GSA bus referendum passes

On Monday, the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) voted in a referendum regarding changes to the Grand River Transit bus pass.

Both questions posed in the referendum passed, with 62 per cent of those who turned out to vote agreeing to a new three-semester pass.

As of May 2010, members of the GSA at Wilfrid Laurier University will now have year-round access to GRT services as opposed to the previous two-semester passes they had before.

This makes the alternatively proposed five per cent increase to their two month passes no longer applicable.

“It’s great because graduate students of course are registered for 12 months, or at least most programs are, so formerly in the summer they had to start paying individually,” said GSA president Melany Banks.

“This really helps out those students who are still here and who are still using it.”

The referendum was open to full-time graduate students and saw an 18 per cent turnout by those who were eligible.

Voting was made accessible to students through online voting as well as at a polling held on Jan. 18 in the GSA office and at the faculty of social work campus in Kitchener.

“[Voting] is probably higher [than expected]…. It’s above our 10 per cent cut off so that’s important; 18 per cent is good,” said Banks.

Despite the higher than usual turnout, the vote was close, separated by less than 40 votes.

There were no “yes” and “no” campaigns during the time before the referendum, meaning that students did not take the opportunity to debate about the questions posed.

Regardless, Banks believes that students were informed of the vote and interested in the issue, as seen by the turnout.

The new three-semester bus pass will not have an opt out option for students who do not require the bus services as per the agreement with GRT, functioning just as the undergraduate pass works.

Question 1:

– Grand River Transit has proposed a 5% + CPI1 ($3.02) increase to the graduate U-PASS fee of $42.62 per semester from September 1, 2010 to August 31, 2011. If accepted, the new fee will be $45.64

– “Do you support the proposed increase to the graduate U-PASS fee? Yes or No”

Question 2:

– Grand River Transit has proposed a new 3-semester (12-month) graduate U-PASS program, to replace the current 2-semester (8-month) program, beginning in May 1, 2010. The 3-semester program cost will be as follows:
May 1-August 31, 2010: $42.62
September 1, 2010-August 31, 2011: $52.94/semester.

– “Do you support the proposed 3-semester graduate U-PASS program? Yes or No.”

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