OC Transpo, Algonquin College and Algonquin Students’ Association officials signed a Universal Transit Pass (U-Pass) Agreement today. Algonquin College is the fourth local post-secondary institution to adopt the U-Pass, which will make Ottawa’s U-Pass program one of the largest and most successful in Canada with 71,000 participants.

“We are proud to work with our college and university students to make transit more affordable and convenient,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Through the U-Pass program and investments like light rail transit, student transit will continue to improve in the years ahead.”

Starting this September, approximately 16,000 eligible students at Algonquin will pay an incidental fee of $192.70 per semester for a U-Pass, compared with $403 (regular routes) or $497 (regular and express) for four months of adult transit passes.

“We’re pleased to welcome Algonquin students to the U-Pass program, offering huge savings for existing riders,” said Ottawa Transit Commission Chair, Councillor Stephen Blais. “Transit is the convenient, environmentally sustainable way for students to commute, and we hope the U-Pass will attract even more Algonquin students to let OC Transpo do the driving.”

Algonquin College will be well-served by the Stage 2 light rail transit project, with a stop at Baseline Station. From there, students and other west-end residents will be able to get on the O-Train Confederation Line to travel downtown or as far east as Place d’Orléans. The Stage 2 project includes 30 kilometres of rail and 19 new stations, and will link Ottawa’s three largest post-secondary institutions by rail.

“Our first priority at Algonquin College is student success,” said Algonquin College President Cheryl Jensen. “Providing safe and reliable transportation for our students will enable them to travel to the campus and around the city — one less concern during a busy term. Progressive cities and post-secondary institutions know how important this is.”

“I would like to thank Algonquin students for making their voices heard and for being patient during this process,” said Algonquin Students’ Association President Christina Miller. “Thanks to your support, U-Pass is finally here!”

Eligible students at Carleton University, the University of Ottawa and St. Paul University already have U-Passes that are active for the fall and spring semesters. In total, this fall, 71,000 local college and university students will receive a U-Pass as part of their incidental student fees.