Your Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) negotiates with GRT so we can have unlimited, safe and affordable access to public transportation across the Waterloo region.

Eligible students can tap their Watcard before riding and enjoy both the bus and light rail systems.

This program uses collective bargaining, by WUSA on behalf of all undergraduates, to save each student over $850 over the course of the school year. That’s a savings of over $3200 in a typical 4-year degree.Students must have a Canadian bank account on Quest by the end of October in order to receive their direct deposit refund later this term. If not, that credit will roll over into paying towards your next term of fees.

For bus/ION schedules, visit the GRT website.

Don’t forget to thank your friendly bus driver!

Eligibility – Who qualifies?

All full-time, Waterloo Undergraduates will be charged the fee on their academic terms.

Full-time students: You must be taking at least three courses (or 1.5 credits) to automatically be charged the U-Pass fee on Quest.

These conditions affect your access to GRT’s systems:

  • GBDA or Aviation student on Full-time Academic Term: You were not automatically charged in case you live in Stratford full-time. You can buy into a U-Pass at the discounted rate at the SLC or DC Turnkey Desk.
  • New Watcard: Tap verification with a brand new WatCard should start working in 2 to 4 days. GRT’s data gets updated on a daily basis by WatCard on behalf of WUSA.
  • Did you just become Fees arranged? Tap verification systems will take 2 to 4 days to update.

Spring 2024 U-Pass Opt-in Period: April 1st, 2024  to May 31st, 2024 at the SLC or DC Turnkey Desk.

Not Taking Three Classes?

  • In-between two full-time terms? If you paid the U-Pass fee in your fee statement on Quest last term, you should have access. If you run into an issue with access, reach out through our General Inquiries form.
  • Students enrolled in only 2 courses can opt into the UPass. GRT is allowing UW students to opt into UPass. You can do this at the SLC or DC Turnkey Desk.

If you do not meet the requirements of the program due to not enough classes, GRT EasyGO fare cards are available for purchase at both SLC & DC Turnkey Desks.

The cards themselves are $5, with a $10 load minimum. With this card, ride fares are reduced to $2.98.

For other GRT fare options, follow this link: https://www.grt.ca/en/fares-passes/fares.aspx

Eligible for a refund this term?

*Proof needed to opt-out

Students who are charged the fee but are enrolled in a term where they are not enrolled full-time in on campus classes are eligible for a refund.

  • UW students who retain a valid Canadian National Institute for the Blind (“CNIB”) registration during a given School Term.

  • UW students who pay their fees to UW, but are taking a majority of their academic courses at an out-of-region (outside Waterloo Region) University in the same School Term as they are charged for the UPass.

  • UW students who hold a valid Accessible Parking Permit issued by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, and am registered with AccessAbility Services.

  • UW students who pay their fees to UW, but are considered on professional or academic placement outside the Waterloo Region as part of their degree, which is not considered part of co-operative education.

  • UW students taking less than 3 on-campus courses.

The Spring 2024 Refund Request form is open May 1st, 2024 – May 27th, 2024.

MobilityPLUS and U-Passes

Full-time students who use GRT’s MobilityPLUS service can pay to ride MobilityPLUS using their U-Pass.

We ask students to provide proof that they are enrolled in a full-time program, for example a tuition receipt. They will then be mailed a paper pass each month.

Contact GRTmplus@regionofwaterloo.ca to get set up.

If you lose your WatCard with a U-Pass, go to the WatCard office to replace your student card.

Transit Hubs

The GRT system connects the Tri-Cities (Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge) together. GRT operates seven days a week and covers over 50 routes. The #7 (main line) and iXpress are the most popular bus routes, as they pass through many major centres around Kitchener-Waterloo. In addition, the ION Light Rail system runs from Fairway Mall through Uptown Waterloo to Conestoga Mall, connecting Kitchener to Waterloo. UW Station transit plaza is located in UW’s East Campus near Engineering 5.

Use Google Maps to see your transit options. Google Maps is synced with live GRT bus times.


WUSA’s agreement with GRT sets up payment only on your academic terms but allows use all year long. You remain U-Pass eligible for one off-term, summer for example, or the duration of your co-op term. This includes students on 8-month work terms.

If your Watcard fails to validate, it may be due to technical issues, or you may not be enrolled in the U-Pass program. Send an email with your student # to watcard@uwaterloo.ca and they can explore further.
Yes, UPass holders will have full access to the ION Light Rail. Tap at the station before you get on the train.
As students’ legal representatives at the University of Waterloo, WUSA negotiates the U-Pass contracts with GRT on behalf of all undergrads.
The current system was put in place after initiating talks with the Region of Waterloo. Prior to the implementation of the U-Pass program in 2007, the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association held a referendum on a universal transit pass for full-time undergraduate students. To implement the results of this referendum, WUSA entered into two agreements. This agreement lays out the process for the collection of fees and provision of services regarding the universal bus pass.
The second agreement is between the WUSA, the Region of Waterloo and the University of Waterloo, which allows for WatCards to be used as transit passes and sets out rules for the confiscation of WatCards if misuse or fraud occurs.