Tag Archives: GRT

Transit desert shrinks with restored late-nite bus service in Waterloo

MP Holmes
Kitchener, ON

Waterloo Region Council agreed to restore a late night bus three nights a week, which will help deal with the “transit desert” that has impacted late-night GO bus riders.

The last transit bus of the night leaves the University of Waterloo Station by 12:20 am but still four more GO buses arrive after that time each night without connecting GRT services.

The motion, which passed at the meeting on Wednesday, April 25th, will restore Route 91, the late night bus service between the University of Waterloo, Laurier and Uptown Waterloo.

Grand River Transit will reintroduce Route 91 in early September and the bus will run from 12. 30am until 2am Thursday to Saturday.

In this program, two delegates who were present at the meeting describe their relief and concerns about future late night transit.

CKMS News – The GRT proposes increased accessibility measures and increased fare hikes in the 2024 regional budget

CKMS News – 2023-11-03 – Proposed GRT increase

MP Holmes
Kitchener, Ontario

Proposed changes to the Grand River Transit (or GRT)  fares would see cash fares rise, but under these proposals, accessibility services would also increase. Commissioner for Transportation Services Mathieu Goetzke presented the proposals to Regional Council during a budget consultation meeting on Wednesday November 1.

This budget consultation meeting, one of several in the run-up to the final budget day on December 13, focused on determining the budgets for the Region’s equitable services and opportunities. Items of discussion included improving community safety and well-being, automated speed enforcement, youth-focused initiatives, paramedic services, transportation, and proposed transit fare changes to the GRT.

These proposed fare changes include increasing the electronic cash fare by two cents from $2.98 to $3.00, increasing monthly passes from $92 to $96; and increasing cash fares from $3.75 to $4 per single ride.

GRT fares last increased this past July, by 25 cents, from $3.50 to $3.75, which means that, with this proposed increase, fare hikes of will have increased by 50 cents or 12.5% in two years. Despite this, ridership has never been higher. In September, the GRT set a new ridership record with 150,000 boardings per day.

Commisioner Goetzke explained why this cash fare price increase is needed, but several councillors expressed concern. Councillor Natasha Salonen wondered if the cash fare increase wouldn’t hurt the most marginalised.

Another proposed increase is the fare window, which is how long one bus ticket is good for. Currently the GRT offers a 90-minute window and is proposing a 120-minute, or two-hour, window. Councillor Rob Deutschmann suggested increasing the fare window to three hours, arguing the size of the region justified increasing the transfer window. Councillor Jim Erb agreed and noted that Waterloo Region riders often switch between the bus and ION train systems, which takes more time.

Commisioner Goetzke listed the proposed measures to increase accessibility, including removing $5 minimum load on easy go card, developing a mobile payment app, increasing the discount on needs-based fares, and introducing a new group pass for $12, which would allow unlimited travel for up to five people regardless if they are a family or not.

These proposed changes were presented as a preview of what will be discussed in more detail at a later council meeting. The intention of this review was to bring forward a budget-day motion to adopt a new user fee and charge bylaw.

Councillors have until December 4 to make a motion to amend the budget before the final budget day on December 13.

At the next Strategic Planning and Budget Committee, on November 8, Council will be examining the draft 2024 budgets focusing on the theme homes for all.


You can listen to the show below:

Headlines – Section 7 Charter violations against homeless people in Barrie, GRT fare increase, DTK Health Centres merge, ACORN protests landlord.

CKMS Headlines for June 23rd 2023:

By: MP Holmes

1 – City of Barrie backs down after threatening drastic measures against the homeless population

The Barrie city Council tried to push anti-homeless legislation through at a meeting this week but backed down due to the strong country-wide backlash. That backlash included presenting the legal precedent from the Superior Court case The Regional Municipality of Waterloo v. Persons Unknown and to be Ascertained, 2023, which blocked the eviction of people living at the Victoria and Weber encampment in Kitchener.

There is a clip from Rob Romanek of EngageBarrie

2 -GRT fares increasing as was decided by Regional Council in February

GRT fares are increasing on July 1, following an earlier budget decision by Regional Council who voted for the increase. The Cash fare will go up 14% to  $3.75 per ride, a more expensive fare than nearly all other public transit in Ontario, including that of Toronto, Hamilton, London, and Guelph.

3 – Long standing health centres merge

Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre and Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre have merged and are now called Community Healthcaring Kitchener-Waterloo. There are two locations at both ends of the downtown core in Kitchener.

4 – Protest march against renoviction of more than 20 Kitchener residents from their homes

On June 19th, more than 50 people were at the protest and march to draw attention to Mississauga based investor landlord Mike Beer who has moved to renovict more than 20 Kitchener residents from their homes. Marching from the Fairway Ion station to 267 Traynor Ave, the protestors were welcomed by the neighbourhood.

There is clip from Maribel of ACORN. 

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of  this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca