DCA supports UPass program

The following letter was sent to various city councilors on 8 Feb 2011:

Dear Councilor Deans,

I am writing to you in your capacity as Chair of the Transit Commission to express the Dalhousie Community Association’s (DCA) support for the U-Pass program at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.

The DCA has heard from proponents of the U-Pass and passed a motion to support the continuation of the program at its February 2 meeting. It is our understanding that OC Transpo has estimated the cost of the program to be $3 million in lost fare revenue per year. While the DCA is not in a position to determine the accuracy of the lost fare revenue estimate, it is essential that any calculation of the costs or benefits of the program be broadened to include its effect on traffic congestion.

The U-Pass is currently being used by nearly 50,000 students in Ottawa. It is our understanding that car trips by Carleton University students alone has decreased by over 7000 per day. The effects of this reduction in terms of environmental pollution and road maintenance must be considered in any holistic study of the value of this initiative.

Residents of Ottawa are well aware of the negative effects of traffic congestion and support practical solutions to address this problem over the long term. Programs that encourage mass transit use by youth may be one such solution.

Our Association encourages the Transit Commission to put forward a motion to support the U-Pass program until the real costs or benefits can be determined.