Students stand up for bus pass

Will student politicians follow suit?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

I had a revelation today.

The overwhelming turnout for the bus pass referendum helped me realize something kind of exciting: students care.

I probably should have already known this, being the person who reads and publishes your opinions. But I got caught up in the apathy argument that writes the majority of students off as lazy and uninterested. Until last week, when more Facebook statuses begged students to vote yes for the bus pass than they did describing their intoxication levels, I was seriously discouraged about the average student’s lack of participation in university politics.

However, a whopping 16,327 students have now proved they are informed and engaged in campus issues.

Students are doing their part to lessen the gap between everyday students and student politicians. Now it’s the University Students’ Council’s turn. I hope that the unprecedented participation in the bus pass debate will resonate with the incoming USC Board of Directors and provoke further consideration on the issue.

Students voted for the fee increase because they didn’t want to lose, what is for many, their only means of transportation. Essentially, this referendum forced students to choose the lesser of two evils " a more expensive bus pass or no bus pass at all.

While I understand the price hike is a natural progression in transportation fees, I don’t agree with the position Western students were forced into in this referendum.

There has been a lack of obvious commitment to improving the terms of the bus pass to warrant the extra money students will have to pay.

Fortunately, students get to keep their bus passes. Unfortunately, they will be paying more for the same kind of service they had before " one that includes impractical routes, too few buses en route to campus and accessibility for only eight months of the year.

I sincerely hope the incoming USC Board will commit to improving what students have proven to be an essential aspect to student life at Western.

All too often, student politicians conveniently forget the interests of Western students once they have secured their position. Take, for example, the lingering trash left on campus after the USC presidential elections. Despite the outcry from students writing to The Gazette about it, the candidates, including your president-elect Emily Rowe, were unhurried to clean up their mess.

Will student politicians disregard the wishes of the electorate once their position is secured, as they did by leaving their trash around campus? Or will they work diligently on behalf of the students to respond to the issues that obviously matter? I sincerely hope it is the latter, but I’m not entirely convinced.

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