WUSA introduces reserve fund for future transit disruptions

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Seneca Velling
VP Operations & Finance
Wed, 04/29/2020 - 10:45

Following GRT’s first ever transit strike, we heard countless stories of students whose options were walking to class from miles away, paying $40/day for ride-sharing services to get to and from campus if they were too far, or not making it to campus at all if neither were feasible. Watching our students experience such frustration, with a circumstance that was well out of their control, we knew we had to do whatever was within ours to prepare for any future disruptions. 

In their first Council meeting after the resumption of service, your FY2020 VP Operations & Finance, Seneca Velling, brought forward the recommendation of establishing a reserve fund aimed at supporting students affected by future transit disruptions. With Council’s blessing secured, the Executive team proposed a, “Transit Disruption Contingency and Liability Reserve” to the Board of Directors, which was approved on April 22, 2020. 

This fund has an initial target of $2.9M, aiming to allow for 1-2 weeks of transportation subsidy for a minimum of $10-15/day, per student and would be accessible “during periods of sustained and significant disruption to transit” or “...for WUSA to otherwise operate its own transit during such periods.”  

Given the relative infrequency of disruption (again, this was the first in GRT’s history), the fund is anticipated to build slowly over a period of 5-10 years, via a 2% strategic overhead placed on the UPass fee. This will be set aside in an investment account aimed at capital appreciation (growth) to accumulate value until the balance of the fund is great enough to support affected students during a sustained service disruption. 

Any interest earned in the UPass Administered Fund is to remain in the fund, to be dedicated to the Transit Disruption Contingency and Liability Reserve. 

Matters that concern you, concern us! We’re here to address those concerns and elevate your experience while at UWaterloo, both inside and outside the classroom. We prioritize getting you to campus, so you can prioritize your studies. No student should have to worry about getting to the campus they’re paying for!