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Category: U-Pass

U-Pass BC transition to Compass is in full swing!

Compass Card

On June 1, another 50,000 students say good bye to the paper U-Pass BC and hello to Compass.

Students from BCIT, Langara, SFU and UBC will start using Compass Cards to travel across Metro Vancouver—and never have to line up for a paper pass again.

Compass Card for U-Pass BC – same program, better process

With the Compass system:

  • Students still get all-zone transit across Metro Vancouver and discounted West Coast Express fares
  • No more waiting in line for a paper pass, students can now request their U-Pass BC online each month at
  • Unlike paper passes, Compass for U-Pass BC helps deter fraud because cards can be unlinked if lost or stolen

Loading is easy peasy

Check out this video for all the steps!

Please tap in and tap out

  • Students must tap in and tap out every time they enter or exit a bus or station, including when they transfer
  • Tapping in and out provides important anonymous ridership data, so resources are placed where they’re needed most

U-Pass BC and West Coast Express

  • Students without a Compass Card should use standard traditional WCE products for the month of June
  • Those with a Compass Card need to load their U-Pass BC onto their Compass Card.
  • To have a U-Pass BC WCE Add-On loaded onto their Compass Card, visit the WCE Office or call Compass Customer Service 604.398.2042.
  • Students need to tap once they’ve loaded their WCE Monthly Pass onto their Compass Card. Until then, U-Pass BC students do not need to tap in and out on West Coast Express.

The next students to get Compass Cards are from Capilano and VCC.

Once they’re tapping on July 1, all schools will be fully converted to Compass.

Have questions? Ask away at and see our FAQ page here.

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!

U-Pass BC: a provincewide transit program for post-secondary students

Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Shirley Bond, Premier Gordon Campbell, and Nimmi Takkar of the Canadian Federation of Students at the announcement of U-Pass BC. Photo from the <a href=>BC Government</a>.

Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Shirley Bond, Premier Gordon Campbell, and Nimmi Takkar of the Canadian Federation of Students at the announcement of U-Pass BC. Photo from the BC Government.

As you may have heard, the Province of British Columbia announced the U-Pass BC program today, which offers a universal U-Pass transit program to students at all publicly funded post-secondary institutions.

Here’s the BC government’s press release, and articles from the Vancouver Sun, the Georgia Straight, and 24 Hours (it’s mostly the same news: I just thought I’d throw in a variety of sources!).

Essentially, the cost is $30 per month for students in Metro Vancouver. For schools outside our region, the cost will vary. It’s not mandatory for schools to take part: schools will have to hold a referendum, and the student body must vote to join the program.

This is a provincial announcement so I won’t necessarily have access to all the answers, but feel free to ask anyway and I’ll see if I can help :)

Update, Friday June 11, 2010: There’s now a U-Pass BC FAQ on our website.

Winners of the 2009 U-Pass photo contest

The 2009 U-Pass photo contest winners: Abbye Dahl, Maggie Baynham, and Claire Seaborn.

The 2009 U-Pass photo contest winners: Abbye Dahl, Maggie Baynham, and Claire Seaborn.

Congratulations to Abbye Dahl, Maggie Baynham, and Claire Seaborn for winning the 2009 U-Pass photo contest!

Watch for them in a transit ad near you — each of them won a professional photograph for an ad on a bus and SkyTrain, plus a $200 Vancity Mytreat Visa.

Here are their winning photos with a little description, plus their professional photographs!

Read more »

2009 U-Pass photo contest: win $200 and star in a transit ad!

Your photo could be on the side of a SkyTrain!

Your photo could be on the side of a SkyTrain!

Vancity and TransLink are running a back-to-school U-Pass photo contest!

Just like last year’s contest, all you have to do is enter a photo of yourself showing how you help save the environment.

Three winners will be professionally photographed for an ad on a bus and SkyTrain, plus a $200 Vancity Mytreat Visa.

So visit to upload your photo or to vote for the photos entered so far!

The contest runs from September 10-30 and it’s open to all students with a valid Vancity U-Pass Card. Winners will be announced at the end of October. (Here’s last year’s winners if you’re curious!)

Capilano University interim transit exchange opens today

Capilano University students, your new interim transit exchange opened this morning!

