COVID-19 U-PASS BC UPDATE

Following the temporary suspension of the U-Pass BC program for the summer term, we continued to work with TransLink, student associations, and post-secondary institutions across Metro Vancouver to find a solution for the fall term. After careful consideration and extensive discussion, we can now share that the U-Pass BC program will resume at Capilano University (and at all other participating post-secondary institutions) starting on September 1, 2020. 

Click anywhere in this box to read our full statement. 

PROGRAM DETAILS

The U-Pass BC program provides all CSU members with unlimited access to transit in the Metro Vancouver region. This includes all bus routes, SkyTrain, and SeaBus. It also gives access to discounts on West Coast Express fares. The U-Pass BC program, including the fee, has been approved by Capilano University students in a referendum.

NEW CSU U-PASS BC HARDSHIP FUND

We understand the financial barriers that students are facing, and the CSU will continue to support students who are struggling financially. The CSU board of directors recently approved a new CSU U-Pass BC Hardship Fund, which provides a bursary equivalent to 50% of the value of U-Pass BC fees for one term for students with demonstrated financial need. The CSU U-Pass BC Hardship Fund application can be found here.

The CSU U-Pass BC Hardship Fund follows a $75,000 donation to CapU’s Emergency Endowment Fund made earlier this year to help students experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Students with immediate need of financial resources are encouraged to reach out to the CapU financial aid & awards department here to discuss options for emergency financial assistance.

HOW THE U-PASS BC PROGRAM WORKS

The U-Pass BC program is jointly funded by TransLink, the provincial government, and a mandatory student U-Pass BC fee collected each semester. The U-Pass BC fee is automatically added to your student account when you are registered in one or more credit classes and must be paid at the same time as your fees and tuition.

The program is mandatory for all eligible Capilano students and provides unlimited, all-zone access to public transit in Metro Vancouver at a significantly reduced cost. Having a U-Pass BC gives you unlimited access to TransLink bus services (including community shuttles and West Vancouver Blue Busses), SkyTrain, and SeaBus services. It also gives access to discounts on West Coast Express fares.

All students, with limited exceptions, will be assessed a mandatory U-Pass BC fee who:

  • are CSU fee-paying members
  • attend classes with a course load totalling three or more credits
  • are full-time or part-time students who are registered in a course lasting at least 3 consecutive weeks

PROGRAM EXEMPTIONS AND OPT-OUTS

The U-Pass BC program agreement is structured as a universal and mandatory program for students at participating post-secondary institutions, and it is this universal model that makes the affordability of the U-Pass BC program possible. For students who rely on the U-Pass BC program, this means savings of up to $538 on transit passes every single semester.

Certain students are exempt from the U-Pass BC program, including students with disabilities that preclude the use of conventional transit or HandyDART services, students who hold another transit pass for the entire semester, or students who have a valid U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution. 

Students are also exempt if they are both (a) studying entirely online without any on-campus instruction, and (b) are living outside of the TransLink service region. If you are living outside of Metro Vancouver for the fall semester due to the public health emergency, and your studies are online, then this exemption may apply to you.

For more information on exemptions, including application forms, click here.

Please note that if you intend to apply for one of these exemption options, we recommend that you do not request or load your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card through the U-Pass BC website, as this may result in one or more months of the U-Pass BC fee being non-reversible.

COST

The U-Pass is one of the CSU’s most popular initiatives, so much so that the most recent referendum on its continuation passed with over 84% of valid votes cast in favour. The U-Pass BC fee is be assessed as follows:

  • $42.50 per month starting May 1, 2020
  • $43.35 per month starting May 1, 2021
  • $44.20 per month starting May 1, 2022
  • $45.10 per month starting May 1, 2023
  • $46.00 per month starting May 1, 2024

HISTORY

As a part of the provincial government’s green initiative, TransLink sponsored the Universal Bus Pass Program (U-Pass) to increase ridership on public transit. Capilano University students first voted for the U-Pass in October 2007, with 87% in favour of the U-Pass Program. Since then, Capilano students have voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the U-Pass every time a vote on its continuation taken place.

FUN FACT: Between 2003 and 2010, the U-Pass Program has been responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 36,000 tonnes. This is the equivalent of removing 7,200 cars from the road. We are excited to build on this success. With the inclusion of all public post-secondary institutions in the program, the environmental and social benefits will continue to grow. Just think about how many emissions have been reduced since ALL of the public post-secondary institutions in the Lower Mainland joined the U-Pass BC program in 2011!

RELATED LINKS

FEEDBACK

If you’d like to share your thoughts about the U-Pass BC program, we encourage you to continue providing us with your perspectives by completing the form below.

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    The U-Pass BC program is a universal, mandatory program for all students enrolled in at least one course and provides unlimited access to transit in the Metro Vancouver region. This includes all bus routes, SkyTrain, and SeaBus. It also gives access to discounts on West Coast Express fares. The U-Pass BC program, including the fee, has been approved by Capilano University students in a referendum.

    The U-Pass BC program is a universal, mandatory program for all students enrolled in at least one course. All students who are enrolled in classes that would normally be delivered in-person at the North Vancouver campus or at CapU Lonsdale are required to take part in the U-Pass program. This includes those enrolled in classes that are being taught via mixed mode or remote, adapted (online) learning as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

    As a universal, mandatory program, exemptions from the program are limited.

