TTC slashes discount passes for part-time students

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By Samantha Sim

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) announced March 1 that it’s eliminating the $99 discounted monthly Metropass for part-time university and college students.

Part-time students will now have to purchase the full-price adult pass for $121 as of Sept. 2011.

Nicole Barrafato, a part-time student, doesn’t see the reason for the TTC’s move.

“I definitely don’t understand the decision,” she said. “Often part-time students are also working part-time, so they can afford school, and are more strapped for cash than full-time students.”

The move is expected to save the TTC $1.4 million annually.

TTC spokesperson Jessica Martin said it was a cost-saving measure.

“Of course it’s not the ideal decision to cut it, but it was a financial hit we could not afford,” she said.

Ryerson Students’ Union President Toby Whitfield said the TTC’s decision was expected.

“In December I was at city hall. At the meeting, councillors alluded they’d be revoking the discounted pass for part-time students,” he said.

Whitfield said the RSU understands that students, full-time and part-time, have to worry about many costs.

“[We know] students don’t only have to juggle things like rent and food costs, they also have to deal with money for textbooks and school fees,” he said.

Second-year nursing student Shamhad Abdi said there should be no difference made between part-time and full-time students.

“I don’t think it’s fair. There shouldn’t be a differentiation,” she said. “You could be taking fewer classes but coming in the same number of days as full-time [students].”

Whitfield said the RSU will continue to ensure the $99 Metropass is offered to full-time students. He said part-time students can still purchase the $107 transferable pass through the RSU.

Annie Hyder, VP Student Rights for Continuing Education Students at Ryerson (CESAR), is a part-time public administration student.

“Our students are constituents, with different needs,” she said. “We want recognition by institutions [like the TTC] that we are students.”

Photo by: Chelsea Pottage

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