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A public transportation guide Canada. All that you need to get started.

Hello! Are you new to Canada? Welcome! One of the first things many newcomers look for is information on how to get around the city. Here is your public transportation guide Canada.

Types of Public Transportation in Canada

When it comes to public transportation, we often use the term transit. It means any method of transportation that the public can use. Cities or regions across Canada have control over their own transit, and it can be called different things, depending on where you live.

1. Buses in Canada

Most cities have bus routes that everyone can use, including those with strollers or wheelchairs. Each bus stop is marked by a sign on the side of the road. The bus route number is on the front and back of the bus.

When you get on the bus, you can pay the fare at the machine beside the driver. Or, if you have a pass, show it to the driver or scan it if there is an electronic reader.

Bus drivers stop at bus stops where people are waiting to board the bus, or when a rider on the bus has pulled a cable or pressed the ‘Stop’ button. This tells the driver you want to get off at the next stop.

2. Subways in Canada

For most of their routes, subways run underground. They often have names, like the Metrolinx in Toronto. You can pay for your subway ride at machines near the entrance to each station, or by scanning a pass.

Subways stop at every stop along the route.

3. Streetcars in Canada

Only a few cities in Canada have streetcars, which run on public streets and are powered by electric cables above the streetcars. Most streetcar stops have a place to buy a ticket from a machine.

4. Trains in Canada

Trains connect some cities in Canada. Most are in the Greater Toronto Area.

How to Plan Your Trip: Public Transportation Guide Canada

Cities offer paper maps and transit schedules. Sometimes there’s an information booth at bigger hubs or exchanges where a person can answer your questions and give you a map. But by far the easiest way to plan your trip is with a smartphone.

Using the map app on a mobile phone, enter your current location and where you want to go, and then choose the ‘transit’ icon. This will give you all the different transit options with every stop along the way, and every transfer.

 You can plan ahead by selecting a ‘Depart By’ or ‘Arrive By’ time and look for the best option.

Transit agencies may also have an app that you can use to plan your transit trip.

How to Pay for Your Public Transit Trip in Canada

Every transit agency is different when it comes to paying for your trip. Some accept cash either when you board the bus/streetcar/subway or at a machine or teller. Some accept ‘Tap and Pay’ with your bank card or credit card.

The best thing to do is search for the city you’re in, or to ask a teller or customer service agent. Most tickets will cover any travel for a specific time (usually 90 minutes or 2 hours), but you may need to ask for a ‘transfer’ at the start of your trip to use as proof of payment. The transfer has the time you started your trip so you can keep track. 

Many cities also have a special card that can be loaded with fares and then used to tap and pay for transit. In Toronto, this is called the PRESTO card and you can buy one at any Shoppers Drug Mart or the transit customer service centre.

In most cities, you can buy transit tickets and passes at drug stores, lottery centres, and customer service centres. You will need picture identification to qualify for any options for discounts (like student or senior).

Transit Passes for Public Transportation in Canada

There are different prices for transit, depending on how far you’re going. If you need to use transit many times in one day, a day pass will be a better price. If you will be using transit regularly, a monthly transit pass will be the best value.

Transit passes are also easy to use, as you just scan or show your pass every time you board a transit ride.

Many cities offer a discounted transit pass for newcomers, students, seniors, or people with low income. Check with the newcomer’s centre, call, or talk to a transit agent for more information.

There may also be a discount or free fare for children. Again, every city is different, so you’ll need to ask what the rules are wherever you are taking transit.

How to Get Rewarded for Using Public Transit

Did you know that taking public transit is much better for the environment? Every time you ride on public transit instead of driving a gasoline car, you are reducing your carbon footprint. And supporting public transit supports millions of people across Canada who rely on its services.

You’re already doing so much good by using public transit. But we want to reward you, too!


When you download TransitRewards on your smartphone, you can start collecting rewards every time you take public transit. TransitRewards gives you points for every kilometre you travel on public transit and every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) you save by taking transit. It’s also linked to every public transportation guide Canada.

Don’t worry, the app does all the tracking for you. And then you can convert your points into free rides on public transit, free passes, and even free items like food and beverages from local retailers.

Using public transit across Canada is good for the environment, good for communities, and good for riders.

City Links to Public Transportation Guide Canada

For a public transportation guide Canada for different cities, here are some resources. Just click on the city and it will take you to the right guide.



You can also learn about many forms of transportation in Canada on the government’s website here.

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