UMSU prepares for possible transit shortage

While transit workers have insisted they are not looking to start a back-to-school strike, UMSU is preparing for anything.

U-Passes are available now, and UMSU president Jakob Sanderson recommends students pick them up as usual. While U-Passes can not be reimbursed in full as per the contract UMSU has with the city, the contract also recommends reimbursement for transit stoppages lasting more than five days.

“So basically what would happen is you pay for the full U-Pass, say that there’s a 20-day strike or lockout, we would figure out what portion of your U-Pass fee is that 20 days, and everyone would be eligible to get a refund on that 20 days,” he said.

While the contract only refers to possible stoppage as a “strike,” Sanderson said students should feel confident the reimbursement will happen even in the case of a lockout.

UMSU released a statement advising students on what to do in the case of a stoppage. It recommends students look into carpooling services.

“We are very limited in terms of what we can do, both us and the university, for transportation,” Sanderson said.

“The expectation from university administration is that there might be upwards of 10,000 additional cars on the road coming to the University of Manitoba.”

UMCycle will be hosting group bike rides from downtown should the strike last into mid-September, and UMSU hopes to have a free bike valet service set up in time.

“We make no promises to students [that] this is going to be able to account for all of the issues they’re going to be facing by transit, and frankly, it would probably be impossible to do that.”

A possible excused absence policy for students missing or late to classes because of transit stoppages is in its beginning stages.

“We’ve been in discussions already with administration about this, we’re going to continue to be, and so we’d like to see a proactive policy laid out,” Sanderson said.

Sanderson could not confirm a set date when the policy would be ready to put into action, but said the union’s goal is to have it in place before any transit stoppage occurs.

According to Sanderson, there are approximately 17,000 daily U-Pass users.