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 (May to August 2022). 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.
  • The U-Pass BC program protects your privacy, more information is available online.
  • 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.

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 $173.40 per academic term or $43.35 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. 

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 $740.80/term or $185.20/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

Deadlines to apply for an exemption

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).

If you’re enrolled in courses for both summer terms (May to August) or for the first term only (May to June), apply for exemption on your May to August U-Pass BC by Friday, May 27, 2022

If you’re enrolled only in Summer Term 2 (July to August), apply for exemption on your July to August U-Pass BC by Monday, July 18, 2022.

  1. Do not pay the U-Pass BC fee in May or July
  2. Do not load the May - August 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 haven’t yet loaded. For example, if you loaded the May 2022 U-Pass BC onto your Compass card, your exemption approval will be for June, July, and August 2022.

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.

If you meet the regular U-Pass exemption criteria, such as not being able to use the U-Pass BC due to a disability, you may apply for an exemption through your Student Service Centre (SSC) by the deadlines listed above. Please also review the information above on “If you plan to apply for an exemption”.

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.

  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 by the deadline at the end of the email.
  4. If you are completing coursework outside the Metro Vancouver area, you must have your Faculty Advisor or Graduate Secretary email upass.exemptions@ubc.ca by Friday, May 27, 2022 to confirm.
  5. Once your exemption application has been processed, we will email you about your exemption status. 

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
  • 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.)

Please Note: 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 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.

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.

If you live outside of Metro Vancouver and are taking classes in the summer (May to August 2022), you may be eligible for an exemption. If you meet this criteria, you must review “If you plan to apply for an exemption” above and apply for an exemption through the Alma Mater Society (AMS) before the applicable deadline.

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. 

Map of Metro Vancouver
Map of Metro Vancouver

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

If you are enrolled in courses for both summer terms (May to August) or for the first term only (May to June), apply for an exemption to your May to August U-Pass by Friday, May 27, 2022.

If you are enrolled in Summer Term 2 only (July to August), apply for an exemption to your July to August U-Pass by Monday, July 18, 2022.

The 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 and how to apply, visit the AMS website.

Deadline to Apply

Applications for financial hardship subsidies must be submitted to the AMS during the following dates:

  1. May 25 to Jun 10, 2022 for both summer terms (May to August) or for first term only (May to June)
  2. July 15 to 29, 2022 for second term only (July to August)

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.

Questions?

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