COVID-19
For more information on safety measures during COVID-19, please visit grt.ca/covid19
Request-a-Stop program

If you are traveling alone in the evening, you can request an alternate stop location along your bus route. The operator will do their best to accommodate requests to exit the bus at a stop that is not a regular bus stop.

Request-a-Stop is available every day starting at dusk or 9 pm, whichever is earlier, and continuing until the end of evening service.

Please give the operator advance notice of where you would like to stop. The bus operator will not go off the scheduled bus route, but will select the safest stop location closest to the requested area. For added security, please exit by the front door.

Please note that Request-a-Stop is NOT available on iXpress routes or ION bus because those routes feature limited stops and travel along highways.

Safe Haven program
The Safe Haven program is designed to offer temporary refuge in times of danger or trouble. If you feel you are in danger, have lost a child, or fear for your safety, you can get on a bus, day or night. A supervisor or our security personnel will be contacted to help you.
ION light rail safety

Pedestrians

  • Follow pedestrian signals.
  • Only cross the tracks at designated crossings and remember to look both ways.
  • ION trains are quiet and may not be heard against typical street noise. Remove headphones, look up from devices and listen for signals.
  • Never cross the tracks when lights are flashing or crossing arms are down. Wait for the signals to stop and the barrier to be completely up before crossing.
  • Never go underneath or around a railway gate.
  • Never stand on or walk along the light rail tracks.

Cyclists

  • Keep in mind that tracks are for trains. Never cycle on or along the tracks and follow the signs and signals.
  • ION trains are quiet and may not be heard over other traffic. Always look both ways and check your blind spot before crossing the tracks.
  • Cross the tracks at a right angle (if the tracks are at an angle to the road you may need to use a full lane to cross).
  • Always walk your bike on station platforms. 

For more cycling tips, please visit Ontario's Guide to Safe Cycling.

Motorists

  • Keep in mind that ION trains travel in their own lane and have the right-of-way.
  • Follow the signs and signals.
  • ION trains are quiet. Always check your blind spot before crossing the light rail tracks, turning left or right, and never turn in front of a train.
  • Never stop or park anywhere on the light rail tracks. Stopped or parked vehicles will be ticketed or towed.
  • At intersections with railway gates, wait for the signals to stop flashing and the railway gate to be completely up before you start driving again.

Find out more about railway crossings.

Safety on board ION

All ION light rail trains are equipped with security cameras, emergency door release, fire extinguishers and emergency hammers.

In the event of an emergency, press the yellow emergency strip. An alarm will sound. To speak to the operator, use the intercom located next to the doors or in the priority seating area.

ION safety resources

The ION resources kit includes downloadable images, videos, brochures and posters.

Train Your Brain ION safety PDF

Safety on buses

For your security, all GRT buses have security cameras, emergency escape windows, manual door openers, fire extinguishers, and ceiling escape hatches.

If you have a safety concern while riding the bus, speak the operator. 

Emergency call boxes

Emergency call box with blue light and red call button

Emergency call boxes are available at:

  • All ION light rail stations
  • Ainslie Street Terminal
  • Cambridge Centre Station
  • Sportworld Station
  • The Boardwalk Station

In case of emergency, press the red button and you'll be connected with security staff, who will determine what assistance is needed. Security staff have access to video feeds of the area to see what is happening.

Please note the call box is for emergencies only, not service or general information. For general information, please contact customer service at 519-585-7555.

Driver shields
GRT is installing permanent driver shields on all buses that will replace the temporary COVID-19 barriers.

The permanent shields have a sliding glass window that the operator can open and close.

Driver shields will be installed on all GRT buses by the end of 2022.

Bus bypass shoulder

GRT buses and MobilityPLUS vehicles can used the paved right shoulder of Highway 8 in approved areas identified by signs as a bypass lane when traffic on the highway is congested or moving 60km/h or slower.

Buses can travel along the shoulders at 20km/h faster than the speed of the stopped or slowed traffic. Special signs posted on the right shoulder of the highway indicate where the bus bypass begins and ends.

The paved bypass shoulders can only be used by emergency services and authorized transit vehicles.

The bus bypass shoulder allows GRT buses to bypass traffic congestion and remain on schedule, ensuring fast and reliable service, particularly on the 302 ION bus.

Surveillance cameras

All GRT buses, MobilityPLUS buses and ION trains are equipped with surveillance cameras.

Cameras on buses

The surveillance system uses several cameras on each vehicle. The camera located at the operator's station also retains an audio recording of activities in that area.

The surveillance system is used only to record activities, and GRT staff do not have the ability to view live images on monitors. Surveillance system recordings are deleted 72 hours after collection. However, recordings may be retrieved prior to deletion and retained for longer periods if access and use are required or allowed either under the policy or by law.

The Regional Municipality of Waterloo operates the bus transportation system under the Municipal Act and the surveillance system is used in support of the Region's mandate to provide this service. The operation of the system is guided by a policy approved by Regional Council. Under the policy, the use of the mobile system, which may collect the personal information of passengers and others in the recordings, are limited to deterring and investigating and resolving personal injury claims, and investigating and resolving employee discipline proceedings. 

Questions about the operation of the system and the personal information that may be recorded by the equipment may be directed to the Assistant Director, Transit Services at 519-585-7597 extension 7219.

The Region of Waterloo's privacy policy addresses the use of surveillance cameras and images. Read the Region's privacy policy 

Winter safety

Tips for taking transit in winter

GRT buses will continue to operate in winter weather conditions, except when roads are closed/impassable or detours are needed. 

  • Allow more time for travel, as buses may be delayed in poor driving conditions and remember to dress warmly.
  • If your bus stop is on a hill or steep slope, walk to the next stop at the bottom or top of the hill so that the bus can safely stop to pick you up.
  • Tread carefully in snow and ice and stand back from the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop so as to avoid sliding or slipping under the bus.
  • Keep in mind your bus may not pull all the way over to the curb, to avoid getting stuck. You may have to step into the road to board.
  • Remember to look up for approaching vehicles when crossing intersections or ION tracks.
  • Help us see you at night. Wear light coloured clothing, reflectors or lights.