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Ottawa Transit Guide: Getting Around Canada’s Capital

PUBLIC TRANSIT.  The public transit system, OC Transpo, operates buses throughout the city, some for 24 hours a day. A single-ride adult cash fare is $3.40. Exact fare in cash is accepted, or you can buy tickets in advance at OC Transpo vendors and customer service centres. Day passes are available for $10.25 (cash only) and must be purchased directly from the bus driver on the day of travel. On weekends and statutory holidays, families can travel together with a single day pass. All fares are discounted for children and seniors. Transfers are issued to riders who pay with cash or tickets and allow riders to continue their trip on another OC Transpo vehicle within 90 minutes without paying again.

Across the river in Gatineau (Quebec), the STO is the public bus system. Cash fares are $3.90 per adult. Tickets are also available. Some STO buses travel to select stops in downtown Ottawa.

The O-Train Trillium Line is Ottawa’s light rail transit system. It runs for north and south for approximately eight kilometres and is isolated from road traffic. Fares are the same as OC Transpo bus service. Day passes and transfers can be used between OC Transpo buses and the O-Train.

All Ottawa OC Transpo buses and trains are accessible. Riders with disabilities can also contact Para Transpo ahead of time if additional service is required.

For more information on OC Transpo and its services, visit the system’s website or call 613-741-4390. Quick routes to and from specific locations can be determined by OC Transpo’s online Travel Planner.

DRIVING & PARKING. Parking is usually metered or only allowed during certain hours of the day. Some central neighbourhoods offer free temporary parking along the side of the road. From November 15 to April 1, there is no parking on city streets between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. when 7cm of snow or more is forecast by Environment Canada. Always read parking signs carefully. There are numerous paid lots downtown. Right turns are permitted on red lights unless signs indicate otherwise. Stay clear of taxi and bus lanes, marked by white diamonds on the pavement. Watch for signs indicating that turning or parking is prohibited at certain times (e.g. rush hour). Visit the City of Ottawa’s website for more details.

TAXI. You can hail a cab on the street in Ottawa—if the roof light is on, it’s available—or you can call for one. The biggest and most reliable cab companies are:
BlueLine Taxi, 613-238-1111
Capital Taxi, 613-744-3333
• DJ’s Taxis, 613-829-9900

BUS & COACH. Ottawa Central Station, the capital’s intercity passenger bus service, is located close to downtown, at 265 Catherine St. It is served by Greyhound Canada. Taxis and OC Transpo buses can be accessed at the main door of the station. For more details, check out the station’s website.

TRAIN. VIA Rail is Canada’s national, long-distance train service. VIA trains arrive and depart at Ottawa’s main station at 200 Tremblay Road and at 3347 Fallowfield Road in Barrhaven.

BIKE. Cycling is a great way to see Ottawa. The capital region offers over 300 km of bike paths, which are shared with runners, walkers and inline skaters. The Capital BIXI bike program is a citywide bicycle-sharing system with 250 bikes at 25 docking stations in downtown Ottawa and Gatineau. The bikes are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from April to November. See the BIXI website for information on fees and docking locations. Bicycles can also be rented from private companies such as RentABike, where rates start at $9 per hour.