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More late night transit needed in Uptown Waterloo, says UW student group


Students from the University of Waterloo are calling for more overnight transit options in the city.

The UW NDP club wants to see a cancelled Grand River Transit route brought back to help students get from Uptown Waterloo to the university district once the bars close.

“We’re trying to bring back… Route 91, which is essentially a variant of the Route 7 that many people know, which will come from downtown Kitchener to Uptown Waterloo, then hit the university area,” explained Damian Mikhail, the lead organizer of a petition looking to bring about this change.

Route 91 was discontinued during the pandemic due to a lack of riders. Pandemic restrictions forced bars to close early and nightlife was scaled back in a significant way, which led to GRT’s decision.

But with a resurgence of nightlife in the city, Mikhail feels it’s time for this route to make its return.

“The big worry for us is night shift workers who often don’t have a safe and reliable way home, who have to come here late at night, spend money on parking, on gas, on all of these things,” he said.

The petition currently has over 1,000 signatures. While a big focus is cutting down on drinking and driving once people leave the bars, affordability is also top of mind.

Students have unlimited access to public transit through their U-Pass, but Mikhail said it’s not much help late at night if buses aren’t running at that time.

“We did a few calculations to see what the average price was for someone trying to get home at 2 a.m. from Uptown Waterloo [and] back to campus housing with surge pricing. Uber prices can get up as high as $37, which is just not feasible,” he explained.

CTV News reached out to Grand River Transit about the push to bring Route 91 back. A spokesperson for the transit service said consultations on its five-year business plan will begin later this year.

The statement goes on to say: “The plan will be the roadmap for all expansion of GRT services. We look forward to discussing with our customers and community their vision for the future of transit and expanded hours of service.” Top Stories

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