Students uncertain regarding bus pass refunds

Agreement on the bus strike leaves the score unsettled for students.

By Dan Malone

The city and the transit union have come to an agreement to end the six-week bus strike, but for students, the score remains unsettled.

Students wait at a bus stop on Coburg Road (Dan Malone photo)

As soon as the strike began, Dalhousie announced they would be working with Metro Transit to provide partial refunds, in the form of credits to their student accounts, for students who had purchased U-Passes, an eight-month bus pass for university students.  The St. Mary’s student association made a similar announcement around the same time.

Nearly a week after an agreement was reached, refund details have yet to be released.  As of March 13, there had been no contact between Metro Transit and the St. Mary’s student association. Dalhousie’s U-Pass office could confirm only that refunds would be given, and not the amount, which, in light of the decision to offer free bus service for the remainder of the month of March, might be up for question.

“Allowing everyone to use the transit for the rest of the month for free is a nice compensation,” says Dalhousie student James Pottie, “but us, as students, actually pay for bus passes as part of our tuition, so I think that we should get compensation in some manner.”

Fellow student Sam Bryden agrees.

“That, honestly, would probably for the best,” he says. “As much as it’s neat that the buses are going to be free for March to make up for the strike and all, think of the people who actually had to spend money on this.  They should all be compensated.”

Dalhousie students would be compensated approximately $24 for the duration of the strike, compared to $34 if they were refunded for the entire month of March.  St. Mary’s students would likely get slightly more.

“I don’t think that would be enough,” says Pottie of the $34 refund.  “We spent the whole winter, the bane of winter, not being able to use the buses, and that’s caused a lot of stress on a lot of students, so I think we should get some compensation for those months.  What they’re doing, allowing us to use it for free now, is good, but that’s two months gone, of hellish winter, so I think we need some compensation.”

Related audio
James Pottie interview 

James Pottie discusses U-Pass refunds for students.