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Canadian college student flies 2 hours to class to avoid paying rent: ‘Same as taking a bus’

He is putting the “commute” in commuter school.

Tim Chen, an economics student in his final year at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, flies nearly 2 hours from his home in Calgary to school and back because the off-campus housing prices were too much for him.

“I thought, why don’t I just stay at Calgary and then just fly here, it’s like a one-hour flight, that’s like the same as taking a bus,” Chen told CTV News.

Chen only has two classes on campus per week and called the unusual transportation method “Super-commuting,” according to a Reddit post.

Tim Chen, an economics student in his final year at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, flies nearly 2 hours from his home in Calgary to school and back because the off-campus housing prices were too much for him. CTV-News/YouTube
Tim Chen, an economics student in his final year at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, flies nearly 2 hours from his home in Calgary to school and back because the off-campus housing prices were too much for him. CTV-News/YouTube

He solely used Air Canada to complete his extravagant commute and completed 7 round trips in January.

Chen didn’t always make the extreme commute to school each week.

He previously rented a place in Vancouver but stopped when he found the rent increased when he returned from vacation last fall.

“When I checked the house price I thought, oh shoot, there was a big increase!” he told the outlet. “I need to pay like $2,500 for the rent, so I don’t feel like it’s viable.”

A nonstop, round-trip flight from Calgary to Vancouver costs roughly $111.

Chen previously rented a place in Vancouver but stopped when he found the rent increased when he returned from vacation last fall. CTV-News/YouTube
Chen previously rented a place in Vancouver but stopped when he found the rent increased when he returned from vacation last fall. CTV-News/YouTube
Chen only has two classes on the Vancouver campus per week and called the unusual transportation method “Super-commuting,” according to a Reddit post. Shutterstock
Chen only has two classes on the Vancouver campus per week and called the unusual transportation method “Super-commuting,” according to a Reddit post. Shutterstock

With Chen only needing to commute to school twice a week, he will spend approximately $890 a month while still living at his parents’ house in Calgary.

A one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, the country’s most expensive city to live in, will put a renter down $1,550 a month.

Chen claims he is saving money through his unconventional commute.

“I’ve got three hours of class in total, after the class, I go back to the bus and go back to the airport!” Chen added.

With Chen only needing to commute to school twice a week, he will spend approximately $890 a month while still living at his parents’ house in Calgary. CTV-News/YouTube
With Chen only needing to commute to school twice a week, he will spend approximately $890 a month while still living at his parents’ house in Calgary. CTV-News/YouTube
Chen says he solely used Air Canada to complete his extravagant commute and completed 7 round trips in January. AP
Chen says he solely used Air Canada to complete his extravagant commute and completed 7 round trips in January. AP

Calgary is approximately 430 miles east of Vancouver, but the travel time is cut down to about one hour and 40 minutes with the luxury of air travel.

Chen isn’t the only student at UBC that changed their living situation while still attending the school, as some began living out of vans because they couldn’t afford rent.

“This was the only financially viable option as I couldn’t afford a bachelor suite by myself,” Xelian Louw told CTV News in Oct. 2022.

UBC has an enrollment of 58,590, and housing is guaranteed for first-year students, with housing being available for returning undergraduate and graduate students, according to US News and World Report.

A one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, the country’s most expensive city to live in, will put a renter down $1,550 a month. CTV-News/YouTube
A one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, the country’s most expensive city to live in, will put a renter down $1,550 a month. CTV-News/YouTube

A Wall Street Journal journalist recently admitted to commuting daily from Ohio to his Midtown Manhattan job, as it was cheaper than buying a place in the city.

“I thought I could keep my expenses — rent in Ohio, plus travel costs — at or below the price of a nice New York studio, or roughly $3,200 a month,” Chip Cutter wrote in an essay in early January, noting that he covers his own travel expenses to spend three days a week in the office.