Two years ago, the future of the U-Pass was in question. The City of Winnipeg proposed to cancel the U-Pass in its 2020 operating and capital budget. Fortunately for U of M students like Aidan Davies, the City decided to keep it instead. A frequent user of the U-Pass, Davies is thankful that the program is still in effect.
“I think it is pretty crucial, I use it almost everyday to get to and from the campus,” said Davies.
This summer, the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) announced that the U-Pass will be returning, providing students with a cost-efficient way to get to and from their classes this year.
The pass gives unlimited access to full-time students at the University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg makes its return after the program was suspended last year due to the limited school-related travel after the COVID- 19 pandemic forced class delivery online.
UMSU president Jaron Rykiss is looking forward to the return of the U-Pass. For him, the U-Pass is an import- ant part of student life at the U of M.
“The U-Pass really provides an opportunity for students to get around Winnipeg, no matter what time of day, no matter where they are,” he said.
Rykiss believes that students should make the most of their cards by taking part in a system that is cost effective, convenient and environmentally sustainable.
Brook Rivard, UMSU vice-president finance and operations, said that the U-Pass has not changed much from the way it functioned before the COVID-19 pandemic forced students to learn remotely.
Every full-time student enrolled in courses at the U of M will automatically be charged the U-Pass fee of $212 per term. Students who have never received a U-Pass must pay a $5 card fee.
When picking up a card, students must bring their student ID with them and present it to the person assisting them.
Students who took a break from registering for courses may need to get a new card.
Those living outside City of Winnipeg boundaries can apply to opt out of the pro- gram. Students in a co-op program, studying abroad, conducting research or completing an internship outside City of Winnipeg boundaries for 60 days can opt out as well.
Long wait times for the U-Pass are commonplace at the start of fall term. Rivard encourages students to pick up their cards as early as possible, and to take part in a new registration system that should speed up the process for first-time students.
“When new students get their student ID, they‘re able to also get their U-Pass loaded up there at the same time, so that should at least make it so there are less lines students need to stand in,” Rivard said.
The U-Pass is available to pick up Aug. 16 from UMSU service desks at the Fort Garry and Bannatyne campuses.