2013 Transit Fare Change

As part of the Region's budget, Regional Council has approved an overall 7% fare increase for 2013 so passenger revenues can keep pace with increasing costs, to sustain service improvements outlined in the 2011-2014 Grand River Transit (GRT) Business Plan, and to balance the municipal contribution to transit operating costs with transit fare revenues.

GRT continues to offer a reliable, accessible and affordable public transit system to riders in Waterloo Region. GRT's fares, even with the proposed changes, will continue to be among the lowest when compared to other transit agencies in Ontario.

Complete the Fare Survey here.

Transit improvements planned for 2013 include:

- Improving service on Routes 5 Erb West, 6 Bridgeport, 12 Conestoga Mall, 13 Laurelwood, 29 Keats Way, 31 Lexington, and 35 Eastbridge, to provide more direct service and create connections to additional locations within the Region;
- Increasing hours of service;
- Extending the existing 201 Fischer-Hallman iXpress to Conestoga Mall; and
- Implementing a new University iXpress route between The Boardwalk at Ira Needles Boulevard, the University Avenue and Northfield Drive East employment area, and Conestoga Mall, via Erb Street West and University Avenue.

Improving transit service is the key to:

- Reducing transit travel times by creating more direct routes;
- Reducing customer wait times by increasing frequency;
- Increasing the number of potential destinations available to transit users;
- Ensuring buses arrive when scheduled; and
- Making it possible to use transit to travel later in the evening, on weekends as well as at peak times.

Why are some fares increasing by more or less than 7%?

When creating a fare change proposal, we aim to balance the change to each fare type, so that:
- Fare prices reward frequent riders.
- Transit remains affordable for seniors, students, persons on low incomes and persons with disabilities.
- Cash fares require the fewest possible number of coins, to be convenient for the user.
- Pass prices are rounded to the nearest dollar.
- Tickets are sold in strips of five, so the ticket price should make a round number when multiplied by five.

Keeping Transit Affordable

Transit provides the opportunity for financial savings to households by reducing the dependency on automobile usage and deferring the costs associated with usage or purchase of a car. Depending on the fare increase proposal that is selected, the annual cost for a transit rider who purchases monthly passes would be $864. The cost to own and operate a small car in 2012 was estimated by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) to be approximately $8,700 annually.

Transit Tax Credit

The Government of Canada offers a public transit tax credit which reimburses riders for some of the cost of monthly passes. Additional information on this tax credit is available here.

Transit for Reduced Income Program (TRIP)

The Region provides a subsidy to those who live on a reduced income and want to purchase a bus pass. The Transit for Reduced Income Program (TRIP) currently provides a discount of $30.00 per month to those who are eligible. Beginning July 2013, it is proposed that the subsidy be increased to $32.00 to reduce the effect of the fare change on these customers. You may qualify for TRIP if your income falls below the low income cut-off (LICO) as determined by Statistics Canada. More information on this program is available here.

Transit Affordability Pass Program (TAPP)

The Region offers a free bus pass through the Transit Affordability Pass Program (TAPP) to Ontario Works participants who are upgrading their education or attending English as a Second Language programs.


As of July 2012, all GRT fares are available to MobilityPLUS customers.

Customer feedback will be considered when Regional Council reviews this proposed fare change, and in the development of future fare strategies.

This proposed fare change will be considered by the Regional Planning and Works Committee on April 30, 2013 and by Regional Council on May 8, 2013.

If you wish to appear as a delegation, please contact the Regional Clerk's office at 519-575-4420.

The fare change, subject to Regional Council approval, is proposed to take effect as of July 1, 2013.

If you would like to send comments at a later date, you may submit a feedback form here, or call 519-585-7555. Please submit your comments by Friday, April 5, 2013.

Two fare change options have been developed which achieve the 7% average fare increase. Both options propose no increase to the $3.00 cash fare or $6.00 day pass fare, which were both increased by 20% in 2012. Option 1 proposes slightly higher ticket prices than in Option 2, and Option 2 proposes slightly higher pass prices than in Option 1, with a monthly pass increased by $5.00 in comparison to an increase of $4.00 for a monthly pass in Option 1. Therefore, Option 1 rewards the most frequent riders of the transit system, with lower pass prices than in Option 2.


Proposed Transit Fare Change Options

Fare TypeCurrent Fares% Riders
2013 Fares
Option 1
 2013 Fares
Option 2
% change
Adult Monthly Pass1$68.0014.1%$72.006%$73.007%
Reduced Monthly Pass1,2$56.007.1%$60.007%$61.009%
Adult Tickets (Sold in Strip of Five)$10.50 ($2.10 each)10.0%$11.50 ($2.30 each)10%$11.25 ($2.25 each)7%
Reduced Tickets2 (Sold in Strip of Five)$9.00 ($1.80 each)4.6%$10.00 ($2.00 each)11%$9.75 ($1.95 each)8%
Cash Fare$3.008.3%$3.000%$3.000%
TravelWise Corporate Pass$58.350.8%$61.005%$62.006%
College Pass1 (per 4-month term)$227.004.0%$240.006%$244.007%
Student Summer Pass1 (July & August)$95.000.1%$101.006%$103.00 8%
Day Pass$6.000.6%$6.000%$6.000%
TRIP Pass$38.004.9%$40.005%$41.008%
U-PASS 3,4$67.5027.5%$72.237%$72.237%
High School 5-month Term Pass 1,4,5$235.0010.3 %$240.002%$240.002%


Average Fare Increase: 7%
. Children under five ride free with a paying customer
. As of July 2012, all GRT fares are available to MobilityPLUS customers. Permanent Registered MobilityPLUS users ride conventional transit vehicles for free.
. Percent of riders column does not include free rides (including the TAPP Pass), GO Co-Fare, and adults riding at the student rate
1 - Photo I.D. charge of $5.00 required - one time fee for Adult and Senior Reduced Monthly Passes; per year for Student Reduced Monthly Passes; per term for Summer Pass, College Pass (except Conestoga College) and High School Pass (paid by student)
2 - Reduced fares are available to seniors, elementary & high school students
3 - As approved by Regional Council on March 28, 2012
4 - Fare prices are agreed through separate contract negotiations (with student associations at the universities in the case of the U-PASS and with the school transportation board in the case of the High School Pass).
5 - High School students can top-up the School Board funded High School Term Pass to allow unlimited travel during term on evenings, weekends and holidays. The top-up would be equivalent to the difference between the reduced monthly pass rate ($300 in Option 1 and $305 for Option 2) and the High School 5-month Pass ($240). Top-up fare is currently $45 and would increase to $60 for Option 1 and $65 for Option 2.