Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Incredibly Frustrating

Never have I been so frustrated with people before. I feel as though I have been repeating myself, and now I'm a lovely shade of blue. And I am surprised by the ignorance and stubborness of these people, these people of the same generation as I am.
The topic of course is the U-Pass.
For those of whom don't know what this U-Pass thing is, I will fill you in. So during the month of Feburary and March, the University of Regina introduced a new referendum, to allow for all students to have a bus pass and have the express bus routes continue, and run longer all for the cost of $69 a semester. Students that lived outside of the city were the only people that could opt out. Now for this last year the university had the transit system provide an express route, which are availible in certain area's in the city, such as the north, east and south, that took students directly to the university, in a matter of 15 minutes. The bus routes ran from 6:30am until 9:30am and ran again at 2pm until 6:30pm. This was basically a free "trial". Now the gap from 9:30am to 2pm was inconvenient but what this referendum would do is have these express routes have the full availibilty from 6 to 6.
Students were truely torn by this referendum as people debated its importance. The students on the opposing side didn't understand how it would benefit them as they drove to school, and how an additional $69 was going to "kill" them. This is where I turn that lovely shade of indigo. To begin, the students that truely are the ones "suffering" are the ones who currently take the bus (either that, or they want to reduce their carbon footprint). Those who can afford the luxury of a car, especially with the teetering (upward) gas prices, have some better economic being. This bus pass is also applicable to regular buses, weekdays and weekends, and would lower the cost for us from $69 a semester, over what students regularly pay, which is $48 a month. Aswell the increase in time the express bus routes is splendid as it becomes more convenient and availible allowing for an alternative for those who drive to school. It helps the university lower its carbon footprint, and promotes a greener environment.
Now the downfall: if the referendum is voted down, these express buses will be taken out, and students will have to resort to regular bus routes. What this means is what would normally take anyone (going straight to school) 15 minutes, would be a agonizing hour and thirty minutes. And if this happens, people will resort to driving to school, will have to buy a parking permit (or park somewhere incredibly far otherwise- in risk of a ticket and cold walks in winter), and this allows for more CO2 emissions. I don't want to get a car, I don't want to pay $100+ parking, I don't want to create more polution in our natural environment, but because of the incredible inconvenience, and unavailibity of our ridiculous transit system, I might HAVE to resort to this. And because of peoples closed minded minds, that wont allow for a positive change because there is a small price to it, our transit system will never improve. They're offering changes, changes we've longed to have, and we're just pushing it away because of the majority don't want to "sacrifice" $69, which will go towards junk food, or a pair of jeans.
Look at it this way, I don't ever use the gym, so why should I pay for a $130 gym pass I will never use? Because other students WILL use it and benefit from it. So why are people so opposed to helping one another? Next to go is our universal health care if people so selfishly continue to think this way.


  1. By the way, the referendum voted no to the u-pass. I'm in trouble.
    I forgot to mention how it's also hard for students to carpool because it's not like highschool where everyone began at 8:30 and finished at 3. In university, students classes vary, even if you're in the same faculty, its all due to supply and demand. So I'll have a class at 9:30, my neighbor who also goes to school doesn't have class until noon.

  2. I am applauding you right now. This sums up how I feel about this, too. I am frustrated, disappointed, and fearful.

  3. I totally understand where you are coming from in the environmental aspect of things, as well as your other concerns. But, I guess as a student living in an apartment near the university, walking is my mode of transportation. It is a close walk and no matter how cold it got this winter I still managed. I guess I wouldn't want to be paying for something I wouldn't use. You made a good point about everyone paying for the gym membership. I personally think that we should only pay for the things we use. If someone wants to go to the gym, give the student a promotional discount at the start of the year, say to get people wanting to join at a cheaper rate. Then, those who want one will get one. Same with this bus pass thing, why can't it be seperate, why does it need to be included for every student to pay? Maybe I am naive and don't really understand the full issue, haha, but either way, I didn't vote so my opinion didn't affect anyone!

  4. Well said Alex, I totally relate to your pain. I have a car, but its only because I travel back home. Next year I think I am moving here and I really needed this. For those who voted no to the Upass and still say they are activists for the environment make me wanna vomit.

  5. Alej, Thanks for this post. Before I read this I had no idea what the bus pass thing was even about. Since this is my last semester I never really sought out much information about it but you summed it up really well. I'm sorry it got turned down it sounds like it would have been a great thing for this university. I really wish that I had been given more information sooner, I don't even know what day the voting took place. It may be that i just did not look hard enough for information or take the time to stop and find it out for myself, but i feel like every time there is a referendum at the university I am ill-informed. Is there anyone else who feels that way?

  6. I was originally opposed to the U-Pass, but in a convo with Erika, I started to change my mind. By the time voting came around I was torn between sides so I'm afraid to say I didn't vote. Reading this post and the comments, I wish I had voted YES to the U-Pass... it affects much more than just me. and I would have started researching bus routes that I could take so my $69 wouldn't go to waste. The gym pass analogy was very good. Hopefully a solution comes up soon -- I'll be on your side next time!

    @Jen; everyone says they are ill-informed about lots of things at uni (including me)... URSU stuff, ESS stuff, etc, but really, how else can they get word out than sending emails directing us to where we can find information? It was our choice to not attend the debates about the U-Pass and other referendum issues that URSU emailed us about. Oh well.

  7. Great discussion here. Nice post Alex, thanks for putting yourself out there. I live in the North end and looked at getting a bus pass and using the direct route instead of driving my car everyday and getting a parking pass. The cost did not make sense though as getting a parking pass was around the same cost.

    The U-pass would have been a great thing. I have to say for those people who think that they would not use it so why should they pay for it...that is a very simple way to look at the world. There are many things that we pay for either directly or indirectly that we may never use but it makes others lives better, it protects those who need it, or someday we may need to use it ourselves. Those are some of the same reasons that people don't vote at the municipal, provincial or national elections - either they are ill-informed or they feel it does not affect them.

    Again, great discussion. Maybe this issue and the larger issue of being an informed citizen that exercises their voice is an important one to take to your classrooms in the future. How would you handle this issue or one that is similar in a classroom setting?