U-Pass BC Benefit
What are the benefits of U-Pass BC?
The U-Pass BC program provides all eligible members of UBC’s Alma Mater Society (AMS) with lower transit fares across all zones–including unlimited use of bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus services within Metro Vancouver. Most students at UBC-affiliated colleges are eligible for the program. Discounted fares on the West Coast 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 UBC students pay only $43.35 per month which is a significant discount in comparison to the retail price $177 for a monthly three-zone pass. Students who voted in the 2019 AMS Referendum overwhelmingly elected to participate in the new program.
Who is eligible for U-Pass BC?
Students are eligible to participate in U-Pass BC if:
- You are a full-time or part-time student at UBC and you are assessed AMS student fees and either
- You are registered in a minimum of three credits per term, or
- You pay at least $708.00 in tuition fees per term.
For a full list of eligibility criteria and exemptions, please see U-Pass Eligibility and Exemptions.
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 portal.
For more information on eligibility, exemptions and subsidies please see U-Pass Eligibility and Exemptions.
What if I withdraw from my courses or complete my program requirements early?
If you have requested your U-Pass BC benefit online for the current month, you will not be entitled to a refund and you can use your Compass Card until it expires at the end of the month. If you withdraw from your courses you will not be eligible for the U-Pass BC benefit for the remainder of the term.
What are the conditions of use?
The U-Pass BC benefit may only be used by the student registered to the online account, and who possesses valid student identification that matches the ID used to request the U-Pass BC benefit. If you are taking classes at two different institutions, you must carry and produce the ID for the institution whose U-Pass BC program you have linked to your Compass Card.
Your U-Pass BC is only valid for travel in the month requested - in and across all zones and at all times on TransLink service region buses, SeaBus and SkyTrain and for discounted fares on West Coast Express.
Use of this benefit 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.
Getting a Compass Card & Linking Your U-Pass
How do I get a Compass Card?
Compass Cards can be purchased for $6 from the UBC Access Desk, the UBC Bookstore, or from TransLink retailers.
If you have acquired, or are already using, an adult-class Compass Card as a retail customer, you can load the U-Pass onto the card you already own.
How do I link my U-Pass BC to a Compass Card?
As part of the Compass Card program at UBC, U-Pass BC benefits are linked to the Compass Card.
The first time you go online to request your monthly U-Pass BC benefit you will need to link it to a Compass Card by doing the following:
- Visit upassbc.translink.ca
- Select UBC as your Post-Secondary Institution
- Enter your CWL login and password when redirected to UBC
- Request your U-Pass BC benefit
- Allow up to 24 hours for activation
If you are not able to load your U-Pass, please double check that your UBC student ID card is not expired. The expiry date can be found on the back of the card.
Always make sure to request your next month's benefit well in advance. It can take up to 24 hours to activate your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card, and this request must be processed before you are eligible to ride transit.
I am an affiliate student. How do I get a Campus Wide Login (CWL)?
In order for affiliate college students (VST, Regent, St. Mark’s, Corpus Christi) to access U-Pass benefits, and obtain a Compass Card, you will need a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL).
Getting a CWL is easy:
Step 1: Find your UBC Student Number (on the front of your UBCcard)
Step 2: Visit http://www.cwl.ubc.ca
Step 3: Create a CWL
Step 4: Follow the prompts and select “Affiliate” from the list of CWL options
Step 5: Enter your information
When do I request my U-Pass BC benefit?
Students can request their U-Pass BC every month that they are eligible on or after the 16th to ride transit in the following month (i.e. request on or after September 16th for travel in October). Benefit requests can be made up until the final day of the month in which you are traveling (i.e. you can request your September pass up until September 30th for travel in September).
How long is my U-Pass BC valid for?
Your benefit is valid on a monthly basis and expires on the last day of each month.
In order to prevent fraudulent use of the U-Pass BC benefit, students must request their pass at upassbc.translink.ca on or after 16th of the month to ride transit in the following month.
What if my U-Pass doesn’t work, and I need to get to school?
You must always have student ID and a valid U-Pass enabled Compass Card when riding on transit. If your U-Pass stops working for any reason, you must either resolve the issue before riding transit, or pay the required cash fare to use TransLink’s system. If you ride transit without proof of payment then you may be subject to fines and/or loss of U-Pass BC privileges.
We encourage all students to request their benefit well in advance of the start of each upcoming month. This will allow plenty of time to resolve any issues before the pass is active. Passes for next month can be requested as of the 16th of the current month.
Using Your Compass Card Linked to Your U-Pass
When can I start using the Compass Card linked to my U-Pass BC?
