What is the U-Pass?
The MSVU Students’ Union, in partnership with Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) and Halifax Metro Transit introduced the U-Pass for Mount Saint Vincent University students in the fall of 2007. This decision was reconfirmed in November of 2010 when the students overwhelmingly voted in favor of continuing with the U-PASS program at MSVU in a student referendum.
The University’s agreement with Halifax Metro Transit gives all eligible MSVU students unlimited and affordable access to all Metro Transit Bus (with some limited exclusions and fare conditions), Ferry and Access-A-Bus (for registered users) services from September 1 to April 30.
Because of the nature of the program and in order to make it feasible, it had to be a mandatory program for all full-time students (with a few minimal exceptions). While we recognize that some students may see limited benefit from the program but will still be required to pay the U-PASS fee, it was felt that overall this is an excellent program for the majority of students.
Your U-Pass isn’t just for commuting back and forth to school, it is your passport to Halifax. You can explore everything the Halifax Regional Municipality has to offer – shopping, food and entertainment venues are all a bus ride away!
Who is eligible for the U-Pass?
All graduate and undergraduate students who are registered full-time at MSVU in the term for which the U-Pass is being issued, will receive a U-Pass. Full-time students are students who are enrolled in at least 1.5 units of credit in the term as of the fee payment deadline in each term (fall or winter). Co-op students, Education students who have practica, and students on dietetic internships are also considered as full-time for purposes of the U-Pass.
How much does the U-Pass cost?
For September to April, undergraduate and graduate students who are registered in at least 1.5 units of credit and Co-op students, Education students who have practica, and students on dietetic internships are being assessed $161 for the U-Pass for the academic year.
For the Winter term, students enrolled in at least 1.5 units of credit for the Winter term only, will be assessed half of the annual U-Pass fee.
Students who are assessed for a full-year of U-Pass in the Fall and are not registered for the Winter term or drop below 1.5 units of credit in the Winter term may request a refund of half of the annual fee by following procedures outlined below for refunds.
Save money – At a cost of $161 per academic year (valid from September to April), students save approximately $60 per month over the cost of buying a monthly pass. Taking just one round-trip per week during the academic year would be enough to get your money’s worth!
Car owners save money too – The U-Pass can help reduce your fuel, parking, insurance and maintenance expenses. Plus, you can let someone else worry about the traffic.
Good for the environment – Choosing public transit instead of driving your own car reduces air pollution. One bus can help remove up to 50 cars from the road at any point in time, reducing air pollution by 15 – 20%.
For more information about the U-Pass, check out Halifax Metro Transit’s website.
Will the U-PASS Program be Offered in 2020/FW?
Discussions are still ongoing regarding the status of the U-PASS program at Mount Saint Vincent University for the fall of 2020 and winter of 2021. It is unlikely that the program will be offered for the fall term given the decision to continue with online course delivery. It is still too early to decide whether the program will be delivered for the winter 2021 term. A final decision will be made in the coming weeks and communicated to students.
How does the U-Pass work?
You will receive a U-Pass sticker valid from date of issuance to April 30, 2020 that will provide unlimited use of Halifax Metro Transit services with some exceptions and conditions. U-Passes shall be valid for MetroLink services with payment of the Metrolink fare premium each time MetroLink is used.
The U-Pass acts the same as monthly student passes provided by Halifax Metro Transit:
Show your Student ID Card with your U-PASS sticker on it to the bus driver,
Get on the bus and begin your adventure!
Can someone else use my U-Pass?
No. Your U-Pass is for your use only. It can’t be sold, loaned or transferred to any other student. Bus drivers will be checking the picture on your student ID and looking at the U-PASS sticker to ensure your are validly using it. If U-Pass privileges are misused, Bus drivers are authorized to take your student ID with U-PASS sticker and you will not receive a refund.
If I am completing a co-op term or education practica outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality will I still be charged for the U-Pass?
You will be initially assessed for the U-Pass. However, if you will be outside of the metro area for a co-op term or education practica, simply email Financial Services and return your student ID with U-Pass sticker to them (or delay picking up your U-Pass sticker if on work-term in the fall) and you will be credited $80.50 for the U-Pass for that semester. You must notify Financial Services by the payment deadline in the fall and winter term in order to be eligible for the refund.
MSVU Financial Services
What happens if I am currently registered for a thesis or thesis continuation? Am I eligible for the U-PASS?
Students who are registered for a thesis or thesis continuation can opt into the U-PASS program by contacting Financial Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens if I am registered in all distance courses but I live in Halifax and want the U-PASS?
Students who meet the full-time definition noted above and are registered in all distance courses can opt into the U-PASS program by contacting Financial Services at email@example.com.
What happens if my Student ID card with U-Pass sticker is lost or stolen?
If your Student ID Card and U-Pass are lost or stolen you must report it to Financial Services immediately.
MSVU Financial Services
There will be a $10 replacement fee for the Student ID Card which you will obtain in the library. There will also be a $25 replacement fee for each U-Pass sticker and the University reserves the right to refuse to replace a U-PASS sticker depending on the circumstances. Replacement U-PASS stickers can only be obtained from Financial Services in Evaristus Hall.
Who can request a refund?
The U-Pass fee is mandatory and refunds will only be allowed if:
- You officially withdraw from the University, or change from full-time to part-time status before the academic ADD/DROP date for the term as defined by Mount Saint Vincent University.
- You use the Access-a-Bus system, or have a CNIB pass, and provide proof of registration before the deadline noted below.
- You are taking all your classes at MSVU via distance education.
- You are completing a co-operative education work-term, internship, or practica for the fall or winter term outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality.
- You are participating in an exchange program for the semester and will not be attending classes at MSVU.
If you meet the above criteria and would like to arrange a refund, please contact:
MSVU Financial Services
How do I receive my refund?
To receive your refund, Financial Services has to confirm you are eligible for a refund. You should email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining the basis upon which you are requesting a refund. Once your eligibility is confirmed you must return your student ID with U-Pass sticker to Financial Services to finalize the refund. (A new student ID will be provided if necessary.)
I have applied for a waiver, but my request has not been granted and I don’t understand why.
Waivers will not be granted for the following reasons:
- Distance or location of the student from the University when the student is commuting to the University to take classes
- Time or schedule constraints
- Choosing to drive
- Minimal Usage
Please review ‘Who can request a refund’ for a list of acceptable refund conditions.
What if I live on campus or a couple of blocks away?
The U-Pass isn’t just for commuting to and from class! The U-Pass will allow you to travel all over the Halifax Regional Municipality. You can pick up some new clothes at the mall, visit friends and family or get your groceries home with ease.
Check out: http://www.halifax.ca/transit/schedules/ for a complete list of bus routes and schedules.
What if I live outside the service area for buses?
No problem, just drive to any Park & Ride lot.
Halifax Metro Transit’s Park & Ride lots are located through the Halifax Regional Municipality. They offer free parking and several bus routes at each location so you don’t ever have to worry about parking while you’re at work, school or running errands.
Check out: https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/halifax-transit/park-ride for a complete list of Park & Ride bus routes and schedules.
How do I find out more about the U-Pass program?
For more information about the U-Pass program, please contact:
MSVU Financial Services