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How to ride

New to transit in Ottawa? We'll help you get started.

Helpful info

Plan ahead

Use the Travel Planner to know the route options between your origin and your destination.

Make sure you check out notes in your trip plans.Notes give important information about routes, stops and detours. Example of a Travel Planner note

Use Route Schedules and Stop Schedules features for scheduled trip times.

Going to an Ottawa landmark or a major event? Our Destinations & Events page makes it easy to plan your trip.

Get real-time bus and train arrivals at your stop or station

Check the status of your route on our Alerts page or by signing up for alerts.


The Presto smartcard is the best value.

You can use money stored on your Presto card here in Ottawa even if you bought your card in another city.

We offer many fare options. You can pay per ride, per 1, 3, 5 or 7 days, or per month. Some customers may also qualify for discounts.

All O-Train stations have ticket machines. Machines accept cash, credit and debit. If you need help to buy your fare, use the video chat help option.

O-Train stations have fare gates leading to the platforms. Tap your smartcard or scan your transfer to open the gates.

If you pay with cash on the bus, make sure you have exact change. Fare boxes can’t make change! Wait for your transfer to print before heading to your seat. Your transfer is your proof of payment. 

You can use your OC Transpo pass or transfer on the STO network. We accept STO passes and transfers on all routes.

Rider tips

Help us make boarding quick and easy: let customers exit the vehicle before getting on.

If someone has a difficulty standing in a moving vehicle, give them your seat.

Make sure the driver has a clear line of sight. If you are standing, always stay behind the yellow line.

Do not stand in the stairwell of double decker buses.

Look and listen for your upcoming stop. Don’t forget to ring the bell to let the driver know you want to stop.

More travel tips


A series of markers, maps, signs and screens will guide you throughout your journey. Route numbers, symbols and colours reflect route types and the service they offer.

Finding the bus stop number on a signBus stop signs list the routes serving the stop:

  • The direction of the route is written next to the route number.
  • You can find your stop number at the bottom right corner of the sign.

Park & Ride

We offer over 9,000 free spots at Park & Ride lots across the city.

  • Lots at Baseline, Blair (Telesat), Jeanne d’Arc & Ray Friel require a permit
  • Spots at Eagleson and Place d’Orléans fill up fast! Arrive early or buy a Gold permit to reserve your space.

Safety & Security

After 7 pm, you can ask the driver to drop you off at a closer spot along your bus route.

After 9 pm, all routes at select stations will serve the Transecure stop instead of their usual stops. These stops are centrally located and well lit.

Transecure waiting area icon
This sign marks Transecure waiting areas

Call Transit Law 613-741-2478 or TTY 613-842-3699If you feel unsafe, please: Let OC Transpo Know!

  • Use an emergency phone or passenger alarm
  • Tell the driver
  • Call Transit Law at 613-741-2478


All buses, trains and stations are accessible:

  • Buses lower to the curbside and have ramps for easy boarding
  • Trains doors open at platform level
  • Trains and buses have Cooperative Seating that can accommodate mobility devices
  • Multi-level stations have ramps and elevators as well as stairs. Sign up for elevator status updates.

If you can’t take regular buses and the O-Train due to a disability, Para Transpo provides door-to-door service. You must pre-register before using this service.

We allow service animals aboard all our vehicles.

Your support person rides free when you pay your fare.

All buses and trains make visual and audio announcements of upcoming stops.

When a bus or train pulls into a stop, a speaker will call out the route number and destination.

Bikes on board

We make it easy to bring your bike along on your trips:

  • You can bring your bike on the train all year round
  • Every year from spring to fall, we equip more than 600 buses with a bike rack. Select the Travel Planner’s “Rack & Roll” option to plan a trip on a route with a rack

You will also find bike-friendly features at transit stations:

  • Almost all stations have bike parking
  • Some stations have bike shelters, bike repair kits or bike runnels (stairwell ramps)

Rural residents

Ten rural park & ride lots offer peak-period Connexion service between rural communities and downtown Ottawa.

Our regional partners provide bus service to downtown Ottawa from various nearby towns and communities.

We provide free once-a-week service from rural communities to shopping centres in the city. Learn more about Shopper routes »