Once your U-Pass BC benefit has been linked to a Compass Card, it is valid for a one-month period, from the first to last day of the month regardless of when you link it online.
You will need to request your U-Pass BC benefit each month from the 16th of the month onwards to ride transit in the following month. Students cannot use their benefit before the start of the month in which it is valid.
What if I forget my Compass Card or student ID?
You must always carry your student ID with you whenever you use your U-Pass BC. If you forget then you are required to pay the appropriate transit fare. If you ride transit without proof of payment then you may be subject to fines and/or loss of U-Pass BC privileges.
Can I loan my Compass Card to a friend?
Your U-Pass BC benefit is non-transferable so you may NOT loan your U-Pass BC-enabled Compass Card to anyone. If you have several Compass Cards in a household, consider using a permanent marker or a sticker to indicate which Compass Card has been loaded with a U-Pass BC.
If I’m not able to use my U-Pass, can I sell it to another person?
The U-Pass BC benefit is not transferable. Lending or selling the Compass Card linked to your U-Pass BC account, or attempting to use another person’s U-Pass BC benefit, is an offence. Students must always carry linked student photo I.D.
When I try to log in at upassbc.translink.ca, the website says I have an 'Inaccessible User Role'.
The most common issue here is that your web-browser is trying to restore an earlier web session. To resolve this, please try the following:
- Restart your browser
- Clear your cache, or
- Try logging in with a new browser
The “Inaccessible User Role” message can also appear when a student has more than one valid CWL. Try logging in with your other CWL to request your U-Pass.
If you continue to see this message and nothing above resolves it, contact IT Services at 604-822-2008 and tell them you are having trouble using your CWL to update your compass card.
I get an Insufficient Funds error message when I tap my Compass Card.
If you are receiving an error message, "Insufficient Funds" after tapping in and out of the Transit reader, please verify if you have a balance owing on your compass card at www.compasscard.ca.
You must settle your unpaid balance through the Compass Card website before your U-Pass benefit will become activated. You may have a negative balance if you are attempting to use your U-pass right after you have loaded your U-Pass benefit. Remember it can take up to 24 hours for activation.
What if I lose the Compass Card linked to my U-Pass BC?
To prevent misuse, you should un-link your compass card as soon as it is lost. This can be done easily through TransLink’s U-Pass BC Website: upassbc.translink.ca
Your U-Pass BC benefit can be easily transferred onto a new Compass Card through TransLink's U-Pass BC Website: upassbc.translink.ca.
Generic adult class Compass Cards can be purchased from the UBC Bookstore or wherever TransLink products are sold. It can take up to 24 hours to activate your U-Pass onto your Compass Card, and must be processed before you are eligible to ride transit.
What if I lose my student ID?
Lost or stolen UBC student ID cards must be reported immediately.
UBC departments (including the Bookstore, Library, Food Services, Housing, Athletics and others) assume no responsibility for fraudulent use of your UBC student card before your card is reported lost or stolen. UBC student cards can be replaced for a $15 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 BC.
I've registered for courses, and I was assessed for the U-Pass fee. Why does the website say I'm not eligible for next month?
Cost and Payment
How much does a U-Pass cost me?
The cost of the U-Pass BC program is included in your student fees. Effective May 01, 2021, the U-Pass fee is $43.35 per month* ($173.40/term).
*In 2019, an AMS referendum was held to seek approval of scheduled fee increases that include an annual U-Pass BC fee increase of up to 2% per year between 2020 and 2025.
If I don’t request my U-Pass, will I still be charged?
Yes, the U-Pass BC program is mandatory. If you are eligible and have not secured an exemption, you will be charged the U-Pass BC fee of $43.35 as part of your student fees, whether or not you request the U-Pass BC Benefit.
When do I pay for my U-Pass?
The U-Pass BC 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 charged for all four months at once.
For the summer terms you will be assessed and charged the U-Pass BC 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 BC for May and June and will not receive a U-Pass BC for July and August.
What if I owe tuition or am on financial hold?
UBC is able to issue U-Pass BC benefits 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 benefit until the fees owing have been paid. Learn more about tuition deadlines here.
For additional information about the Compass Card, please refer to Translink's:
- Video on linking your U-Pass BC and Compass Card
- Guide on how to use your Compass Card
- Ask Compass website
Can't find the answer to your question? Please contact one of our Enrolment Services Advisors at 604-822-9836 or 1-877-272-1422 (in North America). Business hours are Monday - Friday from 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM, except for Tuesdays 10 AM - 4:00 PM.