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GSA/LA Transit’s U-Pass Program

As of Fall 2008, the U of L Graduate Students’ Association, in partnership with Lethbridge Transit, has been offering all graduate students reduced transit fares through a U-Pass program.

NOTE: If you have questions regarding the UPass and it’s distribution, please see the FAQ below! 

What is a UPass?

The Universal Transit Pass (UPass) programs give students enrolled in participating post-secondary institutions unlimited access to local transit. Programs are typically funded through mandatory fees that eligible students pay in each term in which they are registered. Fees are transferred to the local transit authority to fund the required transit service. Because fees are collected from a large participant base, U-Pass prices are lower than the amount students would otherwise pay for monthly passes or tickets over the course of a term.  -Wikipedia

In 1973, Queen’s University became the first university in Canada to implement a universal transit pass program. The “Bus-It” program was implemented with Kingston Transit.  Nearby St. Lawrence College also participates in this program.  Students are required to pay for the service as part of student activity fees. Currently, more than 60 Canadian universities have implemented a UPass program.

Potential benefits of a UPass program

U-Pass programs offer students a way to lower their transportation costs while at school and also benefit the local community and the environment.   U-Pass programs can facilitate:

  • Increased affordable access to transit for U of L graduate students;
  • Transit service improvements to the institution;
  • Reduced traffic congestion around the campus and local community;
  • Contribute to fewer emissions; and
  • Reduce demand for parking facilities (less resources spent on building parking facilities)

Frequently asked questions

Q:  I didn’t agree to this, why am I forced to pay for this?

A:  Over 65% of the graduate student population (who voted) agreed to the U-Pass idea in the March 2007 referendum.  Not everybody uses the Gym or its facilities, but everyone is required to pay for it.  It is only through collecting small amounts from many people are larger things possible, for example running an institution like the University of Lethbridge.  That’s how cities are able to offer facilities (libraries, pools, skating rinks, etc.) and services (water treatment plants, trash collection, etc.) normally far out of reach of a small group of individuals.

Q: How can I get my UPass? 
A: UPasses will be distributed by appointment from M2041. Email contact@ulgsa.ca to set up a time.
Q: When is my UPass valid?
A: The UPass is valid from January through to Sept 15th. (We realize that when you swipe the UPass it says valid until April 30th. However, the UPass is valid through to September. We have notified LA Transit of this issue).
Q: What if my UPass doesn’t work/scan?
A: Contact contact@ulgsa.ca about this.
Q: Can I exchange my UPass for a parking permit?
A: No, unfortunately the UPass and University Parking are separate entities and this cannot be arranged.
Q: How can I get my reimbursement if I opted out of the UPass?
A: The cash office (not the GSA) distributes the reimbursements for the UPass program.
Any other concerns regarding the UPass program should be directed to  contact@ulgsa.ca.

Opting-out of the U-Pass program

The U of L graduate program includes students that are not on campus, and thus could not benefit from the U-Pass program.  For this reason, a set of criterion have been agreed upon to allow these students to voluntarily opt-out of the program.  These criterion are:

  • a student doing practicum work or field work outside the City of Lethbridge for more than 3/4 of the Fall or Spring/Summer semester
  • a student who lives outside of the Lethbridge Transit Service area

A student who satisfies one of the above criterion can fill in an on-line form (CLICK HERE).

Opt-out deadline for the Fall semester is September 15th and January 15th for the Spring semester.

Refunds will be credited to the student’s account. Please contact the Cash Office after the deadline for any questions related to the refund.

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