U-Pass BC/ Compass Card

Learn about the U-Pass BC Program at UBC. U-Pass BC gives students unlimited access to TransLink services, including bus routes, Skytrains, and the SeaBus.

Group of people boarding a bus at UBC Exchange

Loading Your U-Pass BC

You can now load your U-Pass BC through the U-Pass BC Portal.

Access U-Pass BC Portal

If you’re having difficulty loading your U-Pass BC, make sure your UBCcard (UBC ID) has not expired and that your card is valid for the full term (September to December 2023). Expired student cards must be renewed.

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.
  • 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.
  • The U-Pass BC program protects your privacy, more information is available online.

About the U-Pass BC Program

What is the U-Pass BC 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 $180.40 per term for the Winter academic term or $45.10 per month for Summer (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.

Loading your September U-Pass

You are eligible for the September to December 2023 U-Pass BC program, and your student account has been assessed the U-Pass fee for 2023/24 Winter Term 1. You can now load your September 2023 U-Pass through the U-Pass BC portal. If you meet the requirements to get an exemption from the U-Pass program, read about possible exemptions below and decide which is best for your situation.

Students Eligible for a U-Pass BC

Students at UBC's Vancouver campus, Vancouver School of Theology, St. Mark’s/Corpus Christi, Regent College, and UBC Okanagan enrolled in the Cross Campus Registration program are eligible if they are:

  • Registered in full-time or part-time studies with a minimum of three credits, or assessed tuition fees of more than $757.80/term or $189.45/month.
  • Fee-paying members of the AMS.

Students Not Eligible for a U-Pass BC

Students are not eligible if they are:

  • Taking exclusively distance learning or web-based courses AND are not assessed AMS fees (NOTE: in person courses delivered online as web oriented courses due to COVID-19 are NOT considered distance learning)

  • An outgoing exchange student

For each month that you are eligible for a U-Pass BC you will need to make a request online to link your U-Pass BC 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.

Compass Cards can be purchased for $6 from TransLink’s FareDealers. 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 BC onto your 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. TransLink has created a videos and a guide on how to use your Compass Card. Visit the Compass Card website for more information.

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

Exemptions, Subsidies, & Refunds

Please review the information below on exemptions, subsidies, and refunds which may apply to you.

Overview of Deadlines

Regular U-Pass BC Exemptions: Monday, September 18, 2023
AMS U-Pass Exemptions: Monday, September 25, 2023
AMS Hardship Subsidy: Friday, September 1, 2023 to Monday, October 9, 2023

  1. Do not pay the U-Pass BC fee in September to December 2023
  2. Do not load the September to December 2023 U-Pass BC onto your Compass card.

If you pay the U-Pass BC fee before you are approved for an exemption, your payment will remain on your tuition account as a credit for 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 September 2023 U-Pass onto your Compass card on or after Wednesday, August 16, 2023 your exemption approval will be for October, November, and December 2023.

The UBC regular U-Pass Exemption is separate from the AMS U-Pass exemption—please choose which one you are eligible to apply for based on the provided criteria.

Applications for exemptions do not guarantee approval. There is a limit on the applications approved for each exemption category. Apply for an exemption as soon as possible.

Winter Term 2 (January to April), applications for exemptions on your January to April U-Pass will be open last week of December 2023.

Exemption Criteria

Students who are being assessed U-Pass BC fees, and who meet one of the following criteria, may apply for an exemption:

  • You hold a valid U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution within Metro Vancouver.
  • You hold another valid non-transferable transit pass which is valid for each month of the duration of the U-Pass BC Term (e.g. transit employee subsidiary pass). Please provide a photocopy of the front and back of the pass by the exemption deadline.
  • You are unable to use the U-Pass BC for reasons of a disability (see Medical Exemptions tab)
  • You do not live in Metro Vancouver AND do not take classes offered by UBC, VST, St. Mark’s or Regent delivered within Metro Vancouver. (See map of municipalities which are within Metro Vancouver.)

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.

Courses Without Scheduled Classes

Many courses do not have scheduled classes (e.g. graduate thesis, directed studies, honour’s research projects) and are designated in the registration system as on-campus courses. Exemptions are available only for these types of courses being completed outside Metro Vancouver. Please provide a letter or an email from your Faculty Supervisor by the exemption deadline.

Graduate Students Outside of Metro Vancouver

Graduate students applying for an exemption require a letter or an email from their Faculty Advisor/Secretary which confirms that they are completing their work outside Metro Vancouver.

Deadline to Apply

The deadline to apply for an regular U-Pass BC Exemption is Monday, September 18, 2023. The exemption application deadline is the same as the withdrawal date without W standing for your courses (approximately 2 weeks after the start of your classes). 

To apply for an exemption:

  1. Log into your Student Service Centre (SSC)
  2. Select “U-Pass Exemption” under Financial Summary
  3. Complete and submit the U-Pass BC exemption form Monday, September 18, 2023.
  4. If you are completing coursework, co-op, or practicum outside the Metro Vancouver area, you must have your Faculty Advisor, Graduate Secretary, or Co-op Coordinator must email upass.exemptions@ubc.ca by  Monday, September 18, 2023 to confirm.
  5. Once your exemption application has been processed, we will email you about your exemption status. 

Apply Now

If you are planning to apply for an exemption, please review the "Important: If you plan to apply for an exemption" tab above.

If you have a physical or psychological condition that has been diagnosed by a qualified medical professional and prevents you from using public transit, you must register with the Centre for Accessibility. You will be required to provide medical documentation supporting your claim.

Each term the Centre for Accessibility provides the U-Pass BC office with a list of registered students and those students are eligible to receive the U-Pass BC exemption. Please do not forward any personal medical documentation to the U-Pass BC office.

Exemption Criteria

Students who are being assessed U-Pass BC fees, and who meet one of the following criteria, may apply for an exemption:

  • You live outside of Metro Vancouver, AND all the classes you’re taking are online (not in-person) on the Vancouver campus for 2023 Winter Session Term 1 (September to December 2023).
  • You are a co-op or practicum student who is living outside of Metro Vancouver while on placement.

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. 

Co-op Students: Please note that co-op students are recognized as full-time students. As a result, if you are residing in Metro Vancouver (see definition above) during your co-op term, you will be assessed and expected to pay the fee. If you are residing outside of Metro Vancouver during your co-op term, you are eligible to apply for an exemption.

Deadline to Apply

The deadline to apply for an exemption through the AMS is Monday, September 25, 2023.

Apply Now

If you are planning to apply for an exemption, please review the "Important: If you plan to apply for an exemption" tab above.

For questions about the AMS U-Pass Exemption, please email prasscom@ams.ubc.ca.

The Alma Mater Society (AMS) administers a fund to subsidize the cost of the U-Pass BC for those students experiencing financial hardship or exceptional circumstances which are not considered eligible for an ‘exemption’. Full and partial subsidies are available. If you’re studying and living in Metro Vancouver and experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for hardship subsidies through the AMS.

To learn more about eligibility criteria, visit the AMS website.

Deadline to Apply

Applications for the AMS Financial Hardship Subsidies are due Friday, September 1, 2023 and Monday, October 9, 2023.

Apply Now

For questions about the AMS Financial Hardship Subsidy, please email fundsandgrants@ams.ubc.ca.

Students who have completed their program mid-way through the term are not entitled to full U-Pass BC privileges for the remainder of the term and will receive a partial U-Pass BC refund.


Campus and Community Planning is not able to assist students with any technical difficulties related to U-Pass BC/Compass Card. Please refer to the links below for assistance.

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

U-Pass BC website

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

AMS Helpdesk

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

Enrolment Services