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Private colleges barred from reduced transit fares

A program to give Toronto students discounted bus passes will exclude students from private career colleges

Not every Toronto student will be able to take advantage of new discounted bus passes. The Toronto Transit Commission is introducing student passes for $99 per month, compared to regular adult passes that cost $121. However, students attending one of Toronto’s private career colleges will be ineligible for the discounted rate. That’s “unfair” and “discriminatory” says John Nunziata of the Ontario Association of Career Colleges. He estimates that there are between 10,000 and 15,000 students attending a career college like Medix School or Herzing College in the Greater Toronto Area.

Nunziata says that the majority of students attending a private college are low income adults who are, in many cases, unemployed. “These are some of the neediest of the post-secondary students, some are on UI (unemployment insurance), others are participating in government-sponsored career programs,” he told the Toronto Star.

TTC chair Adam Giambrone did not rule out permitting students from private colleges from benefiting from the program in the future, but says the sheer number of private colleges raises budgetary red flags. He also pointed out that unlike students in approved programs, many students attending private colleges only attend for a couple weeks at a time. “The problem is you have hundreds of institutions across Toronto. If you were to allow all of them, it is a huge budget impact. Without a detailed review (of each and every one), it would be very expensive,” he told the Star.

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