To Sell or Not to Sell; the Cost of Bus Passes at UofG

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Written by Caroline Elworthy

We’ve all had the moment of panic before. Frantically searching pockets, backpack and coat- retracing the past 10 steps but the truth is inevitable. You’ve lost your bus pass.

The CSA and the GSA have a 21-year-old agreement with the Guelph Transit to create a subsidized student plan  which grants all full time and part time students at U of G unlimited access to Guelph Transit and a late night bus service. This fee is implemented within the student fee’s at U of G, and therefore is a compulsory charge for all students, regardless of if they take the bus or not.

The normal adult fare that most University aged citizens would  pay to Guelph Transit each month if this agreement was not in affect, is $75.00 a month. For a four-month term, the cost of riding the bus would result in $300.00 to get  through the semester. With the CSA’s subsidization and partnership with Guelph Transit, students are able to receive unlimited access to transit at a rate of $105.10 for a four-month term.

Although Guelph students enjoy an enourmous discount for the cost of transportation, our neighbours at Laurier Brantford pay a rate or $45.59 for a single term, while Laurier Waterloo pays $72.73 per semester. Students at University of Waterloo pay a similar rate of $72.23 per semester for a transit system which has busses running every ten minutes down major routes.

The bus pass fee is not included within tuition fee’s and instead is charged within the students fee’s. Unlike dental plans, there is no option to opt out of the bus pass fee as students voted in the past to include it as part of a mandatory fee, and therefore making it more affordable for all involved.  

The Cannon- Guelph’s beloved online source for networking, selling and re-selling recently had a case of a transaction between two students in the re-selling of a CSA substituted bus pass sticker.

As every student is obligated to pay the $105.10 per semester, those who do not take Guelph transit and instead commute to school might find themselves looking for a way to put their bus passes use. For those commuters who pay everyday for gas, a GoTransit and Greyhound bus, trying to gain a buck for their unused bus stickers does seem like a logical idea. However, this simple transcation affects more parties than one might expect.

The recent re-selling of a bus-pass sticker has prompted staff at TheCannon.ca to consider if such activity should be allowed on TheCannon.ca.

Brittany Skelton is the CSA’s Local Affairs Commissioner, and primarily responsible for any activity concerning the agreement which the CSA has with Guelph Transit. Skelton is the “go-to” person for anything involving local affairs, and therefore was immediately involved within this situation.

“Students cannot re-sell their bus pass stickers because it violates our contract with Guelph Transit which strictly forbids bus pass sticker re-selling. This can then jeopardize our contract with Guelph Transit that benefits over 20,000 undergraduates” says Skelton.

In an attempt to keep the cost of transportation low and affordable for all students, the CSA has prohibited any student to opt out of their bus pass fee which also extends to re-selling the sticker for personal gain.

Each semester, students pay a total of $105.10 for an unlimited bus pass and late night bus services which run on the busy weekends. The late night service provides a shuttle service of six buses leaving the downtown core throughout the weekend to ensure students get home safely and affordably. Out of these six busses, the city pays for three of them, while the CSA and student fee’s absorb the remaining cost needed to maintain this service.

Yet the fee for riding the Guelph Transit has increased incrementally for students in the past four years. Bus pass fee’s in Fall of 2012 were set at $89.95 for unlimited transit and $7.65 for the late night service. This past Winter of 2015, fees were set at $97.17 for unlimited transit and $7.93 for a late night service fee.

“We are currently on a 4 year pre-determined price increase schedule that was negotiated during the last round of reviews of our contract. The contract is next up for negotiation in 2016, and as always we will advocate to keep the cost of the pass as low as possible to ensure all students can access the service” says Skelton.


Although the price to replace a lost bus sticker may seem steep at first, Skelton explains how the replacement fee is pro-rated, meaning that the price of a new sticker goes down the further the semester progresses. In January, the cost to replace is at the full price of $97.17. In Feburay the cost lowers to $78.17 and in March is lowered to $48.17.


“Overall, it’s unfortunate but students cannot re-sell their bus pass stickers because it violates our contract with Guelph Transit which strictly forbids bus pass sticker re-sale” Skelton concludes. 

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