Starting today, buses #130, #28 and #255 will be re-routed to the exchange, located off Monashee Drive, north of the Studio Art Building. (The #255 will be extended to the new exchange and will travel along Lillooet Road—#255 service at Old Lillooet Road and Mt Seymour Parkway will be discontinued.) Route #239 will remain on Purcell Way.

Here’s a PDF detailing the reroutes and some changes to local bus stops.

So why is it called an interim transit exchange?

Well, our ultimate goal is to build an exchange located at the centre of activity at Cap U, where students and customers want to be. We also want it to be integrated with surrounding land uses, and sized for mid-to-long term growth.

However, recent service increases associated with the January launch of the Vancity U-Pass program ramped up the need for a transit exchange. We had to develop a temporary solution, to make sure the extra buses and service were not disrupting the residents in the neighbourhood surrounding Capilano University.

So, we’ve created this interim exchange at a site that was available. It has a five-year expected capacity, based on current ridership growth assumptions. The interim facility will still have new shelters, garbage receptacles, and proper lighting to ensure everything is up to safety and accessibility standards.

During this time, we will work with area residents, the district of North Vancouver, and the University community to site and plan a longer-term facility. So, that’s why this current exchange is “interim” for now.

U-Pass photo contest winners

Malloreigh Hamilton in one of the winning photos from our U-Pass photo contest.

Malloreigh Hamilton in one of the winning photos from our U-Pass photo contest.

We declared two winners in our U-Pass photo contest a while back, and Malloreigh Hamilton and Daniel Loke had the best photos capturing the concept of “good karma and less carbon.”

Malloreigh, who is a Langara College student, submitted the photo at right. It was taken by Lindsay Elliott (you can check out Lindsay’s photo website too). Here’s what Malloreigh had to say about the photo:

The photo I entered into the U-Pass Photo Contest was taken in early September – a warm early autumn day in Vancouver. I ride my bike all summer, and in the winter, too, if I can – but on those dismal rainy days when I have schoolwork to do, I take the bus. I consider it my responsibility to do everything I can to minimize my impact on the planet – I love what we have left of it and I want to help save it. I take a lot of joy in riding my bike around beautiful Vancouver, and I love the friendships I make on the bus to and from school. My goal is to infect everyone with the contagious happiness that comes from doing little things that help make the world a better place for everyone to live in.

Daniel Loke's photo, one of two winning entries in our U-Pass photo contest.

Daniel Loke's photo, one of two winning entries in our U-Pass photo contest.

Daniel Loke goes to UBC and took this photo himself. Here’s how he described his picture:

My photo represents a lot of what I think of the environment. Besides just riding a bike and reducing carbon emissions, I was riding it on Rottnest Island in Australia, which generates 37% of its power through renewable resources. In fact, there’s a wind turbine just behind me! Ecotourism is becoming a big thing now, and I’m happy to be a part of it. For me, taking local buses and transit is the real way to travel. In addition to ‘being a local’, it’s just part of being environmentally friendly. I ride my bike to work and bus to school every day, even though I have a car available to me (why not? I have a U-pass anyway!). It’s just little things like that that means I use less carbon, and gain more karma. Earth gives so much to me, I just have to give something back!

Thanks again to everyone who entered! It’s great to see that students care about the environment and are trying to make a difference!

U-Pass holders: win an iPod in our photo contest!

People with U-Passes! You could win an iPod if you enter a photo in our contest!

There’s two 8GB iPod nanos up for grabs, along with U-Pass t-shirts and stainless steel water bottles. All you have to do is take a photo of yourself or someone else creating good karma and less carbon, fill in a release form for the person photographed and agree to the rules, and then submit your picture via our contest website. (If you’re under 19 the release form must be filled in by your parents or legal guardian.)

The contest is a chance for students to show they care about the environment and making a difference, as well as an opportunity to show off their creativity. And the public can participate too–if you check the gallery of entries, you can cast a vote for your favourite photo. Votes will be taken into consideration in the judging.

Plus, the gallery also shows that there are only FOUR people currently entered in the contest. (The first four are pictures are example photos from the TransLink photo library.) Yeah, just four, and at least one of those is more about fabulous good looks rather than the good karma/less carbon concept (I’ll let you guess which one).

So don’t wait! Take a photo and enter now!