It’s something that students have been lobbying for and, this summer, it comes to fruition.
Together with Metro Transit, Dalhousie will be launching a pilot summer UPass program in Halifax. From May until August, all Halifax Dalhousie students who pay full-time fees specific to the summer term will receive a UPass, good for unlimited use of Metro Transit busses and ferries for the duration of the summer.
The UPass fee will be the same as the fall and winter terms: $72.50, a savings of $207.50 versus buying monthly passes at the student rate.
Dalhousie will be the first university in Nova Scotia to pilot a summer UPass program. Last year, the university had more than 3,000 students studying full time during the summer months.
Learn more: U-Pass website
Meeting student demand
The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) has been lobbying for a summer UPass since 2010, based on overwhelming interest from students.
"The DSU is happy to be working with the university and having them respond directly, and promptly to our advocacy for the summer bus pass,” says DSU President Sagar Jha. “This will not only mean that our off campus students will have an easier time getting to and from campus, but also it may encourage students to explore the greater Halifax community. We are thrilled the university will be providing the UPass over the summer, which will also allow students to commute throughout our community safely and effectively.”
Bonnie Neuman, vice-president Student Services, credits the DSU’s efforts, as well as those of the Dalhousie Association of Graduate Students (DAGS), with helping make the summer UPass possible.
“They convinced us that there was a real need for this option as increasing numbers of students are attending Dal 12 months of the year: graduate students, international students, science students working in research labs for the summer, co-op students — they all can benefit from this,” she says. “We are grateful that HRM was also supportive and willing to negotiate an appropriate price.”
Once Metro Transit confirmed its willingness to offer a summer UPass under the same terms and conditions as the regular UPass, the proposal went before the Operations Committee of Dal’s Board of Governors and then the full Board, which approved it in November.
How it works
Because the summer term is a somewhat different beast than the fall/winter — multiple start dates, different fee due dates, and hundreds of open learning classes — the summer has a few differences than the regular UPass.
Like in the fall and winter terms, students are eligible for the UPass if they are registered as full-time students, which in the summer means taking three or more half-credit courses. However, the UPass fee will be applied if, at any point between May and August, students reach full-time status and full-time fees are incurred.
That means, for example, that if a student starts the summer registered for only two courses and then adds a third later in the summer, he or she would then be considered a full-time student, be charged the full UPass fee and gain access to the UPass for the remainder of the summer. Put another way: if a student wants to acquire the summer UPass, or expects to become a full-time student at some point during the summer term, it’s in his or her best interest to register for classes early to get maximum benefit out of the UPass.
Some programs require students to be on campus during parts of the summer but pay tuition at other times of the year. If you’re a full-time grad student, doing a co-op placement, or a clinical placement that’s a required part of your program, you can opt-in to the summer UPass with proof of study or placement from your departmental supervisor.
Two final notes: the summer UPass is specific to Dalhousie students and, for the pilot, does not apply to King’s students. Finally, Metro Transit’s summer routes are different than in the fall/winter, which means that the two Dalhousie-specific routes (41 - Dartmouth/Dalhousie and 42 - Lacewood/Dalhousie) will not be in operation.
Summer course registration opens on Monday, February 17.
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