Both Algoma University and Sault College have recently indicated that they would be interested in a pilot program where all of the students could have access to Transit as part of their student fees.
The Universal Pass program already exists in places such as Halifax, Sudbury and Guelph to name a few. From research and contact with Sudbury Transit they fully recommend this approach and are looking at expanding their program further.
Council discussed this during their meeting on Monday, with some discussion from Councillors Christian, Gardi and Vezeau-Allen in regards to how success of the program will be measured and if students will be able to opt out of this fee.
Councillor Christian expressed a concern about possible road adjustments. Brent Lamming, Director of Community Services for the city, assured him that no road adjustments will be made, as this partnership is between the two schools and City Transit.
Lamming said the success of the project will be measured on a number of factors, such as increase in ridership from students that may not be using transit right now, overall ridership in general, and the specific routes that service those routes to Sault College and Algoma U.
Councillor Gardi asked if this option was available to the Catholic and Public school boards, to which Lamming said that, depending on the results from this pilot, that may eventually be an option.
Gardi also asked about offering discounted rates during events – such as hockey games or concerts – as a way to increase ridership, like they do in some communities in Southern Ontario. Lamming said there’s been no specific discussion on this as of yet, but is something they could look into in the future.
There is no word yet on whether students will be able to opt out of this possible addition to their fees.