Since I began taking classes at Algonquin College in 2006, I’ve been taking the bus to campus. Up until this year, I’ve been a full-time student riding with a discounted student bus pass. When I switched my course load to part-time this year, I expected to continue using this student pass.Femi makes some interesting points. Do you feel it is fair for part-time students to be ineligible for student discounts on bus passes? Please feel free to post your comments on this issue in the 'comments' section below.
My expectations proved wrong. It turns out part-time students don’t qualify for the student bus pass discount. In fact, part-time students face quite a different challenge when it comes to public transit, something I would soon find out.
As a part-time student, we are required to pay $81—the price of an adult bus pass—instead of the $62.65 price of a student bus pass. With this policy, OC Transpo is not providing service which accurately reflects the part-time student population in Ottawa.
For the close to 36,000 part-time students at Algonquin, many registered for at least one semester, and thousands more at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, there should be a pass which reflects our needs.
Many part-time students, myself included, are registered for at least one semester taking at least one course per week. Just like full-time students, we have made a commitment to go to school in an effort to raise our knowledge in a particular subject area we deem important to our future endeavours and career path. And also like full-time students, we’ve sacrificed some financial gains to pursue this—a sacrifice which is somewhat offset for full-time students with a discounted buss pass fee. So why are part-time students ineligible for this discount?
Anyone interested in writing a guest column on issues surrounding public transit in Ottawa is encouraged to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.