Taking the bus everywhere is my newest business strategy

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U-Pass on a pedestal
ILLUSTRATION: Jill Baccay / The Peak

By: Gyu Min Jang, SFU Student

If there’s anything I’ve learned during the three weeks I didn’t have classes but couldn’t get my tuition refunded, it’s that undergraduate and graduate students alike are constantly fighting an uphill battle against SFU and their fat wallet. Seriously, tuition fees will only get higher every year, and we still have to deal with the adults at the dinner table arguing over who gets a bigger allowance (that comes out of our broke pockets). It’d be nice to feel like our money is actually going toward our education or, at the very least, to our benefit, but that is a mere pipe dream for the penniless . . . or so I thought.

Among the list of my account activity transactions, one purchase became my only solace in a sea of student debt: the U-Pass. This was my way of exploiting the system. 

It doesn’t matter whether you have a car or if half your classes are online, because the U-Pass is a virus that has spread to all BC students, and chances are you’re infected. $180.40 (and yes, every cent matters) has gone down the drain, and it is my mission to reap what I’ve sown and more. I knew I was in for a ride (well, many, many rides). 

Before entering university, I made every effort to spend as little money as possible on transit. This wasn’t easy, of course, especially without a driver’s license (My 5-month expired learner’s license is the only form of government-issued ID I have on me). This usually meant that I was either a passenger princess in the hands of my parents or friends, or I was walking. If the kilometres were in the double digits, you best know it would be leg day that day. 

I used to have this irrational fear that I would be judged by the passengers or the bus driver if I ever took the bus for a handful of stops. I mean, okay, I could’ve walked that distance in like 10 minutes. People are going to think that I do nothing all day!!! (Too much projection? Okay, sorry). It didn’t help that whenever bus times were delayed, I would just stand there and debate whether today was the day I would get off my ass, especially if I knew I would get to my destination faster by walking. 

But now? I do a little jig as I leave the bus that took me 400m downhill. The power bestowed upon me in the form of a blue plastic card was now the only light at the end of my university tunnel. Seeing that green TransLink screen every time I hop onto my magic carpet, ready to take me anywhere, is my greatest joy. No length is too short for my legs to not be walking. Maybe it’s my frugal mindset, maybe it’s out of spite against SFU taking my money, but using every excuse to ride the bus has become more than just a benefit; it’s my lifestyle. 

People say that life is about the journey, not the destination. And to that, I say my journey will be taken on a TransLink bus, every time.

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