U-Pass BC/ Compass Card

Learn about the U-Pass BC Program at UBC.

Notice: Students’ access to TransLink’s U-Pass BC account currently remains unavailable due to an unexpected shut down of the IT system.

January 2021 Update

Eligible students who used their U-Pass BC in January 2021 will automatically receive a U-Pass BC for February 2021. If you are a new student or have an issue please call Compass at 604-398-2042.

You may be eligible for a U-Pass BC exemption or financial subsidy. If you meet the criteria below, make sure to apply to the proper websites. Some exemption forms are only available through your Student Service Centre (SSC) and some are only available through the AMS website.

COVID-19 U-Pass BC Exemptions

Exemption for students living outside of Metro Vancouver*

If you live outside of Metro Vancouver and are taking classes in Winter Term 2 (Jan – Apr 2021), you may be eligible for an exemption. If you fit this criteria, you must apply for an exemption through the Alma Mater Society (AMS) by January 29, 2021 and review “If you plan to apply for an exemption” further down this webpage.

Map of areas included in Metro Vancouver
Areas included in the Metro Vancouver region

*Metro Vancouver includes the following regions: Anmore, Belcarra, Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley (City and Township), Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver (City and District), Pitt Meadows Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey (including Barnston Island), Tsawwassen First Nation, UBC, University Endowment Lands, Vancouver, West Vancouver, White Rock.  

Financial hardships subsidy form

If you’re studying and living within Metro Vancouver and experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for hardship subsidies through the AMS. Applications for financial hardship subsidies must be submitted to the AMS between January 1 and February 5, 2021

Regular U-Pass BC exemptions

If you meet the regular U-Pass BC exemption criteria such as not being able to use the U-Pass BC due to a disability, or you are immunocompromised, or living with a family member who is immunocompromised, you may apply for an exemption through your Student Service Centre (SSC) account. The deadline to apply for an exemption is January 22, 2021. Please also review the information below on “If you plan to apply for an exemption”.

Please do not apply for an exemption if you use the transit system of Metro Vancouver or if you do not meet the U-Pass BC exemption criteria.

To apply for an exemption through your SSC:

  1. Log in to your Student Service Centre (SSC)
  2. Select “U-Pass Exemption” under Financial Summary. 
  3. Fill out and submit the U-Pass BC exemption form by January 22, 2021.
  4. If you are completing course work outside the Metro Vancouver area, you must have your Faculty Advisor or Graduate Secretary email upass.exemptions@ubc.ca by January 22, 2021 to confirm that.
  5. Once your exemption application has been processed, we will email you about your exemption status. 

If you plan to apply for an exemption

  • Do not pay the U-Pass BC fee in January
  • Do not load the January U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card

If you’ve paid the U-Pass BC fee before you are approved for an exemption, your payment will remain on your tuition account as a credit toward future terms.

If you’ve already loaded the U-Pass BC onto your Compass card, you will only be exempt for the months you have not yet loaded. For example, if you loaded the January 2021 U-Pass BC onto your Compass card on or after December 16, your exemption approval will be for February, March, and April 2021.  

Questions?

For general U-Pass BC information, please visit the U-Pass BC website.

For general questions about exemptions due to COVID-19, please visit the AMS Helpdesk.   

If you have specific questions about U-Pass fees that are not related to COVID-19, contact Enrolment Services.

For all other program details, including eligibility and non COVID-related exemption criteria, see the Eligibility and Exemptions page.

What is the U-Pass Program?

Transportation graphic

The U-Pass BC program provides students with universal, accessible and affordable access to public transit across the Metro Vancouver Region. 

The U-Pass BC Program is offered to UBC students through a partnership between the Province of BC and TransLink and under agreements in place between TransLink, UBC and the AMS.  UBC students pay for this pass through mandatory student fees collected by UBC.  Read more below and in the U-Pass FAQ.  

The U-Pass BC program costs $170 per academic term or $42.50 per month (subject to change) and is mandatory for all members of UBC's Alma Mater Society (AMS), excluding students who are enrolled in strictly distance education courses.  The cost is included as part of your AMS student fees.  Students voted in a referendum to keep the U-Pass program and in 2019, 95% of students elected to participate in the U-Pass program. 

Getting a Compass Card

Compass Cards can be purchased for $6 from TransLink’s FareDealers (including the Access Desk and cashiers at the UBC Bookstore). For a list of TransLink’s retailers, please refer to their website

If you’re already using an adult-class Compass Card as a retail customer, you can load the U-Pass onto your card.

Requesting Your Monthly U-Pass Benefit

For each month that you are eligible for a U-Pass you will need to make a request online to link your U-Pass and Compass Card.  You can make the request anytime on or after the 16th of each month to ensure you can ride transit the following month. Set yourself a reminder - on your phone, in your diary.  You can complete the request using a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.

Steps to request your monthly pass:

  1. Visit upassbc.translink.ca
  2. Select UBC as your Post-Secondary Institution
  3. Enter your CWL login and password when redirected to UBC
  4. Link your Compass Card if prompted, request your U-Pass BC benefit
  5. Allow up to 24 hours for activation

It can take up to 24 hours for your U-Pass BC to load on to your Compass Card. Be sure to log in and request your benefit well in advance of the start to each month. Don’t get stuck without a transit pass.

Using Your Compass Card

Riding transit with your Compass Card is easy: tap in when entering a bus or tap in and tap out when you are entering and leaving a Skytrain station through a fare gate. Card readers are located at all SkyTrain, Canada Line, and SeaBus fare gates, near bus doors, and at the entry and exit points to West Coast Express stations.

Your Compass Card must be tapped in to be considered a valid proof of payment.

Important Information

  • Your Compass-U-Pass BC is not transferable. You must also carry a valid student ID (your UBC student ID card must be valid for the full term) with you at all times when riding transit.
     
  • The U-Pass BC program protects your privacy, more information is available online.
     
  • TransLink has created a videos and a guide on how to use your Compass Card. Visit the Compass Card website for more information.
     
  • You will not be eligible for a U-Pass BC benefit if your UBC student card is expired (check the expiry date on the back of your card). Expired cards can be replaced at ubccard.ubc.ca.

Other Questions?

Campus and Community Planning is not able to assist students with any technical difficulties related to U-Pass/Compass Card.

For questions related to subsidies and COVID-related exemptions, please visit https://www.ams.ubc.ca/student-services/u-pass/

For other questions regarding U-Pass fee assessments, please contact an Enrolment Service Advisor at 604-822-9836
(business hours are 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, except Tuesday 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)

Or email an Enrolment Service Advisor through the Ask Me form:

Email via the Ask Me form