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Translink Buzzer Blog

A bit about the U-Pass BC program starting this fall

I’m still on holiday! This is a scheduled post.

With the school year fast approaching, I thought I’d put up some more info about the new U-Pass BC program that comes into effect on September 1.

In June 2010, the Province of British Columbia announced its new U-Pass BC program, offering a universal bus pass to students at all publicly funded post-secondary institutions.

However, be aware that this doesn’t mean all students will be handed a U-Pass the minute they step on campus. It’s not mandatory for schools to take part, and schools without a U-Pass need to first follow their own process (usually a referendum) to get their student body to approve of joining the program.

Check out our U-Pass BC page for all the details — I’ve also copied up some of the key information here.

So where’s my U-Pass?

Students and schools now eligible to join the new U-Pass BC will need to do a few things before they get their transit passes:

  • Students have indicated they want to hold a referendum (or follow the proper process according to their student society’s constitution) to approve their entry into the U-Pass BC program at the monthly rate of $30, which will rise to $35 per month on April 1st, 2013.
  • If approved, Schools will need to set up their processes to administer the program
  • Students, their schools and TransLink will all sign a standard contract that includes each signatory’s rights and responsibilities for the program.

Student societies and schools that are ready to start this process now could have their new U-Pass BC programs up and running as early as this coming January. Students already participating in the current program will have their U-Pass as usual in time for the fall session.

Students at Langara College and Capilano University will see their monthly U-Pass rate drop to $30 per month effective September 1. Students at UBC and SFU will keep their current program and their U-Pass rates until this time next year.

By September 1, 2011, all participating students and schools will need to be on the new U-Pass BC program. This means UBC, SFU, Langara College and Capilano University students will need to hold a referendum and approve the new program so that their student societies can sign the standard contract along with their schools and TransLink.

For more, again check out the U-Pass BC page, where you can see the U-Pass BC brochure, FAQ, and read the official press release.

And if you have questions, please write to!


  • By Cliff, August 30, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

    Will the UPass be avaialble to all students attending a post secondary institution or will those taking high school courses at post secondary institutions be restricted?

  • By Ric, August 30, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

    Is Kwantlen taking part in this program?

  • By Brandon, August 31, 2010 @ 10:27 am

    From what I understand, your university student union has to apply to the u-pass program (generally, the student body has to vote for the plan in a referendum). Anyone registered at a University that has a U-Pass should get one – if you’re taking courses at UBC, etc you have to be registered with UBC and paying student fees to the AMS (student union).

  • By Julie S, August 31, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

    With the new schools being added, I wonder how many more upasses we will see for sale online and how many will be used illegally? I pay for my fare, but it’s frustrating when I know people scam their way on. I seen transit officers at the seabus catching them a few times.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, September 13, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

    Julie S: As far as I know, the new U-Pass program is looking to address the fraud issue. Not sure exactly what shape that will take yet.

  • By Brit in Vancouver, September 27, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    The Upass might be a good idea for students. It is not a good idea for transit. Since it was first introduced, it has created too much demand and overcrowded buses. For example, #99 is horrible now. Many non students are giving up on transit and driving more now. Students should at least pay for a 1 zone pass with fast trax.

  • By ???, September 30, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

    Here’s another place to get your passes.–students-selling-u-passes-online

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