Affordable transit for those who need it2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Written by: Joni Miltenburg, Grand River Transit
In 2017, Pauline MacLeod was laid off after her company relocated and her department was eliminated.
She worked some temporary jobs but wasn’t able to find a new permanent position, so she decided to retire. She loves it, but it means finances are tighter than they used to be. That’s where the Affordable Transit Program (ATP) is a big help.
MacLeod applied for and was approved for ATP, which offers a 48 per cent discount on the cost of Grand River Transit monthly passes and stored value. It’s open to anyone in Waterloo Region living with low income.
“It’s one expense less. Now I don’t have to watch every penny I spend on groceries like I did before,” she said.
MacLeod relies on transit to get around for appointments and shopping, and finding new places to go hiking.
“We know that meeting residents’ basic needs, including transportation, is critical to their health and wellbeing,” said Fauzia Baig, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the Region of Waterloo. “Helping others meet those needs is a key goal of the Region of Waterloo’s Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan.”
Earlier this year, the Region of Waterloo invested an additional $120,000 per year in the Affordable Transit Program. The investment was made through Council’s approved Equity Investment Fund. This increased the income thresholds by 15 per cent, opening up eligibility to more people. Since then, ATP has grown, with 20 per cent more people accessing the program.
For anyone hesitating, MacLeod says the application was simple and the process was quick.
“You should do it. It’s much easier than applying for the Canadian Pension Plan,” she laughed.
Eligibility for the program is managed by the Region of Waterloo Community Services Department. Staff at the Community Service Welcome Centres at 99 Regina St. S. Waterloo, 235 King St. E., Kitchener, and 150 Main St., Cambridge, can help with applying.
Full details are available at grt.ca/ATP or call 519-585-7555.