Copyright © 2020 Federation of Students, University of Waterloo operating as Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association
GRT service to resume February 1
Two weeks ago, we let you know of the potential disruptions in your Grand River Transit (GRT) services. As we know you’re aware, Unifor Local 4304 went on strike and all GRT busing has since been affected. We are pleased to inform you that all GRT services are expected to resume on Saturday, February 1.
On Wednesday, continued negotiation between Region of Waterloo and Unifor resulted in another tentative agreement, which has now been ratified by both the Regional Council and the union’s membership. We have made clear to both parties this disruption to transit services has had significant impact on all students, increased safety risks, reduced accessibility supports, and led to substantial out-of-pocket expenditures for cab and ride-share fare.
WUSA is keeping contractual options open to recoup fees for this service interruption, as outlined in the GRT-WUSA UPass Agreement. We continue to work with GRT senior management to assess and agree to the prorated amount owed per day by the region. After service resumes on Saturday, GRT will have up to 30 days to reimburse that amount.
We are examining the options available and remain actively committed to providing eligible students with refunds, if it is logistically and administratively possible. Check out our news story for the full memo, but see below for a TL;DR on some of the options we’re looking into:
Claimable cash or cheque options issued at our WUSA main office
Gift cards or vouchers for purchase of goods on campus
Crediting of student accounts
Read more on the complicating factors for each of those options and how those considerations affect how refunds may be issued and their subsequent amounts.
Looking to the future
We will continue in our commitment to review our Local Transit Policy and advocacy efforts to promote a high-quality and consistent GRT service for all University of Waterloo undergraduates. Students’ Council has expressed the intention to lobby that GRT be deemed an essential service, ensuring disputes are resolved in manners that minimize impact on riders. Additionally, we will continue to work with the region to ensure local transit receives better funding to meet students’ needs (e.g. bus capacity and frequency on Route 19).
We appreciate your understanding and patience through this frustrating experience.