Royal Roads student association president Lindsey Poepping kick-started the university’s bid for a U-Pass into gear in March. By August RRU undergrads were in the program.

Driven RRU student leaves a transit legacy

Lindsey Poepping came to Royal Roads University to finish her degree in communications, but managed to leave behind a legacy of affordable transit for students.

Lindsey Poepping came to Royal Roads University to finish her degree in communications, but managed to leave behind a legacy of affordable transit for students.

BC Transit opened its U-Pass program to Royal Roads students in August, barely six months after Poepping made a phone call to transit CEO Manuel Achadinha.

“I called up Manuel and asked what do we need to do to get the U-Pass?” said the 23-year-old president of the RRU Student Association. “I said we’ve got the students, you’ve got the buses. Let’s set something up.”

The student association quickly organized a referendum in the spring asking if students would be willing to fund a U-Pass — 83 per cent gave it a thumbs up. The first undergraduate cohort in August had $250 tacked to their fees for the full year of bus passes. Twelve months of bus passes for post-secondary would normally cost about $900.

“Without Lindsey this wouldn’t have happened. Royal Roads implemented the U-Pass with lightning speed,” Achadinha said during a U-Pass kickoff ceremony last week at RRU. “This is the quickest U-Pass program we’ve ever implemented. That says a lot for this institution.”

The U-Pass at Royal Roads was likely inevitable as it expands undergraduate programs that draw students from other institutions, such as the University of Victoria and Camosun.

Poepping said she was used to having a U-Pass when she attended UVic, a common sentiment from RRU undergrads completing third and fourth year. One student sent in a letter asking for a U-Pass earlier this year, and the ball started rolling from there.

“Most of the undergraduates come from other institutions, and the majority have a U-Pass. Once you have it, it’s hard to give up,” Poepping said. “Once we got that one letter, we we started asking around and hearing a lot more grumbling from students.”

Students got their U-Pass, but RRU isn’t exactly a transit hub. The No. 39 Royal Roads is the only bus that enters the campus and the No. 52 Wishart community bus rolls along Sooke Road.

RRU vice-president Steve Grundy admits it’s a catch-22 — students won’t use a U-Pass without a high level of service, but BC Transit won’t provide service without demand.

On the other hand, the university has to find ways to chip away at 93 per cent of its students accessing the campus via a single occupancy vehicle.

“We need a critical mass of students. The tricky part is about demand and service,” Grundy said. “Fortunately the students went for the U-Pass program. We’re hoping over time BC Transit will improve service for the campus.”

The RRU U-Pass program will benefit a few hundred students now, and will grow as the university expands longer residency programs. Achadinha said BC Transit tracks usage and ridership closely. UVic and Camosun tripled student ridership after bringing in the U-Pass.

“Every institution does the same. It really takes off,” he said. “And from a student point of view, they don’t have to worry about a car. These bus passes really help students financially.”



Just Posted

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

Time-lapse video shows weekend work on McKenzie Interchange project

Construction crews place concrete underpass bridge beams

‘Best in the country’: Formerly homeless man praises Victoria’s outreach services

Jay W. was living on the streets of downtown Victoria in 2018

City of Victoria plans workshop to determine fate of Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Conversations will happen as part of a reconciliation dialogue series in May 2020

Watchdog group says Saanich council needs a ‘reality check’ about taxes

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria warns of eroding housing affordability in Saanich

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Most Read