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Your WatCard is your UPass!

Travel on the Grand River Transit (GRT) system and ION Light Rail Transit (LRT) is unlimited with your UPass.

How it works:

  • Tap your WatCard on the smart card reader on the farebox as you enter the GRT Bus or ION Train. Hold your WatCard against the card reader and wait for the farebox to ding. The smart card reader is the blue-green rectangle on the lower right corner of the farebox.
  • Do not place your WatCard/UPass in the farebox.

For bus/ION schedules visit the GRT website.

GRT logo

GRT & ION UPass *New Refund Program

The GSA will be continuing the GRT & ION UPass program for Fall 2021 to support graduate students in the region. Since this is a Universal pass, it only works when all members pay their fees (this was approved by referendum when we started the program). As such, the GRT fees will be collected for Fall term to support running the service.

The GSA-UW and GRT negotiated terms of a new 5-year contract with a base of $105.50 per term for September 2021- August 2022. As part of these new contract negotiations, eligible graduate students at UWaterloo are now able to opt out by requesting a refund for a term.

*GRT & ION UPass Refund Request form will open on September 7, 2021*

All UPass refund requests must be completed between September 7 – 28, 2021 (overlapping the Change-of-coverage period with our other services).

For instructions on how to submit a refund request, as well as a list of eligibility criteria and required supporting documentation as proof of eligibility, please read the GRT & ION UPass Refund Request Form Submission Guide.

This form is now closed.

The following are the eligibility criteria/acceptable reasons for UPass refund request:

  • (A)  You are a UW student who retains a valid Canadian National Institute for the Blind (“CNIB”) registration during the Fall 2021 term.
  • (B)  You are a UW student who pays fees to UW, but are taking a majority of academic courses at an out-of-region (outside Waterloo Region) University in the Fall 2021 term.
  • (C)  You are a UW student who holds a valid Accessible Parking Permit issued by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, and are registered with UW Parking Services and UW AccessAbility Services at the beginning of the Fall 2021 term.
  • (D)  You are a UW student who pays fees to UW, but are considered on professional or academic placement outside the Waterloo Region as part of your degree, which is not considered part of co-operative education.
  • (E)  Other: Exceptional refunds as may, from time to time, be approved (remote learning due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, while living outside the Region of Waterloo).
  • (F)  You are registered in a research program, have completed your program’s required coursework, and are not taking courses in the Fall 2021 term. *Note: You can only apply  for either option F once per school year (September 1 – August 31).
  • (G)  You are registered in a course-based program and are not taking a full course load in the Fall 2021 term. *Note: You can only apply for either option G once per school year (September 1 – August 31).

Eligible students who drop out of UW or change their enrollment status at UW after the Drop Deadline per the UW Graduate Calendar shall NOT be eligible for a refund of the UPass. In such cases, eligible students who are not refunded shall continue to have access to UPass.

How to Opt In to the GRT & ION UPass Service

Graduate Students at UWaterloo who were previously not given the option to pay the GRT & ION UPass and would like to pay the fee to make use of the UPass for the Fall 2021 Term may be able to do so if they fulfill ONE of the following accommodation criteria:

  • (A)  A Student Councillor, Director, or Officer of the GSA, or other student representative determined in accordance with the Policies & Procedures of the GSA who would otherwise be eligible for the UPass had they not adjusted their status to take on their current role.
  •      (B) A Full-Time Student who is undertaking a reduced course schedule as a result of an accommodation as defined in UW Graduate Calendar or as otherwise defined by the University of Waterloo. 
  •      (C) Graduate students enrolled at University of Waterloo Satellite campuses that may not have been assessed the UPass fee.
  • (D) Graduate students in the region of Waterloo who are on maternity leave or medical leave.

The Accommodation Process:

If you meet one of the criteria noted above and are interested in opting in to the UPass, please contact the GSA Office and identify which ONE accommodation criteria you are using to opt in to the GRT & ION UPass plan.

If a graduate student is eligible to opt in based on the request and the assessment made by GSA-UW, the GSA-UW will contact the WATCARD office, who will make the change of status within one week of request.


Please note: GSA-UW will be accepting submissions for accommodations effective immediately.


Should you have any further questions about GSA Services and opt out/opt in options, please contact our office.

Last Updated: November 11, 2021

Graduate Student Association - University of Waterloo

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University of Waterloo
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Territorial Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that we work on the traditional territory of ‎ the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes ten kilometers on each side of the Grand River. We acknowledge that we work on these territories as beneficiaries of settler colonialism. We also acknowledge that members of our UWaterloo community live on Indigenous territories around the world.

This statement is only a small step in the process of reconciliation. Decolonization requires systemic change. The GSA-UW is committed to this effort.

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