The UniverCity Community Pass, the region's only community transit pass program, has been cancelled.
TransLink announced that the Community Pass program, which costs the residents of UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain $28 per month for a three-zone fare pass, will end as of Dec. 31.
The program began in 2006 and had corporate support from Vancity Financial until 2008, according to TransLink.
"Corporate and other subsidies were key to the program's financial viability and the main reason that subscribers could be offered a monthly rate that was considerably lower than the normal price of a monthly FareCard," said a letter to residents from Cathy McLay, chief financial officer and vice-president of financial and corporate services for TransLink.
The program was unique in the region, an attempt to fill empty buses coming down Burnaby Mountain in the morning and returning to Simon Fraser University in the afternoon, according to TransLink spokesperson Ken Hardie.
When asked if a community pass program might be considered for other parts of the region, he said not at this point in time.
"Right now, it's not in the cards," Hardie said. "There are really no other similar situations where it might be considered."
TransLink was required to give four months' notice before cancelling the program but has given six months instead, Hardie said.
After Van-city stopped subsidizing the program in 2008, TransLink and UniverCity maintained the 2006 rate, according to the letter from TransLink.
The option of increasing the cost of the pass in two stages was also considered, but TransLink's board decided against it due to limited funding.
"In a time when limited funding has made sustaining transit services a challenge, ongoing discounting of the Community Pass cannot be maintained," stated McLay's letter.
UniverCity president Gordon Harris called the program "innovative and groundbreaking."
He considered the program a success, he said, as it got residents using transit.
"In that sense, it has been wildly successful," Harris said, adding about 40 per cent of UniverCity residents take transit on a regular basis, even though only 25 per cent were enrolled in the program.
"We'll go on and do other things," Harris said regarding transit, adding that UniverCity has undertaken many sustainability initiatives over the years.
Residents have until Jan. 15, 2012 to turn in their passes.