Participating Post-secondary Institutions
U-Pass applies to the following post-secondary institutions:
Main page content begins here
U-Pass programs are a group transit pass purchase that gives students enrolled in participating post-secondary institutions unlimited access to local regular transit as well as regional transit services. Through a partnership of participating transit systems, the pass is offered to students at a participating institution, as a group.
U-Pass is available through the Arc card, which students can use to tap on/off buses and the LRT around the Edmonton region. Arc U-Pass cards are issued by participating post-secondary institutions. NAIT students can use their One Card to tap on/off buses and the LRT.
The following are the U-Pass per semester prices approved by Council for U-Pass agreements currently in place (September 2021 – August 2025) for a 4-month semester:
|Per semester Cost
U-Pass is valid for the following dates:
When using your Arc card, be sure to have your valid student ID with you, as both will be required if you are requested to show proof of payment. There is a $150 fine for fare evasion.
U-Pass does not include charter, special event or contracted services provided by ETS, St. Albert, Strathcona County, Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, Leduc Transit or Beaumont to outlying communities, or specialized paratransit services offered by any of the other municipal transit providers. U-Pass is accepted on Edmonton Transit DATS (Disabled Adult Transit Service) service.
Participation in the U-Pass program is available to any publicly-funded post-secondary institutions in the Edmonton region which have been included by Alberta Learning in their “Six Sector” classification model.
U-Pass provides a group rate that is lower than the amount students would otherwise pay for monthly passes or tickets over the course of a semester, and provides unlimited travel throughout the region.
It is the group purchase approach that makes the lower price of U-Pass possible. While all participants can access the U-Pass on all participating transit systems, the pass is made available to a group irrespective of where individuals may live or their level of transit use. U-Pass programs are funded through mandatory fees paid by all eligible students in each semester they are registered. These fees are then transferred to the local transit authority.
U-Pass programs offer students a way to lower their transportation costs, not only for school but also for unlimited transit use across the region including St. Albert, Strathcona County, Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, Leduc, Beaumont and Edmonton. This means options for housing, work and recreation are no longer restricted by transit costs. Benefits from reduced vehicle use include
NAIT students will have their U-Pass loaded directly onto their valid student ID One Card, so they can tap on/off buses and the LRT. Effective January 1, 2022, all other students must use their Arc card to tap on/off buses. Valid student ID cards were no longer accepted as of January 2022.
U-Pass is one of the products offered by Arc, the Edmonton region's electronic fare payment program. U-Pass is non-transferable, cannot be resold and is subject to inspection by transit operators. The pass is valid for a 4-month semester - a new pass is needed for each semester: September to December, January to April, and May to August for schools that have the Spring/Summer U-pass.
If your school is part of the U-Pass program, check institution websites for dates and locations for pass distribution.
A student referendum is required to implement a U-Pass program. Referenda are typically coordinated by a student governing council, and have typically occurred in spring, at the same time as student government body elections.
Not all post-secondary institutions were involved in the initial three-year U-Pass pilot, however, with participating Councils approving a renewed three-year program, all post-secondary schools under Alberta Education’s Six Sector Model may choose to participate in the U-Pass program. Participation in the program is student-driven and would require majority support in a student referendum. Please contact your student association for further information and to indicate interest.
The U-Pass pass program is made available to an entire student group irrespective of where individuals may live or their level of transit use. It is this group purchase that makes the lower price of the U-Pass possible and therefore there are very limited opt-out situations.
Registered students not enrolled in a credit course on a campus within the participating municipalities are not charged the U-Pass fee.
The following students may apply to opt-out of their U-Pass fee assessment:
Students who may opt-out of U-Pass under the above criteria will still be assessed their U-Pass fee unless they apply to opt-out of the program, and should contact their students’ association for further information.
Typically, student groups initiate U-Pass projects, either through campus interest groups or under the direction of their student councils or associations. An evaluation is then completed in cooperation with the transit provider(s);
Once students approve the U-Pass fee structure in a referendum, a formal agreement is signed between the local transit authorities and the post-secondary institution's students’ union/association, or the institution's administration. These agreements confirm the terms and conditions, including length of the program, eligibility, pricing and administrative procedures.
The University of Alberta, MacEwan University and NorQuest College offer a Spring/Summer U-Pass from May - August.
If you are unable to find or use your Arc U-Pass card, contact your school and follow their steps for deactivating your pass, and reassigning it to a new Arc U-Pass card. Until you are able to obtain your new card, pay the proper fare to use the bus. Students must always have their valid U-Pass with them when riding transit as proof of payment.
Students can show their Arc U-Pass card as proof of payment on any bus that does not have a validator or if the validator is not operating. If the validators are present and operating, the student is required to tap on/off.