The Referendum has officially passed

Hello Conestoga Students,
As you know, CSI held a referendum between Monday, September 24, and Monday, October 1, for students to decide on the implementation of a U-Pass program at Conestoga College’s Waterloo Region campuses.
We would like to start by thanking each student that took the time to vote in this referendum. After going through the collection of online votes and ballots, we received 3,950 votes in the referendum, approximately 25% of Conestoga’s full-time student population. Of the 3,950 votes, 2,293 were in favour of implementing the U Pass and 1,656 were not in favour of implementing the U Pass. As this vote shows, Conestoga College will be implementing a U-Pass program for its Doon, Cambridge, Waterloo, and Schlegel University Gates campuses.
As a Student Association, CSI strives to represent the best interests of students at Conestoga College. We could not be more impressed with the number of students whom were engaged throughout this process and brought their voices forward in the referendum. This referendum was a long process and we know that this topic was polarizing, and we are proud and happy with the voter turnout and the passionate feedback we received. CSI will continue forward with the implementation of the U-Pass with Conestoga College and Grand River Transit for September 2019.
Again, we would like to thank you for participating and engaging with us throughout this process. If you have any further questions or have feedback on the above, please contact CSI President Aimee Calma at acalma1@conestogac.on.ca or (519) 748-5131 ext. 3579

All the best,

Conestoga Students Incorporated

Background

More and more Conestoga College students are using public transit. Today, more than 3,000 riders destined to Conestoga College use GRT on a typical weekday. Over the last two years, ridership has increased by 65% from 2,000 to over 3,300 riders daily. In response to growing ridership, GRT has increased service to Conestoga College Doon Campus by almost 40% or 125 more bus trips daily to the campus. With the launch of the ION LRT, an additional 125 daily trips are to be provided with the planned extension of the 201 iXpress from Block Line Station to Conestoga College.

With more riders and buses now and in the future travelling to and from the College, GRT and Conestoga College are working together to build a new transit passenger facility in Parking Lot 6 near the “A” wing building. The new transit passenger facility will accommodate nine (9) buses, provide for convenient and safe waiting area for riders, and reduce traffic delays experienced by buses. The new transit passenger facility is expected to be constructed and functional by the Fall of 2019.

How much will it cost?

The proposed price of the Conestoga College U-pass, effective September 2019, would be no more than $137 per semester.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who will receive a U-Pass?

All full time students attending a campus within Waterloo Region (Doon, Cambridge, Waterloo and Schlegel campuses) will receive a u-pass.

What is the U-pass?

The U-pass, short for Universal Transit Pass, is a program that would give all full-time students unlimited access to all Grand River Transit (GRT) services, which include ION bus and light rail transit.

For registered MobilityPLUS users, the U-pass also allows access to MobilityPLUS service. The U-pass provides affordable transportation not only to school, but for other trips such as shopping, employment, entertainment and to connect to out-of-town bus or train stations.

How and where can you use your U-pass?

Your Conestoga College ONE Card would act as your U-pass and can be used on any GRT bus, including BusPLUS service, ION bus and light rail. When boarding a bus, tap your ONE Card on the farebox card reader. Before you board a train, tap your ONE Card on the card reader, located on the ION light rail station platform.

When will the U-pass be available?

The U-pass will become active for all full-time students and full-time co-op students at the start of the fall 2019 term subject to Regional Council approval of the 2019 Regional Budget.

Is the U-pass mandatory for all students, or can I opt out?

The U-pass is mandatory for all full-time students who have paid the compulsory student association fees attending Conestoga College’s Doon, Cambridge, Waterloo and Schlegel campuses. You would not be able to opt-out of the U-pass program. By all students participating, the price of the U-pass is much lower than the current cost of the semester or adult monthly pass.

Are part-time students, faculty and college staff eligible for the U-pass program?

No, only full-time Conestoga College students are eligible for the U-pass program.

What is transit service like for Conestoga College?

Currently, GRT operates Routes 10, 16, 61, 76, 110, 111, 116 and 203 iXpress to the Doon Campus, with Routes 61, 111, and 203 also serving the Cambridge Campus. Conestoga College’s Waterloo Campus is served by a number of routes including Routes 8, 12, 92, and 202 iXpress. College express routes (110, 111 and 116) and iXpress routes (202 and 203) have fewer stops which provide faster trips to campus for students. There are many new improvements this fall and more proposed in 2019 including a new transit station! Visit GRT’s website for more information.
grt.ca/conestoga

How will transit service be improved?

GRT’s planned service improvements are as follows:

When? Service Improvements
Fall 2018
  • Routes 10 and 110 would provide 15-minute service all-day on weekdays, year-round (except Christmas).
    • During these times, Route 10 would have a new branch providing service to student apartments on Old Carriage Drive
  • Added Route 10 trips during the late evening on Saturdays and the morning and evening on Sundays
  • New evening service on Route 16
January 2019
(ION-related bus route changes)
  • Extension of the 201 iXpress to Doon Campus, connecting to ION at Block Line Station
    • Would replace Route 116 with more frequent (10-15 minute) all-day express service, year-round
    • New iXpress stop amenities along Manitou and Homer Watson
  • New weekend service on Route 16, with an extension to Uptown Waterloo and ION
Fall 2019
(U-Pass)
  • More frequent weekday peak service on 201 iXpress from Block Line Station to the Doon Campus
  • Provide 15-minute peak service on Route 16 to the Doon Campus
  • Provide new 30-minute midday service on Route 76
  • Extend evening service on Route 61 until midnight, and increase midday frequency in the Spring to 30 minutes
  • Provide 30-minute, all-day service on a redesigned route from Galt to the Cambridge and Doon Campuses
  • Provide new 30-minute midday service on 203 iXpress, and provide service in the Spring
  • TBD additional service improvements for Waterloo Campus

These improvements would mean more frequent routes running longer hours, and direct connections with ION light rail stations, providing more travel options. Bus stop improvements would also be made.

GRT staff are also working with the College on a new transit passenger facility at the Doon Campus, that would be able to accommodate the increased volume of passengers and buses resulting from the U-pass program. This new terminal would allow for more direct routings and provide new amenities for riders.

More information on service improvements at Conestoga College can be found at GRT’s website
grt.ca/conestoga

Can I use my U-pass in summer months?

The Conestoga College U-pass is an annual pass so you can use it when you’re not in school.

What are the benefits of the U-pass Program to students?

The U-pass has a number benefits:

  • Universal access to affordable transportation for all full time students for the year.
  • Access to school, shopping, entertainment, employment and to out-of-town transit services such as GO Transit and Via Rail.
  • Less expensive than purchasing a transit pass each semester.
  • Less expensive than operating a car and paying for parking.
  • More freedom of choice when selecting housing locations.
  • Alternative option in bad weather for those who walk or cycle.
  • Reduces student parking demand.
  • Simple to use.

What is the proposed price of the U-pass?

The proposed price of the Conestoga College U-pass, effective September 2019, would be no more than $137 per semester. A student would pay $274 annually (two semesters times $137). It is important to note that the U-pass can be used 12 months of the year.

In comparison, the current price of the Conestoga College semester transit pass is $292. On an annual basis, students pay $584 (two semesters times $292). A student who takes transit during summer months would also incur the cost of four adult monthly passes, currently priced at $86.

Therefore, instead of paying approximately $950 annually for transit passes, students would pay only $274 (a saving of 71%) with the U-pass.

The U-pass fee will be included on your tuition statement.

Questions?

CSI’s President would be happy to talk to you about any questions or concerns you have about this topic.