    A student is exempt if they have a disability that precludes the use of conventional transit or HandyDART services; if they already have another transit pass for the entire term; or if they have a valid U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution.

    A student is also exempt if they are both (a) studying entirely online without any on-campus instruction, and (b) are living outside of the TransLink service region. If you are living outside of Metro Vancouver for the fall term due to the public health emergency, and your studies are online, then this exemption may apply to you.

    For more information on exemptions, including application forms, click here.

    Please note that if you intend to apply for one of these exemption options, we recommend that you do not request or load your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card through the U-Pass BC website, as this may result in one or more months of the U-Pass BC fee being non-reversible.

    The U-Pass BC program is structured as a universal and mandatory program for students at participating post-secondary institutions, and it is this universal model that makes the affordability of the U-Pass BC program possible. For students who rely on the U-Pass BC program, this means savings of up to $538 on transit passes every single term.

    Certain students are exempt from the U-Pass BC program, including students with disabilities that preclude the use of conventional transit or HandyDART services, students who hold another transit pass for the entire term, or students who have a valid U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution. 

    Students are also exempt if they are both (a) studying entirely online without any on-campus instruction, and (b) are living outside of the TransLink service region. If you are living outside of Metro Vancouver for the fall term due to the public health emergency, and your studies are online, then this exemption may apply to you.

    If you meet any of the above criteria, you are exempt from the U-Pass BC program and can apply for a fee reversal or refund. For more information on exemptions, including application forms, click here.

    Please note that if you intend to apply for one of these exemption options, we recommend that you do not request or load your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card through the U-Pass BC website, as this may result in one or more months of the U-Pass BC fee being non-reversible.

    Students are exempt from the U-Pass BC program if they are both (a) studying entirely online without any on-campus instruction, and (b) are living outside of the TransLink service region. If you are living outside of Metro Vancouver for the fall term due to the public health emergency, and your studies are online, then this exemption may apply to you. However, if you are living within the TransLink service region you are still eligible for the U-Pass BC program, even if all your classes are online. 

    Students are also exempt if they have disabilities that preclude the use of conventional transit or HandyDART services, as well as students who hold another transit pass for the entire term, or students who have a valid U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution. 

    If you meet any of the above criteria, you are exempt from the U-Pass BC program and can apply for a fee-reversal or refund. For more information on exemptions, including application forms, click here.

    Please note that if you intend to apply for one of these exemption options, we recommend that you do not request or load your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card through the U-Pass BC website, as this may result in one or more months of the U-Pass BC fee being non-reversible.

    If you meet the criteria for an exemption, you must complete an exemption application form, which can be found at this link. If your application is accepted, then Capilano University will reverse or refund the applicable U-Pass BC fees.

    Capilano University has always offered a selection of courses and programs that are always delivered in an online format, irrespective of the current public health emergency. Students enrolled in these online classes have always been, and continue to be, exempt from the U-Pass BC program.

    Some Capilano University courses have been moved from in-person course delivery to a remote, adapted format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that some classes that would have ordinarily been delivered in-person at the North Vancouver campus are now being delivered to students remotely. Students enrolled in these classes would ordinarily be eligible for the U-Pass BC program, and will continue to have access to region-wide travel for a low fee while these classes have been temporarily moved to a remote, adapted delivery format.

    The Capilano Students’ Union board of directors recently approved a new CSU U-Pass BC Hardship Fund, which provides a bursary equivalent to 50% of the value of U-Pass BC fees for one term for students with demonstrated financial need. The CSU U-Pass BC Hardship Fund application process can be found here.

    If you are living outside of the TransLink service region for the fall term, and your studies are online, then you may be exempt from the U-Pass BC program. For more information on exemptions, including application forms, click here.

    In terms of determining residency in Metro Vancouver, the following is an exhaustive list of places defined as “in Metro Vancouver” for the purposes of the U-Pass BC program:

    Metro Vancouver

    • Anmore
    • Belcarra
    • Bowen Island
    • Burnaby
    • Coquitlam
    • Delta
    • Langley, City and Township
    • Lions Bay
    • Maple Ridge
    • New Westminster
    • North Vancouver, City and District
    • Pitt Meadows
    • Port Coquitlam
    • Port Moody
    • Richmond
    • Surrey, including Barnston Island
    • Tsawwassen First Nation
    • UBC
    • University Endowment Lands
    • Vancouver
    • West Vancouver
    • White Rock

    For greater certainty, the following are examples of areas not part of Metro Vancouver:

    • Abbotsford (Fraser Valley Regional District)
    • Chilliwack (Fraser Valley Regional District)
    • Mission (Fraser Valley Regional District)
    • Hope (Fraser Valley Regional District)
    • Harrison Hot Springs (Fraser Valley Regional District)
    • Squamish (Squamish-Lillooet Regional District)
    • Whistler (Squamish-Lillooet Regional District)
    • Lillooet (Squamish-Lillooet Regional District)
    • Pemberton (Squamish-Lillooet Regional District)
    • Sechelt (Sunshine Coast Regional District)
    • Gibsons (Sunshine Coast Regional District)