My favorite part of returning to the school year? Not the new classes or books (ugh, I certainly do not miss book store line ups for the first week). It was always the new U-Pass I would receive in the mail a couple weeks prior to the semester starting. I always dreaded the summer because I’d have to shell out for my own bus pass or tickets. I’d sometimes make the resolution to try to walk everywhere possible and thereby save on bus fare, of course me being perpetually late I’d still rely on the buses to get me places. Not only that, but it’s just not feasible to believe you’d be walking everywhere when your friends and family are spread out across the city.
Cut to me running to the bus without a pass or a faresaver booklet of tickets (that requires planning you see, another of my weak traits). More than once I’d be asking friends for spare loonies or toonies, scrounging through my change for quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies to make up the bus fare. You’d be surprised how many bus drivers would not let you on “just this time.” I’m only asking for a short ride, I pay every other time! Even on the skytrain where up until this year, I had only been checked twice in my life. It’s particularly unnerving when you see others let on loads of people or the undesired crazies who make threats to people on the bus.
But I digress… back to the topic at hand, U-Pass.
I’ve expressed my sadness for graduating from University and losing my U-Pass privileges in the past. That little piece of plastic saved a lot of money each year. Don’t believe me? Check my awesome little comparison chart (math all done by yours truly, I have an Arts degree, so don’t blame me if the figures don’t match up):
Cost of regular bus pass for the school year*: $648 ($81/month)
Cost of the UBC U-Pass: $190 (23.75/month)
Cost of the SFU U-Pass: $208.72 ($26.09/month)
Cost of the Langara/Capilano U-Pass: $240 ($30/month)
*school year = 8months (Sept-April), prices care of Wikipedia
It almost makes it worth it to pay the high tuition fees and book prices for those kinds of savings!
Or not. But I have to admit I get a little jealous this time of year when I see students whipping out their colourful passes. They’re headed to higher learning, whereas I’m going to work in a job that really isn’t fulfilling. Woe is me? Maybe not, because while they have cool passes, they also get exams, papers, assignments and the task of writing reference lists.