Canadian system uncovers fake student card ring

Posted on July 27, 2009

Ontario’s University of Guelph is looking into using RFID technology to prevent students from boarding Guelph Transit buses with counterfeit student ID cards.

The university’s Central Student Association (CSA), which is leading the initiative against fake passes, is working with Guelph Transit to change to a swipe card system, Communications Commissioner Gavin Armstrong says. “This has many benefits, such as studying what routes students take the most and when, but it also eliminates the fraudulent pass issue,” he adds.

Currently, students who show their cards to bus operators have unlimited access to transit services. The transit pass is paid for by fee that is automatically charged to students and managed by the CSA.

Students must be enrolled in at least one on-campus class to get the pass. Distance-learning students are not eligible for the pass, and the pass is only valid from September through August, making students who stay in the area for the summer also ineligible.

The initial investigation into the fake passes began in the summer of 2008, when a spate of counterfeiters was detected. Students caught using a counterfeit card face a $50 fine and a hearing through the university’s judicial system.

Armstrong says the new student cards are in the works, but no target date for their introduction has been set.

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