Transit passes will remain mandatory under the new Student Choice Initiative announced Ontario's Progressive Conservative Party on Twitter this afternoon, meaning that the USC's bus pass is likely safe.
The announcement came from the province's minister of training, colleges and universities, Merrilee Fullerton.
I believe all students should have ready access to college and university campuses. Existing mandatory transit passes will remain so under our Student Choice Initiative. Safety of Ontario students is paramount. @CollegesOntario @ontunivOU @CSA_ON @OUSA @AMOPolicy— Merrilee Fullerton, MPP (@DrFullertonMPP) February 1, 2019
Since the bus pass is a mandatory fee, the University Students' Council will be able to negotiate a lower price through a bulk purchase with the City of London as they have done in the past.
Currently, each student receives a bus pass, which accounts for around $240 of the USC’s ancillary fees per student.
Before the announcement, it was feared that if transit passes were no longer mandatory, the USC's bargaining front would be hamstrung by the potential that they could only offer a fraction of the same foot traffic to the LTC’s busses.
Under the Student Choice Initiative, the PC government will allow students to opt-out of ancillary fees that are deemed “non-essential," threatening many of the services and supports provided by the USC. These will likely include Orientation Week, campus media, the clubs system and The Spoke and the Wave.
The initiative was announced within a larger educational upheaval on Jan. 16, which also saw cuts to tuition and changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program.