. Although I don’t completely agree with all the terms that will be involved, it is better than no bus pass.

Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the service the London Transit Commission provides me throughout the year for the low price of $125.78 for an eight-month pass. Next year " if the referendum passes " we’ll be paying $135.84 for the same service, which I find completely reasonable. All other LTC passengers have had an increase in prices. Why should everyone else have to pay more for the bus and students continue to pay the same price?

We’re already getting a great deal for an eight-month pass, considering if you want a pass that’s valid seven days a week, this would cost you $81 per month. Now that is a fee most students wouldn’t be able to afford. At the proposed rate for next year, we’d be paying $16.98 per month. Overall, a yearly increase of $10 for most students would just mean maybe holding off from having those two extra drinks at the bar and there’s your savings for the increased bus pass fee.

I agree that the bus service is sometimes slow and has some inconvenient stops and so on. However, I would not go so far as to say the service is “horrific.” Coming from a place like Barrie where buses only ran about every 30 minutes, it’s nice to have a much more developed transit system.

Many say that some people don’t use the bus pass because they live on campus or have a car. These on-campus residents probably visit the grocery store, Masonville, Ceeps, etc. sometime and use their bus pass. As for those with cars, maybe they should follow the green trend, save some gas and help the environment by taking public transit? Just because they have cars doesn’t mean they need to use them (not to mention permits to park on campus cost $320 per year).

Lastly, in Andrew’s letter he claims the “LTC essentially forces those who don’t have a car to pay over $300 over the summer to get around.” From what I understand, it’s not the LTC stopping us from not having a 12-month pass. The negotiating would have to be done by the University Students’ Council to figure out prices and a plan. The LTC is not forcing us to pay anything; we just haven’t pursued this option yet. The November 2008 USC survey showed that 55 per cent of those who responded were willing to pay extra for a 12-month bus pass. Sounds like most students may be interested in this option and it should probably be explored in the future.

I think the bus pass is an essential way of getting around for many students. Many of us would be at a great loss without this service next year. With the bus pass referendum just around the corner, Joni Mitchell’s lyrics that “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone,” keep me wondering what students will decide.
" Mimmi Thompson
Pharmacology and Toxicology II

To the editor:
This letter serves neither to agree nor disagree with Mr. Gadsby’s recent opinion of the London Transit Commission operations and the upcoming bus pass referendum. Personally, I consider the LTC to be a high quality and valuable service provider that is a benefit to both Western and the City of London. I applaud him for voicing his opinion and credit him with the fact that, like myself, he will be one of the few students who actually vote on this referendum. However, unlike Mr. Gadsby, I will be voting firmly in favour of supporting the small increase " $10 " in price in order to continue the eight-month LTC bus plan.

As a fourth-year student who will graduate in April, I should mention that I have no intention of returning to Western next year and thus the outcome of this vote will have absolutely no effect on me next September. Add to this that I lived on campus in first year, was away on exchange in my third year and cycle to school as often as the weather permits. Overall, my use of the bus pass after four years is likely extremely low when compared to the average student. Yet, I am firmly in favour and an outspoken supporter of continuing the Western bus pass.

I believe that if this referendum fails, and the agreement between the University Students’ Council and LTC results in the loss of the bus pass, the overwhelming losers will be everyone involved. The LTC will lose substantial revenue as well as the majority of its ridership (and not just on the 2, 6 and 10 routes); students will lose a cheap and efficient method of transportation both to campus and around the entire city; and finally the USC will lose the respect and favour of both students and the LTC due to its inability to have found a positive solution.

Perhaps it is necessary for students to lose the bus pass for a year or two before they realize just how important and undervalued it is to them. But should the vast majority of students suffer simply because a small majority have access to personal vehicles, live close enough to walk or demand a longer-term pass? This isn’t about the money. And I can’t see it being about the principle. We’re talking about a yearly fee of $136, compared to the $560 that will be required without the pass. Even science students like myself can work that one out. Please don’t let personal apathy and indifference ruin this for the rest. Vote in favour of continuing the bus pass. It’s in the best interest of everyone.
" Daniel Way
Medical Sciences IV

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette