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GRT ridership still down due to pandemic

Hopeful it will increase to over 70 per cent next year, officials say
File photo

Grand River Transit has seen a decrease in ridership by 43 per cent this year. In 2020, ridership was down to a little more than half of pre-pandemic levels.

While COVID has been the leading cause of reduced ridership, GRT also saw reduced attendance because of its labour disruption.

"Our labor disruption was only for 11 days. But, COVID and various other provincial orders and decreased community activities related to COVID was the biggest impact," said Peter Zinck, Director of Transit for the Region of Waterloo.

As restrictions begin to ease and as the vaccination rate trends upwards, GRT has increased ridership in the last couple of months.

"The return to on-campus activities and Upass use has certainty helped increase ridership since what we were seeing over the summer and through the lockdown period." As a result, he said, "we are up to over 60 per cent of over ridership number of pre-pandemic ridership levels, and it continues to increase."

Seeing an increase over the past few months, Zinck is hopeful ridership continues to increase.

"We are projecting a continued increase in ridership to about 73 per cent of average ridership numbers." But, Zinck said, "looking further past that is probably is a little more difficult to be accurate. We would expect it to start to return to normal after 2022, hopefully as quickly as possible."