755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1
Eric Darwin, President

Mayor Jim Watson

Diane Deans
Chair of the Transit Commission

RE: U-Pass Program

Dear Mayor Watson and Chair Deans,

On behalf of the Dalhousie Community Association (DCA) I am writing to express our support for the Universal Transit Pass (U-Pass) program for post-secondary students at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.

As you are aware, this program is largely responsible for the significant transit ridership increase of the past year. By bringing more youth onto the transit system, the program is helping to build a generation of transit riders. The program has already taken thousands of cars off the road each and every day, resulting in less congestion and decreased demands for new roads and road maintenance. By supporting this program, the City of Ottawa joins the many cities across Canada that have made a long-term investment in U-Pass programs.

It has been brought to the attention of the DCA that the 2012 Draft Budget proposes to increase the U-Pass rate by 24% and that there is contention regarding what a 'revenue neutral' price should be. We would appreciate clarification on how this figure was determined and what plans the City has in place should students reject the U-Pass program. If the program is discontinued, ridership levels will decrease to pre-U-Pass levels, car use will increase, and all residents in Ottawa will be worse off.

We look forward to your reply.

Eric Darwin

cc. Diane Holmes, Councillor