2019 Travel options to/from Waterloo
A lot has changed from the last time I wrote this in 2008. The options for getting to Toronto and Pearson are much better. I went to BUF a few times a while ago but now there aren’t good Star Alliance options from BUF and they’re not that much cheaper, so I haven’t done it for a while.
Here are various options for carless transportation from Waterloo in 2019.
To Pearson Airport
- The taxi is the fastest option. Waterloo Taxi will drive you to the airport for $90 and from the airport at $115, both including HST. If I’m trying to stand by for earlier (Montreal-Toronto or an Air Canada Comfort fare), then I would call them once I’m on the plane, and that’s enough lead time for them. You go to the pre-arranged taxi desk at YYZ.
- The option I take most often on weekdays is GO to either Square One or Weston or Bramalea and then MiWay or UP Express or GO 40 to YYZ. The all-GO option is probably the cheapest possible way of getting to Pearson at $15. (I do mean cheapest in an absolute sense, including wear and tear on your car.) I usually budget about 2 hours. The 25C (express to Square One) is fast if you are going when it is going.
- I haven’t taken Airways Transit for a while. Their prices used to be finely tuned to be competitive with other options but now they are not.
- I’ve never taken Greyhound from KW to Pearson but I hear it’s a thing. Just checking for this Saturday I see 7 departures. Prices are dynamic with a 1h schedule for $9 at 6:30PM. Other schedules are slower and more expensive. For returning from Pearson to Kitchener I’d be concerned with flight delays.
Twice this year I happened to be flying into YYZ on day N and flying back out on day N+1 or N+2. Renting a car can be a cheaper and faster option than public transit and taxis, especially if one has the quick-rental options at YYZ. Of course one still has to drive the car. I paid $36 and $60 all-in for the rental itself in October 2019, plus gas.
To Union Station
Options still aren’t as good as they could be but I’ve done it a few times this year, including for evening meetings in Toronto downtown. Weekdays using either the Kitchener line or the 30 and changing at Bramalea are viable. Weekends are basically non-viable.
Toronto to Montreal is pretty easy. Options are driving, taking the train, or flying. Getting to Kitchener-Waterloo makes things just a bit harder. If schedules permit, driving to Oshawa, parking there (up to 48 hours in theory, a bit more lax on weekends), and taking the train is fairly comfortable. VIA from Kitchener is fine if the schedules work. Getting to YYZ described above. Getting to YTZ is not that easy, because you have to get to Union and then shuttle over to YTZ.