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All you need to know about Grand River Transit bus strike

A Grand River Transit bus at the Charles Street Transit Terminal in Kitchener. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

Grand River Transit/MobilityPLUS operators, dispatchers, fleet mechanics and service attendants went on strike on Jan. 21 at 5 a.m.

A day later, the region and the union met with Unifor Local 4304 stating that no progress had been made and that no further talks were scheduled.

On Monday, the two sides said they would resume talks on Wednesday morning in an effort to put an end to the week-long strike.

READ MORE: Grand River Transit talks to resume Tuesday in bid to end strike

On Jan. 21, Unifor Local 4304, which represents the transit workers, announced that its members had voted against a tentative agreement and were headed for the picket lines.

The region says the offer included a six per cent wage increase over three years for bus operators, dispatchers and service attendants and 15 per cent over three years for mechanics.

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The union told Global News through a statement that there are other issues involved outside of wages.

A day later, Unifor Local 4304 president Tim Jewell told Global News that there was a safety and discipline were among their concerns as well as wages

Conventional buses have been taken off the Waterloo roads as Bus Plus and MobilityPLUS services have also been affected, according to the region.

READ MORE: Grand River Transit bus drivers reject contract proposal, to begin striking Tuesday

The region said it intends to make every effort to ensure MobilityPLUS users get to pre-scheduled dialysis trips. MobilityPLUS tickets will not expire and can be used once service resumes.

The TaxiSCRIP program and specialized transit services provided by Kiwanis Transit are unaffected by a strike.

ION LRT trains also won’t be affected, according to the region — although if there is a disruption, GRT will not be able to bring in shuttle buses.

To check on the availability of transit services, the region is asking passengers to visit http://www.grt.ca or call the GRT Information Line at 519-585-7555, or TTY at 519-585-7796.

READ MORE: Fatal collision involving ION light rail vehicle in Waterloo remains under investigation

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The region has also created a page to help you plan on how to get around in the event of a strike.

It suggests carpooling, walking, cycling and taxi or ridesharing services as alternative means to get around in Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo.

The region also suggests asking your boss about the possibility of working from home.

For those who use buses to travel from Cambridge, buses from Coach Canada (Ainslie Street), GO Transit (Cambridge Smart Centre) and Greyhound (Cambridge Centre Station) will continue to operate at regular locations in the city.

In Kitchener, all three companies will continue operations out of Charles Street Terminal.

The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) says that school buses will operate as normal and that all schools are still open. Catholic schools in the area are closed Tuesday due to the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

The WRDSB stated that students report cards will not be affected if they are bused to school on GRT.

“We encourage our affected students to try to find alternate means of transportation to school,” the statement read. “Students who are assigned public bus passes by their school and who are absent as a result of the strike action will be marked absent using a code that will ensure this will not count towards their report card. If students are able to get to school, they will be marked as present.”

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