Your WatCard is your ticket to transit in Waterloo Region!

The University of Waterloo has a universal bus pass (U-Pass) program. If you're a full-time student, the U-Pass is included in your tuition and automatically added to your WatCard. It's good for unlimited trips on all GRT buses and ION light rail each semester.

Using your WatCard on transit

On the bus

Tap your WatCard on the farebox when you board. The smart card reader is the blue-green rectangle on the lower right corner of the farebox. Hold your card level and square against the card reader and wait for the farebox to ding. 

On the train 

There are platform card readers at each end of every ION station. Tap your WatCard on the platform validator before you board the train. You can also tap on the fare vending machine in the middle of the platform by selecting "Pay/validate your ION trip".

When you tap your card, the screen will show "UW Undergrad U-Pass" or "UW Grad U-Pass".

Farebox and platform card reader

Card issues

If your WatCard doesn't work or if your card is lost/stolen, contact the WatCard office.

Popular destinations and how to get there:
DestinationWhat's thereHow to get there on transit
Conestoga Mall Grocery store, movie theatre, shopping Route 301 ION light rail
Route 201 iXpress Fischer-Hallman
Westmount Place Asian grocery store Route 12 Westmount
Bridgeport Plaza Grocery store, home decor
Route 12 Westmount (becomes Route 8 Weber at University/King)
Route 29 Keats-University
Uptown Waterloo Grocery store, shopping, nightlife Route 301 ION light rail
The Boardwalk Movie theatre, home decor, shopping

Route 202 iXpress University
Route 13 Laurelwood
Route 29 Keats-University

St. Jacobs Market Food and craft vendors Route 19 Hazel

Map of popular destinations for UW students

Stops and stations near the University of Waterloo:

Map of stops near UW campus

Need to travel somewhere else? Use our trip planner to plan your trip.

Schedules and real-time information

You can find bus and train schedules on our Schedules page, or find real-time bus departure information by using an app like EasyGO, Transit or Google Maps.

How to ride the trainWillis Way Station platform

Tap your WatCard on the platform card reader at the end of the platform.

Stand on the platform behind the yellow line. The train doors will line up with the black sections of the platform. Stand back from the doors to allow other passengers to exit before you board.

Each upcoming station will be announced and shown on the displays inside the train. The train will stop at each station, so you don't need to signal your stop.

How to ride the bus

Finding your bus stop

All bus stops have a stop marker with the 4-digit stop number. There are two styles of bus stop marker:

Old stop marker design for local routes  New design of local stop marker

To find out when the bus will arrive:

  • Text the four-digit stop number to 57555. You'll get a text back with the next three departures from your stop.
  • Call 519-585-7555, select option 1, and enter your four-digit stop number. 
  • Use a mobile app like Transit or Google Maps and select your stop.

Boarding the bus

Stand next to the bus stop marker to let the driver know you want to board. When you board, tap your WatCard on the farebox.

Exiting the bus

All GRT buses have automated stop announcements and display the next stop. When you hear or see the name of your stop, pull the yellow cord or press the red stop button to let the driver know you want to get off.

Exit through the rear door if you can. Wait for the green light above the doors to light up, then hold your hand in front of the sticker to open the doors.

More info on how to ride, or check out our video about getting started on transit.

Masks

Masks are required on all GRT buses, ION trains, inside bus shelters, at transit stations, and inside customer service locations.

More information about masks and transit

Bicycles on transit

Bicycles are welcome on all GRT buses in the bike rack. You can also bring your bicycle on board the train by standing with it in the priority seating area. Always walk/hold on to your bike at station platforms and at bus stops; do not ride on platforms.

Learn more about how to bring your bicycle on board

University of Waterloo Station transit plaza

You'll notice a new transit plaza under construction between the Davis Centre and Engineering 5 buildings. When complete, the transit-only roadway will connect ION light rail, GRT routes 9, 13, 19, 30, 31 and 201, plus GO Transit. There will also be multi-use paths connecting the Laurel Trail to Phillip St.