Student Opinions on Pricey Opus Cards
By Ryan Glive
For students who go to school in the city, and especially for those who live off-island, Opus passes have become necessities in their daily lives. However, many of them believe that the costly price tag for their monthly passes is unfair and that it creates additional stress on their already busy academic and social lives.
Currently, with the reduced rate for students that are 18+, a monthly pass for the STM would cost 52$, or 624$ annually. However, for the students who live in Montreal’s neighboring regions like Laval and the South Shore, those rates become significantly higher.
A Tram zone 3 pass, which is required for those who take RTL and STL transit and go to school in the city, will cost a student that is 18+ 113$ monthly or 1356$ for the year. The cost is even greater for those with the Tram zone 5 pass, for municipalities that are only slightly further away, which grows to 138$ a month or 1656$ annually.
Many part-time students have also voiced their displeasure with how the public transit corporations have regulated part-time student fares. Currently, reduced student rates do not apply to monthly passes for part-time students, meaning that they must pay the regular monthly rate of 86.50$ for the STM, 141$ for Tram zone 3, and 173$ for Tram zone 5.
Samantha De Luca-Baratta, a former full-time and current part-time Arts & Culture student, is one of the many students who have spoken out against the unfair pricing of the monthly passes. “I don’t understand why there is a class requirement for the student Opus card,” she says, “I still need to go to school and to get around just as much as any other full-time student, the only difference is that I am taking one less class, and because of that I have to pay more.”
On the topic of how the transport rates affect the well-being and personal lives of students, she also makes the point that the high rates can create another form of stress in the lives of students who are already dealing with the pressures of academic success, employment, and other kinds of financial stress. “The monthly Opus pass is not the only expense that a student has to pay,” she explains, “I know how much I work, and a difference of thirty dollars for public transit does mean a lot because it forces me to work more.”
She, like so many other Dawson, cégep, and university students, is frustrated and tired of having to pay such a high rate for transportation in order for her to have access to her education.
In an age where taking public transportation is being encouraged more and more, it seems inevitable that the students who rely on the STM, STL, and RTL for transportation every day will begin to fight for reduced rates on their monthly passes.
Many ambassadors of change have already voiced their intentions of fighting for lower rates, while some others have advocated for completely free transportation. Whether or not any of these objectives become a reality depends on the passion of the students that support them.
If you feel inspired to fight for lower transit fares then your voice can and should be heard. The STM website has listed the dates of their ten public forums which are held annually and provide a space for the public to voice their thoughts and opinions on how they want their public transportation system to be. Student voices need to be a part of that conversation.