TRAVELWISE | TRANSIT | CYCLING AND WALKING | CARPOOLING | EMERGENCY RIDE HOME | CARSHARING | ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Increase the proportion of sustainable commuting trips to 90% from 2016 baseline of 85% by 2025
Increase electric and alternative-fuel vehicle use on campus by 2020
Reduce fossil fuel consumption across the campus fleet by 25% from 2015 baseline by 2025
Did you know that transportation accounts for nearly 50% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Waterloo Region? The University of Waterloo is committed to providing programs, services, and resources to help you integrate active and sustainable travel into your weekly commuting. It's a great way to save money, improve local air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier lifestyle!
Use the tools below to help you with a low-impact commute:
UWaterloo has partnered with the TravelWise program to access the gotravelwise.ca website and associated network. Here, you can:
- See your options: How much does your commute cost you by car, bike, or bus? How much carbon do you produce? How many calories could you burn? How long will it take? Search your trip to UWaterloo and find all that and more!
- Search for carpools: Want to find the perfect carpool match? Plug in your info and see who is out there waiting. (More information under Carpooling.)
- Track your trips: Log your trips to win quarterly prizes, keep tabs on your progress and impacts, and help UWaterloo better understand employee commuting.
Staff, faculty, and students can join the University of Waterloo private user group by signing up with their @uwaterloo.ca email. Visit the links below to register:
- Staff and Faculty: UWaterloo Employee Group
- Students: UWaterloo Students Group
UWaterloo is located along many major transit routes and the upcoming ION rapid transit corridor, making the bus a simple and cost-effective way of getting to campus.
Undergraduate and graduate students automatically receive a Grand River Transit (GRT) bus pass as part of their student fees. Simply show your WATCard!
Employee discounted transit passes
Discounted Grand River Transit passes are available to Waterloo staff and faculty. Through the TravelWise Corporate Pass, you can receive a 15% discount on your monthly pass. An electronic fare card will be sent to Parking Services for you to pick up, which can be loaded online.
Tickets and inter-city travel
GRT ticket strips, GO tickets, Greyhound tickets, the FED Bus tickets, and PRESTO fare cards can be purchased at the Turnkey Desk in the Student Life Centre. Greyhound and GO busses leave from the Davis Centre.
Finding transit routes
Wayfinding: Don't know where to catch the bus? Visit:
- Campus Map for GRT, GO, and Greyhound stops on campus
- Grand River Transit website for all route maps and schedules.
- Google Maps for transit routes.
Cycling and walking
UWaterloo South Campus is located along the Laurel Trail, and is in a great location for many cycling and walking routes. South Campus is filled with pedestrian-friendly walkways, with traffic mostly limited to services vehicles and those using accessible parking spots.
Need your chain adjusted? Have a flat? Stop by the Bike Centre in SLC 0101 for affordable access to tools, parts, and volunteer support on minor bike repairs and tune-ups. The Bike Centre is a service run by FEDS. In addition, the Bike Centre supports the following programs:
- Bike loan program: rent out bikes for a term
- Bike Auction: bid on unclaimed bikes from around campus
In Spring and Fall 2019, Waterloo launched a campus-wide bike sharing program in partnership with Dropbike and as part of a Region-wide piloted. Dropbike operated a series of campus hubs for students and employees to take out bikes for short-term travel at affordable rates.
This pilot has now concluded over the winter months. The University will continue working with the Region of Waterloo and City of Waterloo on future plans to translate the pilot into a more permanent bike sharing program.
Bike theft prevention
Ample open-air bike racks are available at all buildings around campus. Don't forget to lock your bike, and visit the bike theft prevention tips from Police Services. You can also register the serial number of your bike to make it easier to recover in case of theft!
There are several more secure bike boxes available on South Campus. These are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and cost $10 per term to access. Contact Parking Services in the Commissary building if you are interested.
Waterloo has launched a new secure bike cage between EV3 and ML, which includes stacked covered bike racks with security cameras and fob access. Enrolment in the cage is managed by Parking Services on a first-come-first serve basis. Spots in the cage are $10 per month plus HST.
