Take a trip on the LRT
September 23, 2019 | Katie Wall
The Region of Waterloo recently launched Stage 1 of the ION light rail transit (LRT). With a total of 19 stops, the light rail runs from Conestoga station in Waterloo to Fairway station in Kitchener. This new transportation service provides an efficient, and convenient alternative commuting method, and will reduce the usage of cars in our community. As the population of Waterloo Region increases, the LRT will decrease the need for urban sprawl, and will protect the agricultural lands and nature surrounding our local area. The ION is already stimulating business and residential ventures along it’s corridor and is contributing positively to the sustainable development of our community!
PLANNING YOUR TRIP
There are a total of 14 ION trains that run every 10 to 15 minutes between 5 am and 1 am daily.
You can use the GRT EasyGo Mobile App for Android or IOS to plan your trip on the ION, all you need to do is enter your starting point and destination and the trip will be set up for you. You can also text your four digits stop number (found on the departures screen on your platform) to 57555, or call 519-585-7555 and you can receive real-time departure information.
To pay for the LRT you can tap your EasyGo fare card on the platform card reader, available on all platforms. If you don’t have an EasyGo fare card, you can purchase one at the vending machine also available on the platform. These are reloadable cards that you can add payment to if you plan to ride the ION often. Otherwise, you can simply pay for a single trip with cash or credit on the fare vending machine, and your ticket will be valid for unlimited rides on the train within 90 minutes of your purchase. University students with student cards can scan their bus pass (it’s free!).
USING THE TRAIN
To board the train, press the red button on the centre of the doors when the light turns green. Once you’re on the train, take a seat and relax! The trains are equipped with WIFI and charging ports.
Feel free to bring your bicycle on the train- you can stand in the priority seating area, and make sure you hold onto your bike at all times. If the priority seating is occupied, or the train is too crowded, just wait for the next train.
The train stops at every single station along the route, so there is no need to signal for your stop. Each stop will be announced over the intercom and will also be displayed on a screen in the train. If you are riding the ION with a mobility device, press the blue accessible stop request button in the priority seating area to notify the driver that you will require extra time to exit the train.
As you’re riding, check out the 10 public art installations that are featured along the ION corridor.
A few notes about pedestrian safety around the ION light rail:
- Stay alert near the tracks as the trains run on electricity and are quiet, so you may not always hear a train coming!
- Stick to the crosswalks when crossing the light rail tracks and follow pedestrian crossing signals.
- Mind the railway gate barrier. Make sure the lights have stopped flashing and the barrier is completely up before you cross.
- Before boarding the train, remain behind the yellow platform edge until the train has come to a complete stop. Make sure you let off passengers before you board. (ION Etiquette!)
Not near an ION station? There are bus connections to the ION stations available and provides a direct link to the system. When you pay your fare on the bus, your ticket will act as a 90-minute transfer!
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