Bylaws and Policies

Political Policy Public Transit

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Public Transit and Active Transportation

Expires: April 30, 2023

1 Facts

A. Public Transit

  1. Public transit is a common and sustainable mode of transportation used by University of Alberta students that benefits the quality of life of all members in the community.
  2. The U-Pass is to be implemented in the academic years consistent with the referendum conditions.
    1. For the majority of students, the U-Pass is a mandatory fee with very specific restrictions. Many students who see no need to take transit have to pay this fee regardless.
  3. Public transit expansion would allow improved access for University of Alberta students to commute within the service area.
    1. According to the 2018 Students’ Union Annual Survey Report, “hundreds or even thousands of students in far-flung neighbourhoods spend more than two hours a day commuting to and from U of A by public transit.” (p. 59)
    2. Many students who attend the University of Alberta live in the broader Edmonton Capital Region, and would be better serviced by an expanded inter-municipal transit system.
  4. Smartfare technology, used in cities such as Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, would reduce the possibility for U-pass fraud and reduce the need for a U-Pass replacement fee and make the transit system more efficient.
    1. This technology is being piloted in Edmonton.
  5. Students who are employed by the University are not eligible for employee transit benefits. That leaves student employees who are not enrolled in a class for the spring/summer semester without a more affordable option than the adult bus pass.
    1. As of 2019, the cost for a monthly transit pass is $97, while the cost for a four month transit U- Pass is $148.
    2. Many out-of-city students who attend the University of Alberta during the Fall and Winter remain in Edmonton during the Spring and Summer and face much higher costs to access transit.
  6. Students often feel unsafe using public transit.
    1. Riders deserve public transit that is safe, accessible, and frequent.
  7. When checked for proof of payment on transit, students who have forgotten their U-Pass may often be penalized financially in ways that add unexpected financial burden.
    1. Fines for fare evasion in Edmonton cost $250, and tend to be disproportionately punitive when compared to fines for speeding[1].
    2. Indigenous people and People of Colour in Edmonton tend to be disproportionately fined for fare evasion, when compared to non-Indigenous and non-minority riders[2].
  8. While the City of Edmonton offers reduced bus fares with the Ride Transit Program, recently graduated students may find themselves above the established Low Income Cut-Off while still needing financial assistance in paying for passes.
    1. For students in the lowest income bracket, a Ride Transit Program subsidized pass will cost less than a U-Pass.
  9. Over the last few years, the idea of Fare-Free Public Transit has become increasingly discussed in Edmonton.
    1. Over the last few years, large cities around the world have turned to fare-free models of Transit.
    2. Calgary’s C-Train offers fare-free transit in its downtown core.
    3. In Edmonton, issues relating to large costs in transit, including fines, year-round access, and affordability would be resolved if the city implemented fare-free public transit.

B. Active Transportation

  1. Scramble crosswalks enhance walkability, increase pedestrian safety and allow for the prioritization of pedestrians.
  2. Edmonton’s bicycle lanes have led to an increase in rider safety and a rise in cyclists around the city.
  3. Bicycle infrastructure on campus, including bike equipment and security, is not always properly maintained, increasing fear of bike theft on campus. This deters students who would otherwise bike to campus.

2 Resolutions

A. Public Transit

  1. The Studentsʼ Union advocates that the regional municipalities and transit services carefully monitor service demand arising from U-pass implementation, consider input from stakeholders and commit all resources necessary to maintain reliable, safe and timely service.
    1. The Students’ Union will support the development of the Capital Region Intermunicipal Transit Network.
  2. The Students’ Union will advocate for universal Fare-Free Public Transit in Edmonton and the Capital Region.
    1. The Students’ Union will oppose any increases to fare costs in Edmonton and the Capital Region.
    2. The Students’ Union will work to centralize Fare-Free Public Transit as a main piece of advocacy from the Edmonton Students Alliance.
    3. While the Students’ Union supports Fare-Free Public Transit as the ultimate solution for public transport in Edmonton, it will still advocate for more fair costs and standards in the interim.
  3. The Studentsʼ Union negotiates a new, long-term U-Pass contract to be implemented upon the expiry of the current contract.
  4. The Students’ Union advocates for the integration of Smartfare technology into the ONECard system.
  5. The Studentsʼ Union advocates that the regional municipalities and transit services expand their current service systems, prioritizing the implementation of Smartfare technology, to better meet the needs of the University of Alberta students.
    1. The Students’ Union advocates for an expanded public transit system that includes, but is not limited to, more frequent routes, expanded routes, and optimized routes that reach all parts of Edmonton, including suburban and rural areas.
    2. The Students’ Union supports the creation of express transit lines between main commuter hubs and campus, to be operated during peak transit hours.
  6. The Students’ Union advocates to and works with the University and relevant stakeholders to ensure that students employed by the University, but not currently enrolled in classes, be provided with a more affordable alternative than the adult bus pass.
  7. The Students’ Union will advocate for lower costs for transit passes in the Spring and Summer for students who cannot access a U-Pass.
    1. The Students’ Union will advocate for the expansion of the U-Pass to students enrolled in Spring and Summer experiential learning opportunities either on- or off-campus.
  8. The Students’ Union will advocate for decreased fines for fare evasion, as well as improved anti-bias initiatives for public transit employees and peace officers.
  9. The Students’ Union will advocate for the City of Edmonton to address the discrepancy between the cost of U-Pass and the lowest tier of the Ride Transit subsidized transit pass.
    1. The Students’ Union will advocate for the expansion of the Ride Transit Program to a higher Low Income Cut-Off.

B. Active Transportation

  1. The Students’ Union will advocate for the installation of Scramble Crosswalks where 87 Avenue intersects with 114 Street and 112 Street.
  2. The Students’ Union will advocate for the installation of bicycle lanes throughout campus.
  3. The Students’ Union will advocate for the increased maintenance, lighting, and security of bicycle lock spaces.
    1. The Students’ Union will call for the communication of stronger bicycle security from the University administration.