Transportation in the Waterloo Region

Centrally located near the 401 Highway, a major highway in the province of Ontario and in the country of Canada, Waterloo is a great location to settle down in. Located in between major cities like London and Toronto, the city provides a quieter and less busy alternative to living in one of the bustling hubs of Ontario. While the city of Waterloo is located beside the slightly larger city of Kitchener, it has a unique identity that makes it a great place to immigrate to. With a population of over 120,000, Waterloo is spread out over a large area, where many of the houses are suburban neighbourhoods and only the uptown and central region has tall skyscrapers. Since the city is spread out over a large area, the region of Waterloo provides incredible transportation in and around the city of Waterloo as well as nearby cities and regions.

Buses

The most reliable and frequent form of transportation in the city of Waterloo is the bus system. Buses run to all of the major areas in the city and often do loop style routes, where they go in a circle from morning until night. Buses don’t run all night long, however some of them run very late and are very reliable. Buses are very comfortable and don’t get really busy unless they are popular routes like the ones around the University of Waterloo and Laurier University. Buses are very affordable and routes generally cost less than $3. If you attend the University of Waterloo or Laurier University, transportation cards that include bus rides are generally included in your school fees. This often helps students travel around the Tri-cities with ease and more cheaply.

Buses also run between major cities including London, Woodstock, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, and many other cities in between. Reasonably priced, bus tickets between major cities can be booked in advance in order to secure a seat.

Light Rail

Waterloo and Kitchener recently constructed a light rail system that runs through the major and central areas of the two cities. In the coming years, the light rail will be extended to Cambridge, connecting all three cities with cheap, affordable, and incredibly efficient transportation. The light rail runs from near St. Jacobs and Conestoga Mall all the way through the Uptown of Waterloo and into the downtown of Kitchener. It finishes off at Fairview Mall in Kitchener. Soon, the rail will connect Kitchener and Cambridge, ensuring a quick and affordable form of transportation between the two cities.

Trains

Trains run between Waterloo and other major cities in Ontario. Canada has one main train line that runs across the country, connecting many of the western and eastern cities to the centre of the country. Trains run between major cities like Kitchener/Waterloo, Milton, Mississauga, Toronto, Kingston, and further along the coastline of the country. A small train runs between Waterloo and St. Jacobs, however it only happens a couple of times a week and during the right season. In the wintertime, the train often does not run.

Taxis

Taxis are a reliable way to get around the city of Waterloo. At nighttime when buses stop running in certain locations, taxis are often driving around major roads and intersections. With the recent development of Uber, many students and working professionals are using Ubers because they are cheaper and more efficient. While buses are a great way to save money and be more eco-friendly, taxis are very popular forms of transportation and are always available, no matter the time of day.

Car Rentals

Many people visiting the city of Waterloo rent cars in order to get around. Car rentals are available in various locations across the city and are generally quite affordable. Gas is cheap compared to other countries in Europe and some in Asia. If you are looking into purchasing a car, there are many dealerships located in both Kitchener and in Waterloo. Cars are reasonably priced and can be purchased outright or can be leased over a long period of time. Many people in the city of Waterloo do drive and have their own modes of transportation, however the city is incredibly easy to get around without having your own car or bike.

Driving

Roads in the city are very well maintained and it constantly seems as if they are being fixed or improved. Since workers can generally only work on the roads when the snow disappears, the roads and traffic seem quite busy during the spring months when the roads are being fixed. Waterloo has one highway running near the centre of the city, which curves around to the 401 Highway and in the opposite direction, heading toward Stratford.

Cycling

Many people cycle around the city of Waterloo. As the city grows, the region puts in more and more bike lanes on roads in order to encourage residents to cycle around the city. This is not only eco-friendly and affordable, it is very easy to get from one part of the city to another.

Walking

Waterloo is a very easy city to walk around. While it can take a while to get between neighbourhoods and from the outskirts into more central areas, the city has sidewalks on almost every road and traffic lights that help pedestrians cross when the lights turn red. Walking around the centre of the city of Waterloo is very enjoyable and many people can be seen walking along the streets of Uptown.

While many people in the region of Waterloo do own and drive their own cars, local and public transportation is incredibly cheap and efficient. With buses, trains, light transit, taxis, Ubers, and car sharing, the city of Waterloo has efficient and cheap transportation. If you choose to purchase and drive your own car in the region of Waterloo, even during rush hour the traffic is not bad compared to other major cities. If you hit the major highways during rush hour, it can take some time to get from one side of the city to the other.

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