Intercity by bus, Ottawa
February 2012 update: it appears that the YOW Shuttle Service ceased its operations at the Ottawa Airport in the summer of 2011. No other similar service has yet replaced it. However, if your hotel is the Holiday Inn Express or the Hilton Garden Inn, both near the airport, each has their own shuttle service to and from the airport.
Unless you have someone picking you up at the Ottawa Airport, perhaps the most economical way of getting to and from your hotel, is by the YOW Airporter shuttle. Their kiosk is located between the baggage claim carousels, and the exit. They service 29 hotels/inns in Ottawa, but whenever I've used this service, they've never had to make more than a few stops before I'm at my destination. If you've purchased the round-trip ticket, just call their office the day before your departure, to schedule your pick-up at the hotel the next day. They run hourly. Compare this to taking a taxi, and this service is half the cost !
As of February 2009, a one-way ticket for one adult was CAD$14., and a round-trip ticket was $24. Two adults, one way, was $22. Children under 8 yrs were free, and children between 8 - 14 were $8. each. Three or more adults was $8.
Ottawa’s public transportation system, OC Transpo, is easy to use and convenient.
DayPasses are valid for unlimited travel on regular and express routes, all day long. The DayPass must be purchased directly from the bus driver on the day of travel for $7.50.
On rural express routes, a top-up of $1.00 or 1 ticket is required.
The DayPass is also the perfect way for families to travel and explore the city! On weekends and statutory holidays, the whole family travels all day with one DayPass. A family can consist of two adults and up to four children (under the age of 12).
Note: you should have exact change - Operators do not make change.
OTC is Ottawa's transit system. At $3 for a regular, one-way trip, it's a comparatively expensive but comprehensive system which will get you around fairly easy if you wish to leave Downtown.
The secret to Ottawa's buses are the bus tickets. These tickets can be purchased for $1 per at OTC booths at select stops along the Transitway, at the airport and at certain vendor locations (such as the Metro supermarket, just ask for them). This allows you to trade hard currency for usable fare passes. You need 2 tickets to ride once on a regular bus, thereby saving you $1. You can buy individually or in packs of 6.
The Transitway buses are fast and furious, but are your best way of getting around. Note though that the drivers don't always announce stops, so you may want to ask them beforehand to let you know when you're approaching your stop, then sit towards the front of the bus. All stops on the Transitway feature a map of the OTC system.
If taking the ViaRail train, note that you cannot buy bus tickets at the station and will have to pay the full, cash fare of $3. The signs are fairly obvious and the bus stop is called, simply, "Train." #94 or #95 will get you into town and sometimes operate with an "X" at the end, indicating express service, although there doesn't seem to be much of a difference in the number of stops these buses take.
Voyageur/Greyhound Canada has several departures a day to Montreal. The buses are very comfortable but a little too cold for my taste (bring a jacket) and the road there is quite beautiful, with lots of autumn colors and beautiful buildings. I managed to take some pictures and I wish I had better skills in the art of picture taking when the object I'm in (or on?) is in movement. More on-the-road pictures can be found on my Montreal page.
The Ottawa terminal can be found at 265 Catherine street.
Getting to and from Ottawa by bus you will arrive (or depart) from Ottawa's Central Bus Station - which isn't really central at all!!
The bus station is situated south of downtown at 265 Catherine Street on the corner of Catherine and Kent and is connected to downtown by the OCTranspo buses 1 and 7. There are hourly departures during the day for Montreal, regular buses for Toronto as well as local rural services.
The system here for getting the bus seems to be to arrive with your ticket at least half-an-hour before departure (tickets are also available from the bus station on the day but are more expensive) and queue awaiting boarding. Once the bus is full it departs and another bus for that route will only be provided if there are enough people still waiting, otherwise you have to wait for the next scheduled departure.
Ottawa has the best bus system in the world. It doesn't compare to the trains in Tokyo, but for buses...it's tops. They even have their own roads and it's like a bus city...you have to experience it. (Take 95) from downtown to Orleans for a nice long trip.
These beautiful, panoramic buses will take you from and to Ottawa in style... They have air-conditioning and superior comfort. Just can't beat the price and it is an excellent alternative to the plane or train.
You can get the ticket in advance on-line, on the phone or in person. There are several local bus companies that operate such buses. Check out the site enclosed below. Ride in style and stay cool while keep your money for other things besides transportation. The driver normally helps you place your luggage into cargo space before the journey. Buon Voyage! :)
WE left Montreal by train and our tour bus met us at the train station and took us around all day then back to JOLIETTE in the evening, We left at 8.10 PM and arrived at 11.20 PM.