News

U of O students will ‘most likely’ see summer pass in 2016, says exec

Different U-pass Programs across Canada.

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) and the Graduate Students Association (GSAÉD) have reopened negotiations with OC Transpo seeking to renew their contract for September 2015 and settle on a deal for a summer U-Pass.

Chris Hynes, vice-president of university affairs of the SFUO, has in both his elected terms promised to secure a summer pass. He said it “most likely” will not be available until the summer of 2016, but added  that he’s confident that they will come to an agreement.

The summer U-Pass was put on hold in April because an audit of the program’s operating procedures was conducted during the spring and summer. The audit went smoothly, said Hynes, but they didn’t receive the final report until August.

OC Transpo did not request to renew the contract until the fall, he added. The two parties have met and have identified which areas they want to engage in.

“OC Transpo is eager to discuss the possibility of a summer U-Pass with the university and student representatives,” said Pat Scrimgeour, assistant general manager of customer systems and planning for the City of Ottawa, in an email to the Fulcrum.

“Experience with the first three years of the U-Pass program indicates that a summer U-Pass could work well,” she said.

Current discussions will hinge upon building on previous successes of the program, remaining revenue neutral, and improving administrative and financial processes, said Scrimgeour. OC Transpo also hopes to adopt “smart card” technology in the future.

Scrimgeour did not comment on any specific details of the negotiations.

The SFUO held three town hall meetings about the U-Pass on Nov. 24–28 to collect student feedback by handing out surveys. The first two failed to get many students to come, but Hynes said the third was much more successful.

Hynes expects talks to continue well into the winter semester.