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NAIT students approve U-Pass

Students to start using semester pass Sept. 1

By: By Kristina Jarvis

  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 06:00 am

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St. Albert students attending NAIT will have a new route to campus come Sept. 1.

Students at the Edmonton-based college voted 68 per cent in favour of the Universal Transit Pass, which would see students pay a mandatory fee in exchange for a semester pass that would let them use transit in St. Albert, Edmonton and Strathcona County.

According to NAIT Student Association president Geoff Tate, the move will help ease the cost of transportation to and from school for students in St. Albert and beyond. He added that several St. Albert students joined the student senate to help bring the U-pass to their campus.

“It feels good to have this passed,” he said. “This just speaks to the number who need this.”

The program has been in place for three years at both the University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan University. NAIT students will pay $110 for the 2010-11 year of the program, $125 for the next year and $140 in the third year.

St. Albert Transit director Bob McDonald said the approval of the U-Pass would mean some changes to the city’s current service, including increasing the number of buses that drive to the northwest campus. The 202 and 209 bus routes travel to NAIT, with the 201 passing close by; users can walk from the nearest stop to campus.

“Transit is serving its purpose by carrying these students,” he said. “We would see some increase, but I think we have some continuing work to do.”

McDonald said the new U-Pass users could help with the city’s determination to become a stop for the proposed LRT northwest corridor route, which will run from NAIT to a location not yet chosen.

“It certainly builds up to that,” he said. “That was part of the concept [of the U-pass].”

Coun. Lorie Garritty said he was happy to hear the referendum results, saying it will help the city increase ridership and develop service. He added the program is successful at the two universities and hopes it will be for NAIT students as well.

When the U-pass was first proposed, St. Albert was the first municipality to get on board with the program, he noted. “We stepped up and took the lead,” he said. “I think this [U-pass] will help spur others on to joining.”

McDonald said the three transit systems, through the Capital Region Board, are currently in discussions with both Concordia University College of Alberta and NorQuest College to bring passes to students there.

Tate expects to meet with the different transit companies in the next few days and said he was excited to see what the plans were to bring services to the students.

“It’ll be interesting to see what they bring to the table,” he said. “Definitely, there’s going to be a lot more students using it.”


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