The Region of Waterloo rapid transit system, ION, will connect the three major urban centres of the Cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo.

ION Logo

ION is made up of light rail transit (LRT) and bus rapid transit. LRT will operate separately from traffic, making it a more efficient, reliable, comfortable, convenient, and effective way to travel. Bus rapid transit will drive in regular traffic, but will have special features making it faster, consistent and convenient.

In 2011, Council approved the implementation of LRT.  A staged approach was selected, similar to what other communities have done when building rapid transit systems.

Stage 1 includes the construction of LRT from Kitchener to Waterloo as well as the implementation of 17 kilometres of ION bus rapid transit from Cambridge's Ainslie Street Terminal to Kitchener's Fairview Park Mall.

Stage 2 will see the ION bus rapid transit route in Cambridge converted to LRT, creating a 37 kilometre route of light rail transit that stretches from Cambridge to Waterloo.


ION Bus Rapid Transit


The first step towards light rail transit (LRT) in Cambridge has arrived.
ION bus rapid transit service began September 7, 2015 and travels 17 km between Ainslie Street Terminal and Fairview Park Mall.

This important milestone will help build ridership along Cambridge's busiest corridor with stops on Hespeler Road for employees, shoppers and visitors.

ION bus rapid service includes many new features:

  • New, large modern stops with canopy shelters, benches and extra lighting
  • Limestone feature walls, significant to Cambridge's unique heritage
  • Accessible platform edges with textured surface
  • Garbage receptacles and bike racks
  • Passenger information displays with real-time bus arrivals
  • Signal priority for approaching buses at all intersections on Hespeler Road
  • Bus only lanes at Pinebush, Munch and Coronation allowing buses to bypass traffic line-ups at these intersections
  • A direct link to LRT when it launches.

iXpress buses will be used in the interim, providing continued service to Kitchener and Waterloo. Look for new ION branded buses to replace iXpress buses, in 2017 pending Regional Council approval.


Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the Waterloo Region Rapid Transit system and the Transit Redesign project.