July 22, 2013

Ottawa students demand bus pass age cap be removed

Representatives from the Ottawa Student Transit Coalition, alongside Ecology Ottawa, are hand-delivering letters to members of the city council, demanding that the age cap on student bus passes be removed.

Ottawa City Council recently placed an age cap of 19 years for access to student bus passes. In 2009, the city put in place an age cap of 27 on student bus passes only to reverse its decision a couple of months later following student and community pressure.

"Age does not define a student," said Sherline Pieris from the Algonquin Students' Association. "Tuition fees are not determined by age, nor are the services offered to ensure student success in post-secondary institutions. Keep fares fair."

While many students are eligible for the U-Pass program during the fall and winter semesters, this program does not apply to students at Algonquin College or La Cité collégiale. The program does not apply to any part-time students, or students who take classes during the summer months, even if they are enrolled in full-time courses.

"Student debt doesn't disappear because it's summer," said Anne-Marie Roy, president of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa. "Students rely on public transit to travel to summer jobs and courses and are expected to do so at full cost. No other major Canadian city functions this way."

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