Douglas College > Student Services > Essential Resources > U-Pass BC on Compass Card > U-Pass Frequently Asked Questions
U-Pass BC is a universal transit program offered by Douglas College in partnership with the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU), TransLink and the Province of British Columbia. U-Pass BC provides affordable access to public transit in Metro Vancouver for eligible students. A number of post-secondary institutions have joined the program.
Douglas College students have participated in the U-Pass BC program since September 2011. The original agreement was set to expire in the spring of 2013. In January 2013, the DSU held a U-Pass BC referendum to see if students wanted to renew the agreement. Eighty-seven percent of students supported the renewed U-Pass BC agreement.
U-Pass BC provides unlimited, all-zone access to TransLink bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus services, as well as discounts on the West Coast Express.
In addition to providing you with low-cost travel, U-Pass BC encourages you to make transit part of your lifestyle, which helps reduce greenhouse gasses while creating a sustainable transit program.
Rates by month:
May 2015 - April 2016: $38
May 2016 - April 2017: $39.50
May 2017 - December 2019: $41.00
The cost per semester for eligible students varies depending on program length.
After you have registered for your courses, our system will charge your account with the applicable fees for U-Pass BC. All outstanding fees (including U-Pass BC fees) are due by the Fee Payment Deadline each semester. All fees associated with registration for the current term must be paid in full, or a fee deferral submitted, before you can get your U-Pass BC.
Once you link a Compass Card to your U-Pass BC account, you can request your U-Pass BC. You can request your U-Pass BC for the current calendar month anytime. You can request your U-Pass BC for the next calendar month on or after the 16th of the current month. It can take up to 24 hours to process your request.
NOTE: To get your Compass Card, you must have a current student ID card. Your student ID card is issued only if you have paid your fees in full. You can then load your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card.
All students registered in a minimum of three credits and who are paying student union fees are required to participate in the program (regardless of whether you live in or outside of Metro Vancouver).
EFFECTIVE FALL 2017: Students taking Math and English upgrading courses (MATU/ENGU) will be required to participate in the program if they are paying student union fees and they have 12 hours of instructional class time per week or more. This eligibility also applies to domestic students taking ELLA courses.
No. Students who are not eligible (e.g., Continuing Education students) will not be able to opt in to the U-Pass BC program.
No. All eligible students are required to participate. Exemptions will be granted if you hold a transit pass that is valid for the duration of the U-Pass BC term.
You may also be exempt if you have a documented physical or psychological condition that prevents you from using public transit, or if you have already purchased a U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution.
If you fall into one of these categories, you will need to complete an exemption form. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details or call 604 527 5770.
NOTE: The exemption deadline for the Winter 2019 semester is January 16, 2019. The deadline for the Fall Semester has passed. Forms submitted past the deadline will not be processed. (Important: do not request your U-Pass BC on Compass Card if you are submitting a request for exemption.)
Yes, the program is mandatory. The referendum was based on having a mandatory U-Pass BC for all eligible students. A referendum to renew the current agreement was held in September 2015 and students voted to renew the U-Pass BC program to April 2018. The current contract is extended to December 2019.
If you drop your courses and you are no longer U-Pass eligible, you will receive a refund cheque in the mail. The refund amount will be for the current and future months U-Pass BC that have not been requested. If you have requested your U-Pass BC, there is no refund. There is also no refund for prior months U-Pass BC.
U-Pass BC students will use their Compass Card as a flash pass on HandyDART; you are not required to tap in and tap out on HandyDart. If you ride on the conventional system (bus, train, or SeaBus), you will need to tap in and tap out.
Currently, if you travel with an attendant, please ensure you have your HandyCard with you. Your HandyCard provides free travel for your attendant. This applies to both Compass Card customers and people who use traditional fare media. In the future, Access Transit Compass Cards will replace HandyCards. On the conventional system (bus, train, or SeaBus) people who travel with an attendant must tap their Compass Card, or use their traditional fare media, and show their HandyCard to bus operators when boarding.