Conestoga College offering students up to $200 for travel as GRT strike continues

An empty bus stop at Conestoga College seen during the GRT strike on Jan. 22, 2020. (Natalie van Rooy / CTV Kitchener)

Students attending Conestoga College may have some relief on the way as the Grand River Transit buses remain parked because of the strike.

In a news release issued Friday, President John Tibbits announced that the college would be implementing a number of measures to help those affected by the strike, including up to $200 to GRT pass holders who have had to take other means of transport.

Those means include taxis, Ubers and cars which need paid parking.

The school is also expanding and reducing prices for its parking options, as well as looking at ways to expand its shuttle services in areas affected by the strike.

"Thank you for your patience in this challenging situation, and special thanks to all of you who have provided support to your classmates and colleagues through carpooling and ride-sharing," Tibbits says in the release.

The measures come as the Grand River Transit strike drags through its fourth day. As of Wednesday, there were no scheduled talks between the region and the union representing GRT employees.

The strike began on Tuesday, after union members voted against a tentative agreement that was reached the Sunday before.

An online application for the Conestoga College travel reimbursement is scheduled to be made available by the end of the month.

"We look forward to the resolution of this labour dispute and the resumption of normal transit service for our community," Tibbits says.

The Region of Waterloo says it has offered a six per cent wage increase for bus operators and 15 per cent increase for mechanics over the next three years.

It also says it has agreed to install barriers on all of the buses in the GRT fleet, but the union says that a key issue is supervisor and security response, which can take between six and 12 minutes.

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