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Via Rail, Greyhound prices soar. Photo: CC, Dan Via Flickr.

Give every student a fair shot at tickets

While some may have been hoping that the school simply forgot, the University of Ottawa finally posted the official schedule for final exams. This is generally a time when students excitedly book bus or train tickets home.

Unfortunately, Carleton University beat us to it by posting their exam schedule weeks ago, and in turn their students might have already purchased their tickets. Consequently, prices for both Via Rail and Greyhound tickets have the potential to increase significantly, leaving many U of O students struggling to find an affordable way home.

How can there be such a time discrepancy between two major universities in the same city? Is the administration in one simply more efficient than the other?

It’s obviously not possible for every university in the province to complete and submit their final examination schedule at exactly the same time, but efforts should be made to ensure that general deadlines are respected for the sake of students and their wallets. These are people, after all, who pay considerable sums of money to attend prestigious universities.

The burden of increased prices does not fall on professors or administration staff who earn a decent wage, but on potentially cash-strapped students who have been separated from their families and friends for god knows how many months.

In other provinces, universities post final exam schedules at the start of February without the room numbers. In any case, most students don’t care which room they will be sitting in when they finally ace or fail a course. This seems like an easy enough task for those in administration to arrange, while worrying about room placement at a later date. As soon as classes have officially started, someone should be making sure that a final timetable is in the works.

Another possible solution would be for the University of Ottawa to form an ad-hoc committee to set up meetings between the administrators of both major universities (and possibly others in the area) and student representatives to find a workable compromise. If approximate dates can be agreed upon early in the semester, students in both universities could benefit.

At the end of the day, students need a fair shot at getting tickets back home, Carleton students being given a two-week advantage isn’t right. The U of O and Carleton should come together and coordinate when they’ll be posting exam schedules, for the good of the students.