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Lisa Umholtz
Digital Media Specialist
Wed, 01/08/2020 - 13:45

The arrival and return of students at the start of term can bring up questions about public transportation and using your UPass, so we put together a handy FAQ to address some of the most common issues and questions that come up!

1. What is the UPass?

The UPass is a universal transit pass that allows UWaterloo students to ride Grand River Transit (GRT) buses and light rail transit. 

The Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association negotiates the UPass agreements with the Region of Waterloo (owners of GRT) to provide affordable transit for students.

The UPass is accessed by using your Watcard.

2. Who has a UPass? 

You have a UPass and are eligible to ride GRT's bus and ION light rail transit (LRT) system using your Watcard if:

  • If you're a full-time student (taking three or more on-campus courses per term)
  • You're on co-op
  • You're between two full-time study terms

Part-time students and Stratford campus students are not enrolled in the UPass program at this time. Stratford campus students and students registered with AccessAbility Services who are not currently enrolled can opt-in at WUSA's main office in the Student Life Centre Room 1116. Part-time students are encouraged to look at other GRT fare products

For more information on eligibility, please see our UPass agreement with GRT.

3. What should I do if my Watcard doesn't work on the bus/LRT?

If you experience issues using your Watcard on the bus or LRT, it may be due to technical issues, or you may not be enrolled in the UPass program.

Step One

Check the status of your Watcard online with the UPass Checker.

Step Two

If the UPass Checker shows active status but your car is not working, please follow up at the Watcard office in the basement of the Student Life Centre.

If the UPass Checker shows your UPass is not active, and you meet the eligibility requirements for a UPass (see FAQ point number 2 above), please follow up with us at our main office in Student Life Centre Room 1116, or email WUSA reception.

4. Will I be able to ride the bus/LRT on a co-op term?

Yes. As per WUSA’s agreement with GRT, all students enrolled in a co-op term are also enrolled in the UPass program. This includes students on 8-month work terms.

5. Will I be able to ride the bus on an off-term?

A UPass holder can remain enrolled for a maximum of one (1) off-term (four month period), assuming that you intend to return to studies.

For example: if you take the summer off, you will be able to ride the bus. However, if you complete your studies or choose not to return to your studies after one term off, you will not be enrolled in the UPass program the following term.

6. Will my UPass get me on the ION?

It sure will! UPass holders have full access to GRT's light rail transit.

7. Anything else should I know?

You can also check out GRT's university student information.