A U-Pass Blog

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Photo Credit: CBC Radio

Jon and Bridget sat my partner Shredder and I down at the meeting table, and my mind was blown. We came in halfway through the meeting with no sort of context or lead in, so for the first bit I had no idea what was going on, but then they started talking about uPass.
Now I'm not very familiar with the going ons of Ottawa yet (I've only been here a few times previous to living here) but it doesn't take a genius to see that Ottawa has a pretty damn intense bus system. Coming from a lifestyle where I owned a car and I lived in Calgary - a place where most non-drivers get around via subway - I was kinda daunted when I realised the only transit left available to me was the bus (or walking). And frankly, I gotta say that it doesn't make much sense that a city of 812 000 people (which is probably almost double that in tourists), isn't outfitted with a train system, as it'd be faster, more efficient, and the city's infrastructure is basically already designed for it! It'd be easy as far as I can see. But hey, just an opinion, apparently I don't know all the sides of the story, so I'll look past it.

In any case, I have to rely on the bus, and if not for the fact that Jon and my Katimavik Project Leader (my babysitter, for lack of a better term) supplied me with all my tickets, I'd have to shell out $3 every time I wanted to go on the bus. 30$ a week, about $720 a semester, and that's not even including what my weekend plans detail. It's not unreasonable! But considering most of the university students here - who don't get the same ticket deal as I do - are living on red money, it's an expense that could be avoided. The alternative is a monthly pass, but even then you'd have to pay $70 per month, and finish the semester $300 poorer.

uPass is the other alternative. Now like I said before, there's some blanks that need filling in my information, but as far as I've been informed, the deal is that every student pays an extra $145 with entry fees, and in return they get to go on the bus for the rest of the semester free. Maybe an uneccesary fee for some, but if you take advantage of it, that's a hell of a lot cheaper than you would be paying, it's significantly more environmental, and don't even get me started on how much you'd be saving on gas as a car driver (My understanding is that gas prices are up to 1.20 per litre? Excuse me while I implode).

In any case, Jon had to fight the city for 9 years to pass that single motion because, get this, in order for this "special uPass" motion to be passed... the city council had to vote unanimously. If you think a minority government is ineffective, then you can imagine the WORLDS of change that go on in a city guided by unanimous vote *COUGHSARCASMCOUGH*. Makes it seem a lot more understandable that Canada's capital doesn't have a train system, huh?

This job is gonna be interesting.
-annux (the latest katimavictim)

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