U-Pass FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


What is U-Pass BC?

Since 2003, UBC students have had access to a universal transit pass providing unlimited use of buses, Skytrain and SeaBus transportation services across Metro Vancouver.  Since September 2011, a new partnership between the Provincial government and TransLink has made one common U-Pass program available to all public post-secondary schools across Metro Vancouver.  This new program is called U-Pass BC.

What are the benefits of U-Pass BC?

The U-Pass BC program continues to provide all eligible members of UBC’s Alma Mater Society (AMS) with lower transit fares across all zones–including unlimited use of buses, SkyTrain and seabuses within Metro Vancouver. Discounted fares on the Westcoast Express are also available.

Is U-Pass BC mandatory?

Yes, the program is mandatory. The success of the program relies on a bulk purchase so that students pay only $36.75 per month which is a significant discount in comparison to the retail price $180 for a three-zone pass. Ninety-six per cent of students who voted in the February 2013 AMS Referendum overwhelmingly elected to participate in the new program at the cost of $36.75/per month.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible to participate in U-Pass BC if (1) you are a full-time or part-time student at UBC and you are assessed AMS student fees and either (2) you are registered in a minimum of three credits or (3) paying at least $720 in tuition fees. For a full list of eligibility criteria and exemptions, please see U-Pass BC Eligibility, Exemptions and Subsidies.

Can I get an exemption?

You can apply for exemptions under specific circumstances, including if you have a disability that prevents you from using public transit. In addition, there are a small number of students who are automatically exempt from the program. You can submit an exemption application by logging into the Student Service Centre

For more information on eligibility, exemptions and subsidies please see U-Pass BC Eligibility, Exemptions and Subsidies.

How long is my U-Pass valid for?

Passes are valid on a monthly basis and expire at the end of every month. Students who are eligible for U-Pass BC can pick up their U-Pass each month at the Carding Office at The UBC Bookstore or at Robson Square.

What if my pass is damaged or defective?

Damaged and defective passes are available for replacement from the the Clerk at the UBC Carding Office located inside UBC Bookstore or at the front desk at Robson Square. If your pass is damaged, you can get a replacement for a fee of $12.50, when you turn in your damaged pass. Note that the damaged pass must be identifiable as a UBC U-Pass and the month issued and the passes’ serial number must still be legible.

If your pass is defective at no fault of your own, you can get a replacement pass free of charge; you must hand in your defective pass in order to get a new one.

Why can’t I park on the street near UBC?

Help us respect our neighbours and reduce traffic to UBC by leaving your car at home. It is illegal and you are subject to ticketing and/or being towed at your own expense. For more information, refer to Bylaw No. 2849.

What if my pass is lost?

Effective September 1, 2012

Replacement Passes for the U-Pass BC program are limited by contract.  As fraudulent replacement of passes could jeopardize the future of this program, it is important students understand their responsibilities regarding lost or stolen transit passes.  The AMS and UBC have developed the following replacement policy to ensure replacement passes are made available in a fair and responsible manner.

Monthly replacement caps have been established to ensure the integrity and continuity of the program.

Students must fill out a Lost/Stolen U-Pass BC Declaration report and take it to UBC Campus Security at 2133 East Mall.

Replacement cards now cost $40, and will be issued at the UBC Carding Office subject to availability.

Students will be allowed to have maximum one replacement pass per term

Have questions? upass.info@ubc.ca

What if I withdraw from my courses?

If you have picked up a pass which is not yet valid, then you are legally required to return the pass to UBC. See U-Pass Return Form for details. If you have picked up a pass for the current month, you will not be entitled to a refund for that month and you can use the pass until it expires. Note - you will not be eligible for a pass for the remainder of the term.

Conditions of Use

The U-Pass BC may only be used by the student to whom the pass was issued and who possesses valid student identification. Student name must be filled in for Pass to be valid.

The U-Pass BC and valid student identification must remain in the possession of the user at all times while on board transit vehicles and in fare paid zones, and must both be produced for inspection on request of operator or other official of TransLink, its subsidiaries or operating companies.

Valid for travel, for the month shown, in and across all zones and at all times on South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink) service region buses, SeaBus and SkyTrain and for discounted fares on West Coast Express.

Use of this Pass is subject to the terms and conditions of the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink) Transit Tariff. Contravention may result in confiscation of this Pass and/or prosecution. VOID IF LAMINATED OR ALTERED.

This Pass is non-transferable. This Pass is the property of TransLink and must be returned to TransLink upon request. If found please return to TransLink Lost Property – Stadium SkyTrain Station 604.682.7887

For more information on the U-Pass BC Program, please contact your school or visitwww.translink.ca


Getting Your Pass

How do I receive my U-Pass?

UBC will distribute monthly passes from the 16th of every month.The Carding Office at The UBC Bookstore, the Main Reception Lobby at Robson Square and the Main Floor at the Student Union Building SUB have been outfitted with high-speed vending machines that will speed up on-site distribution. Swipe your UBCcard at the machine which will confirm eligibility and then issue your pass.

How will you efficiently distribute 40,000 passes each month?

We have installed high-speed vending machines to make distribution as efficient as possible. Passes will be available starting on the 16th of each month. Students are encouraged to pick up their passes as early as possible.

What are the opening hours at The UBC Bookstore, Robson Square and the Student Union Building?

