Effective economies for the future adapts the strengths of our neighbours and communities.
“UniverCity”, Burnaby, BC.

UPDATE June 3, 2011: The phasing out of the Pass is not a done-deal. Changes to the U-pass are under consideration.UPDATE Dec: 2011. The loss of this program is impending. I appreciate the past subsidy of this program in the community. Why not ask, “Why are we phasing out a system that brings so much back to the community?”

Open Letter to SFU Trust, re:Discontinuation of UniverCity Transit Pass

Everyone in the offices of the SFU Trust;

I’m disappointed in the plans to phase out the support of an affordable monthly bus pass for UniverCity residents. The SFU Trust today released an announcement saying that the $29.67 pass will be phased into a $81/month pass.

Pass users have a wide impact. Use of public transit creates an ecological friendly and sustainable community on the Mountain.

The commute walk facilitates appreciation of the natural areas in our community, increases fitness, and except for the gases we expel while exhaling does not contribute to greenhouse emissions.

The transit pass program reduces our dependence on the single occupancy vehicle. There is a popular use of co-op cars at UniverCity. The transit pass is a language of alternate transport choices.

Imagine if residents adopted the bicycle as the choice of transport!

We’d have a healthy residence, and, more and more, a negligable co2 contribution.

25% of residents support the Translink UniverCity Pass, costing each rider $29.67 each and every month. This is significant in terms of the incomes of families at UniverCity. For those with incomes below $30,000 the monthly amount is reduced further. The less we struggle to earn the lesser our waste as a community.

I remember when Michael Geller was selling the Pass as a way to help home finances, and allow us to pay down our home mortgages faster.
Can you imagine? Then we can prepare for retirement… and what else?

And we must not forget that the UniverCity Translink Transit Pass was attained with a good fight. The predecsecors of the current SFU Trust and Strata representatives on the Community Association fought hard for the gains. The pass system involved long negotiations with Translnk. (this is what I learned while talking with those involved back in 2005/2006).

Do we just relinquish these gains and accomplishments?

While support of a Pass may at first glance appear to be a stress of subsidy. The individual resident
monthly fee is a reliable income. There is a $50 sign up fee for the pass to cover administrative costs. If a user does not pay for one month they lose their privilege. Benefit to the user comes with continued use. If they want to participate again, the rider must contribute a new $50 fee.

For those who consider the pass as a subsidy for transit riders…The car and your use of roads is not the only way to register your participation in the economy!
A well used public transportation reduces reliance on non-renewable fuels,and on the heavy resource heavy industry of cars.

Money talks, and this will see fewer people able to adapt their schedules to public transit.

If this was another community, one without a significant impact on its surrounding sensitive habitats…With future population predictions of 10,000 (plus pets) each resident at UniverCity has a responsibility to reduce our impact to 0 emissions. or less!

An affordable monthly pass works for our community!

Affordability is something we need to fight for in the GVRD. Take a look at real estate listings and prices.

Write info@univercitydotca. Make your concerns known to the TransLink board. Delegations can register to speak at the June 17, 9AM. by contacting board@translinkdotca
Agenda and sign up information. Thanks!

Vivian Sorensen
UniverCity Neighbours for Environmental Sustainability (UNES)
blog: http://www.univercityenvirostewards.org
twitter account: http:twitter.com greenschoolUNES
CC: UNES, Stoney Creek Env. Committee, Burnaby NOW

for more information check out the Sun coverstory: Kelly Sinoski’s Frontpage article, “Metro taxpayers foot bill for transit passes: Burnaby Mountain residents get a free ride on transit after deal to boost ridership” – included comments of support for the Pass by Community Association President, Bruce Clayman