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:
GoTravelWise | Public transit | Cycling and walking | Carpooling | Emergency Ride Home | CarSharing | Electric vehicles
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 or @edu.uwaterloo.ca email. Visit the links below to register:
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:
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
Waterloo has launched a campus-wide bike sharing program in partnership with Dropbike. Dropbike will operate a series of campus hubs for students and employees to take out bikes for short-term travel at affordable rates. If you need to get across campus in a hurry, want to make transit connections easier, or would like to go out for lunch, try it out!
- All details are available at dropmobility.com and through the Drop Mobility app on for Android and IOS
- Users download the app to find nearby bikes and unlock them by scanning the barcode on the bike
- Users can travel across campus and around the community
- Bikes must be returned to another Drop Mobility "hub" or locked to an appropriate existing bike rack
- Bikes must be returned to a hub or bike rack within the service zone, as indicated on the app
- Users will take a picture of their properly parked and locked bike through the app to end the trip
- Bike usage fees are set by Drop Mobility subject to the user agreement, at $1 to unlock, and $1 per hour
- Failure to properly use the program could end up in individual user fines as per the user agreement
- Bikes on campus must be parked at a bikeshare hub, marked with tape and/or signage, OR parked and locked at an appropriate bike rack
- Bikes should never be brought indoors
- Bikes should not be left unlocked, blocking building entrances, or blocking accessability ramps or staircases
- Waterloo encourages users to wear a helmet whenever riding
- Users are responsible for obeying all rules of the road and local bylaws
Dropbike manages the program independent of the University. Any issues with Dropbike can be sent through the app or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Waterloo has entered into an agreement with Lime for a pilot of electric scooters on campus, the first university to launch an e-scooter program in Canada. This expands upon a community pilot with the City of Waterloo that extended along the Laurel Trail. Students and employees will now be able to use the scooters within the main/South campus.
Details of the program are as follows:
- Users can download the Lime app for Android and IOS
- The app will activate scooters for use
- Speeds are limited to 15km/h on main campus to ensure pedestrian safety
- Users will be notified through the app not to take scooters inside buildings, block entrances, or discard scooters in places that will impede vehicle or pedestrian access
- E-scooters are available between 7:00am and 9:00pm
- Users must be 18 years of age and possess a valid driver’s license
- Inappropriate use of the scooters can result in fines or suspension from the program
- Fees are $1 to unlock, plus $0.30 per minute of use
- Please note that the UW pilot only extends to Main Campus, and does not include East Campus, University of Waterloo Place Residences, or Columbia Lake Village; these boundaries are indicated within the app
Lime manages the program independent of the University. Any questions or complaints regarding the program should be directed to the 1-800 number printed on the scooter, which will be sent directly to the local team for management.
Bike parking and 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.
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!
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, or with people from other TravelWise organizations and the community:
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.
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.
VRTUCAR (formerly Community CarShare)
Employees: Want to walk, bus, or bike, but need your car to get to meetings? Your department can join VRTUCAR to gain access to vehicles for business travel. Billing is centralized and you don't have to worry about gas, insurance, or maintenance - that is all included. Talk to your department administration about joining. You can also set up a personal membership for weekend and non-work trips from dozens of cars around the region. It's a great way to save your household money on transportation costs.
Students: Drivers who are 18 or older and have a G2 license are eligible to join! Learn more about how you can access CarShare for weekend trips, exploring Waterloo Region, and more!
Visit the VRTUCAR website for more rates, vehicle locations, and to sign up.
Personal use: Enterprise CarShare is also available on campus, with three vehicles on available to rent. Students can join for as little as $1 and then $20 per year after that, and can access cars starting at $6/hour. Users must be 21 years or older to join. Gas and insurance are included!
Visit the Enterprise CarShare website for more rates, vehicle locations, and to sign up.
Departmental memberships: Please contact Andrea Bale for more information about setting up an account for your department.
Waterloo supports electric vehicle use on campus, and it committed to increasing the proportion of electric or alternative-fuel trips to campus by 2020.
Three new EV charging stations have been installed next to Engineering 6 by the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE). These units are free of charge as long as you display a valid parking permit. The chargers include:
- Tesla charger
- Level 2 charger
- Level 3 rapid-charger
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.