Visit the Parking Services webpage for more information and to register.
Trails and bike lanes
You can find nearby on-road and off-road cycling and walking routes easily using Google Maps. Just search the way you would for driving directions, and hit the bike or walking icons!
Sharing the ride is one of the easiest ways to save money on gas and parking, and cut your environmental impact at least in half!
Interested in learning more about carpooling? Check out some opportunities below.
Visit the TravelWise website to search for options near you! To register, use your @uwaterloo.ca email address and join the appropriate group.
You can choose to match only with others in your group (such as other employees of Waterloo or other students), or with people from other TravelWise organizations and the community:
- Staff and Faculty: UWaterloo Employee Group
- Students: UWaterloo Students Group
If you are looking for an impromptu ride, try posting on the Facebook Group. You must have a Facebook account and join the UWaterloo Facebook Group with your @uwaterloo.ca student or staff/faculty email address to access. This is a user-driven Facebook group which the University does not monitor or control.
*For your own safety, it is strongly encouraged to meet with a new match in a public area before you start carpooling. Get to know the person, agree on terms such as cost sharing, smoking/non-smoking, and music tastes.
Employees may contact Parking Services to set up a formal carpool, and you will get access to preferential parking spaces! Visit Parking Services for more information.
Emergency Ride Home
Sometimes the unexpected happens, and sustainable commuting options are not always as flexible as driving. Don't worry, you're covered.
Staff and faculty who walk, cycle, take transit, or carpool are eligible for the Emergency Ride Home (ERH) program through TravelWise and the Region of Waterloo. Individual employees may be reimbursed up to $75 per trip, for a maximum of 4 trips per calendar year.
There is no pre-registration required. Just grab a receipt from your cab driver to submit a claim. The Region of Waterloo reserves the right to inquire about the nature of your emergency. Employees abusing the ERH will lose further privileges. Check out the Emergency Ride Home (pdf) form to learn what is covered and how to make a claim.
The ERH is not available for undergraduate or graduate students at this time.
Employees: Want to walk, bus, or bike, but need your car to get to meetings? Communauto (formerly Community CarShare) has parking spots and vehicles available for rent near campus. Visit the Communauto website for more rates, vehicle locations, and to sign up
Electric vehicles (EVs)
EV Charging Stations
There are a growing number of EV charging stations across the campus. These stations are currently available for use, free of charge, but users must display a valid Waterloo daily or monthly permit while charging. Except for the Tesla charger, all stations on the University of Waterloo currently use the FLO/AddEnergie Network, allowing you to view station status to see which locations are available, and monitor the status of your charging session during the day.
Current locations include include:
- E6: Tesla charger (Non-FLO network), Level 2 charger, Level 3 rapid-charger
- SCH: Two Level 2 chargers
- EC2: Three Level 2 chargers
- EC4: Three Level 2 chargers
- NH: Two Level 2 chargers
- L Lot: Three Level 2 chargers
- Plant Ops lot: Two Level 2 chargers (University of Waterloo fleet vehicles only)
You can check station availability and the charging progress on your vehicle through a smartphone app from the station vendor. For more information on the charging stations, visit Parking Services' EV Charging Policy.
Fleet Electrification Incentive
Waterloo offers a $10,000 subsidy to any department seeking to replace an existing internal combustion engine vehicle with a fully electric modified. Launched in January 2022, the subsidy is a key action to overcome up-front cost barriers from EVs, which are often more expensive to purchase compared to a conventional vehicle. Although there is typically a favourable life cycle cost of owning and operating the vehicle, as they require less maintenance and have lower energy costs, the initial cost can be a barrier.
- Must be applied toward cost of purchasing an EV
- Can be combined with any other federal/provincial purchase incentive or rebate
- Must be for University-owned vehicles (not leases)
- Purchased vehicle must be fully electrified (not hybrid)
- Funds will be transferred upon successful purchase of the vehicle
If you have any questions or would like to arrange for this to be applied toward your vehicle purchase, please contact Mat Thijssen.