My name is Liesel, I’ve worked at Green Venture for a little over a year, and lived in the neighbourhood for 3 years. My primary mode of transportation is the city bus, or HSR as it’s referred to in Hamilton. I help to run our Fresh Air for Kids program with focuses on air quality and even made it my pledge to take the bus when running those workshops.
I really enjoy riding the bus and find it to be a relaxing way to get around the city. It gives me time to do things like catch up on work emails, listen to music or an audio book, knit, mend, or other portable crafts, and I’ve even been known to join a work meeting or two. I will also sometimes use the trip as a time to take a step away from the hustle and bustle of a busy day and just do nothing without any guilt. Most of the time I stay to myself as do a lot of others, however there is also the opportunity to get to know your neighbours if you are feeling like talking. The most anyone has ever spoken to me on a bus ride was when I was knitting baby booties – I got to talk to other like minded people who enjoy making things, we swapped stories of the things we were working on and shared tips that we’ve learned over time. It provided an opportunity for building community that I otherwise wouldn’t have had in other methods of transportation.
At this point I’ve taken countless trips to and from EcoHouse on the bus, so I like to think I am a pretty good person to help others navigate the trip. Whether you want to start taking the bus to help reduce your carbon footprint or because it is the method of transportation that makes the most sense for you I hope I can help you feel more confident finding your way to EcoHouse on the HSR!
Planning Your Trip
There are two routes that pass close to EcoHouse: the 4 (Bayfront) and the 5 (Delaware) and all stops are within a 5 minute walk. While there is only one route the 4 takes, there are many different versions of the 5, each having different end points. When traveling eastbound towards EcoHouse you will need the 5E which ends at Quigley & Greenhill. Leaving EcoHouse going westbound the version of the 5 available is 52 Governors & Pirie. Quigley Rd. at Greenhill is the last stop on the 5E route and the drivers will stop here for their break. This means that you will often see a bus parked here waiting to become the 5 Delaware – 52 to Governors & Pirie in about a half an hour from when it drops you off. The route number, name and end destination are shown on the large overhead sign on the bus; make sure to double check you have the right 5 before getting on. You can always ask the driver to be sure you have the right bus, and in my experience they have always been friendly and very helpful!
Bus Routes and Corresponding Stops
- 4 Bayfront (westbound): Quigley Road At Veevers, bus stop number 2998
- 5 Delaware – 52 (westbound): Quigley Road At Veevers, bus stop number 2998
- 4 Bayfront (eastbound): Quigely Road Opposite Veevers, bus stop number 2996
- 5 Delaware – 5E (eastbound): Quigley Road At Greenhill, bus stop number 2450
You can use the HSR system map to get a general idea of what your route may look like, and then look at the PDF bus schedules to figure out the timing. This task can be confusing and rather daunting if you don’t live along one of the two routes that pass by us and will need to make one or more transfers. Thankfully the technology exists to help plan your route for you, making the process easy and stress free: Google Maps or the HSRnow Trip Planner. Both apps will work on a computer or your phone with access to Wi-Fi or data.
To Use the trip planning function in Google Maps put the location you wish to get to and then click directions and select the little bus icon which will say transit if you hover over it. Now input your starting location and Google will offer you some possible routes. If you are on your computer you can select the time you wish to depart or arrive as well. The app will map out the buses you need to take when to transfer and any walking that needs to be done in between. It will also provide updates as to whether the bus is on time, early or running late. I will normally plan my routes out before I leave for a trip, however when things change such as an appointment going longer than I expected I like to look it up at the time I am leaving. This allows me to determine if I should wait for the next bus on the route I had planned or take a different one. Another feature I really like with this trip planning method is that it will tell you all of the stops along your route and keep track of where you are in real time making it easier to keep track of how far away you are from your stop. Since Google maps is used as a GPS for various methods of transportation it will tell you what time you need to leave your house to account for walking time which I personally find very helpful.
The HSRnow Trip Planner works very similarly, when using the trip planning function you are able to input your starting and ending destination and the app will show you the best routes to take. Both the computer and mobile versions will allow you to choose from leaving now or setting a future date/time. This tool also allows you to see when the next departures are for the nearby stops which can be very helpful when planning for an immediate trip or checking to see if the bus you planned to take is on time.
Currently there are three ways to pay for your bus ticket: with cash, a PRESTO card, or PRESTO E-Tickets. The cash fare for an adult is currently $3.25 and must be paid in exact change, However the Fare for an adult using a PRESTO card or E-Ticket is $2.60. If you are going to be using the HSR frequently a PRESTO card is the most efficient and affordable way to pay, However if you don’t plan to take transit often and have a working smart phone the E-Ticket may be the way to go.
In order to use a PRESTO Card you must first purchase the card, which will cost 6 dollars, and can be purchased online or in person at one of the following locations:
- HSR Customer Service Centre at 36 Hunter St. East (GO Station)
- City Hall or Municipal Service Centres in Dundas, Ancaster or Stoney Creek
- Any Shopper’s Drug Mart or Fortinos location in Hamilton
Children ages 0-5 travel free with an adult and don’t need their own PRESTO card. Children ages 6-12 are also able to ride for free (until April 2023) but they need a valid children’s PRESTO card. You can purchase one from the above locations or get a free one from the Hamilton Public Library while supplies last. Youth ages 13-19 and seniors 65+ get a discounted Fare rate of $2.15 when using a youth or senior PRESTO card but they must also show photo ID. Setting up a child or youth card should be done in person at one of the above locations. After you have your card you can top up the balance online using a credit card or at one of the in person locations. More information about using a PRESTO card can be found here and more information on fares can be found here.
PRESTO E-Tickets can be purchased, stored and activated all through the PRESTO E-Tickets app, available for download on your phone through the app store. You will need to pay for your ticket using a Credit card or Debit Mastercard/ Visa Debit. You will need to Activate your ticket on your phone just prior to boarding the bus, the app will then display a QR code that you will scan on the PRESTO machine. Unlike with using the PRESTO card you can pay for more than one person to ride the bus using the same account with the PRESTO E-ticket app. More information on using PRESTO E-Tickets can be found here.
If you need to transfer buses on your trip and you are paying in cash, ask the driver for a paper transfer. It will be valid for a two-hour window from the time you paid and you will need to show it to the driver when you get on your next bus. If you are using a PRESTO card the transfer will happen automatically when you tap your card within the two hour transfer window. More information about transferring buses within the HSR system and to Burlington transit can be found here.
I hope to see you at EcoHouse soon and maybe we will even run into each other while traveling the city on the bus!