The UBC Bookstore is open six days a week, Monday – Saturday. Hours of operation will be extended during peak seasons at the start of fall and spring terms. Robson Square is open seven days a week, Monday – Friday 7:30am – 10:00pm and Saturday and Sunday 7:30am – 5:00pm.The Student Union Building is open seven days a week from 7am until midnight.

Why can’t you mail it to me?

At TransLink’s request, the new program conditions have strict limitations on pass replacement, and provide no resolution for passes reported lost in the mail. The risk to students is too high for us to distribute passes in the mail.

When can I get the next pass?

From the 16th onwards, students will be able to pick up passes for the following month. For example, machines will begin distributing passes for September 2014 from August 16 onwards.

How long do I have to pick up my pass?

You have until the 15th of every month to pick up your pass from the vending machines. Starting on the 16th of each month, machines will begin dispensing passes for the following month.  After the 16th, passes for the current month will be available from staff at the Carding Office desk or the information desk at Robson Square.


Costs and Payment

Why is the U-Pass going up in cost?

Effective May 1, 2014, the cost the U-Pass BC program has increased to $147/term ($36.75/month). UBC students approved a three-step price increase in a referendum held January 2013.  While the cost has gone up, it remains a significant discount when compared to the retail price of $180/month for a three zone travel pass.

How much will U-Pass BC cost me?

The U-Pass program costs $147 per term ($36.75 per month).

If I don’t pick up my pass, am I still charged?

Yes, the U-Pass program is mandatory. If you are eligible, and have not secured an exemption, you will be charged the U-Pass fee whether or not you pick up your U-Pass.

When do I pay for my U-Pass BC card?

The U-Pass charges are included in your student fees. For Winter Terms 1 and 2, you will be assessed the U-Pass BC fee at the beginning of each term and will be charged for all 4 months of U-Pass at once. For the summer term only, you will be assessed and charged the U-Pass fee on a monthly basis and are only eligible for U-Pass BC in each month that you meet eligibility requirements. For example, if you are taking courses and meet eligibility requirements in May and June, you are only eligible to receive a U-Pass for May and June and will not receive a U-Pass for July and August.

What if I owe tuition or am on financial hold?

Effective September 23, 2011 – through an agreement with TransLink and the Ministry of Transportation, UBC is now able to issue U-Passes to students on financial hold, who are paying tuition in installments.  Students who have fees owing from prior academic years will be prevented from claiming their U-Pass until the fees owing have been paid. For more information on tuition deadlines click here.

I tried to get my pass, but the machine wouldn’t give it to me

You will not be issued a U-Pass if you have outstanding fees from a prior academic year on your student account, if your UBC Card is expired or demagnetized, if you are not already registered in courses for the Term, or if you are not eligible. For more information on eligibility requirements, please see U-Pass BC Eligibility, Exemptions and Subsidies. You can pay your outstanding fees online through the Student Services Centre. The vending machines will not issue U-Passes BC if your UBC card has been demagnetized or has been replaced with a newer card. New UBCcards are available at the Carding Office in the UBC Bookstore

What happens if I complete all my program requirements in the middle of the term? Am I still eligible for U-Pass BC?

You will no longer be eligible for U-Pass BC in the month following when you complete your course requirements. You will get a refund for the month(s) that you are no longer eligible for U-Pass BC, provided you have not picked up a pass for those months.


Using Your U-Pass

When can I start using my U-Pass?

Your pass is valid from the beginning of the month, regardless of when you pick up your pass. You cannot use your pass before the beginning of the month in which it is valid.

Why doesn’t the pass have a photo on it?

TransLink makes all decisions about the type of fare media they will issue and accept. Your U-Pass BC card is personalized once you sign the back of your pass (required upon receipt). You are also required to carry your valid student ID with you at all times when your pass is in use.

Doesn’t the new program lend itself to fraud?

TransLink has designed the new U-Pass BC card with built-in security features to help minimize fraudulent use of the pass. The new U-Pass BC card cannot be replicated or duplicated and can only be used by the eligible student it was issued to. You must sign the back of your card upon receipt. Your U-Pass BC is ONLY valid when presented with valid student ID.

What if I forget my pass/student ID?

You must always carry your UBCcard with your U-Pass BC. The U-Pass BC card is valid only when signed and presented with valid student ID. If you forget your pass or your student ID, then you are required to pay the appropriate transit fare and you may be subject to fines and/or loss of U-Pass BC privileges.

What if I lose my U-Pass?

You are limited to one replacement pass per term at a cost of $40.
See above for updates to our replacement policy, effective September 1, 2012:http://www.upass.ubc.ca/upassbc-faq/#lost

What if I lose my student ID?

Lost or Stolen UBCcards must be reported immediately. UBC departments (including the Bookstore, Library, Food Services, Housing, Athletics and others) assume no responsibility for fraudulent use of your UBCcard before the Lost or Stolen Card Notification Form is submitted and processed by the UBC Carding Office. You can report your lost or stolen UBC Cards online. UBCcards can be replaced for a $25 fee (subject to change without notice). It is important to replace lost Student ID cards as these are required for valid use of your U-Pass and a UBCcard that is not reported lost could be used to claim your U-Pass.

Can I loan a pass to a friend?

Passes are non-transferable so you may NOT loan your pass to anyone.

If I’m not able to use my pass, can I sell it to another person?

The U-Pass BC card is not transferable. Lending or selling your U-Pass BC card to another person, or attempting to use another person’s U-Pass BC card, is an offence. Students need to carry additional photo I.D. to verify your identity and that you are currently registered as a student at an enrolled U-Pass BC institution.