As enticing as it might be to spend the next couple of weekends cooped up in your residence, hanging out in one of your floor mates rooms, binging Netflix or enjoying the plethora of food options in your cafeteria, there is so much worth doing outside of Western’s corridors. Whether you’re taking the route 2 to downtown or the route 13 to CF Masonville, familiarize yourself with the following routes, hop on a bus and explore the city.
London Transit Commission
The LTC has been operating as London’s public transit since 1875 — originally as a horse-drawn streetcar — and it will be your main form of transportation over the next four years. While the LTC will get you to and from campus and home, if you can navigate the routes properly, it can also act as your gateway outside of the Western bubble and into the tightly knit villages in the city.
All full-time Mustangs can take transit with ease, since a percentage of tuition fees is put towards a year-long bus pass, which can be accessed through students’ Western ONECard. Students cannot opt-out of this fee, but don’t fret: it will prove to be one of your most important tools during your university experience, especially during London's winter.
Major stops: Natural Science Centre, Alumni Hall, Oxford and Wharncliffe, King and Richmond, Dundas and Adelaide, Dundas and Highbury
On route: London Museum, Budweiser Gardens, Greyhound Canada, Fire Roasted Coffee Co., Covent Garden Market, Citi Plaza, The Early Bird, Heroes Comics, Aeolian Hall, Labatt Park, London Music Hall, Illbury + Goose
By far the busiest bus on campus, you will see route 2 buses passing by more often than you’ll see your parents over the next four years. During peak times, the route 2 frequents its stops every 15 to 30 minutes. Driving through London’s downtown core, route 2 will provide you with the perfect escape from all things school-related.
Hop off at King Street and Talbot Street to be within walking distance of all of the city’s concert halls, as well as Covent Garden Market, where you can bask in the assortment of local merchants as well as an outdoor farmers’ market.
Or get off at Dundas Street and Ontario Street to step foot into Old East Village and take advantage of the aesthetically charming local coffee shops and eateries.
Due to a massive reconstruction project south of campus, buses won't be stopping on Wharncliffe Road between Oxford Street and Platts Lane, which will likely have a heavy impact on students during the fall.
According to the LTC director of planning, Katie Burns, there are no bus stops on Western Road/Wharncliffe Road that can safely be served by transit between Oxford Street and south of Phillip Aziz Avenue.
“We are working with the construction company and are checking on a regular basis to determine if there are safe stopping locations,” said Burns in an email. “If and when we are able to safely board and de-board passengers, additional stops will be opened.”
According to Burns, work on the road redevelopment will stretch until the end of November.
Major stops: Natural Science Centre, University Hospital, Richmond and Oxford, Richmond and Queens, Richmond and King
On route: King Richie’s, St. Joseph’s Hospital, McCabe’s Irish Pub, Plant Matter Cafe, Molly Bloom’s, The Ceeps, El Furniture Warehouse, The Barking Frog, Burger Burger, Dos Tacos, Prince Albert’s Diner, Victoria Park, Grand Theatre
Route 6 is commonly used amongst upper-year Mustangs living in student-housing along Richmond Street, and with the spine of Richmond Row on this route, forget a taxi or Uber — simply take this bus to the bar.
With the Row along the route, students can hop off the route 6 bus and laze in an assortment of bars and nightclubs, including Western’s unofficial pub since 1890, The Ceeps, and one of London’s newer joints, El Furniture Warehouse.
If you’re not in the mood for drinks and want to spend time on some greenery, get off at Richmond Street and Kent Street and enjoy London’s 18-acre park — Victoria Park.
On weekdays, expect the route 6 to frequent its stops every 20 to 30 minutes.
According to Burns, the intersection of Richmond Street and Dundas Street in downtown London will be closed starting sometime in September, with six to eight weeks of construction taking place, impacting all northbound and southbound buses, including the route 6, 13, 102 and 106.
Major stops: CF Masonville, University Hospital, Oxford and Richmond, Richmond and Queens, Wellington and York, Wellington and Base Line
On route: CF Masonville, Nando’s, Five Guys, Indigo, McCabe’s Irish Pub, Plant Matter Cafe, Molly Bloom’s, The Ceeps, El Furniture Warehouse, The Barking Frog, Burger Burger, Dos Tacos, Prince Albert’s Diner, Victoria Park, The Grand Theatre.
Similar to the route 6, route 13 passes through Richmond Row, and it also stretches even further along Richmond Street to CF Masonville. Recently, the mall underwent a major redevelopment, adding a number of stores. Want to go shopping at H&M or Zumiez? Want to go gift shopping for your parents? Fiending for some Taco Bell? Masonville has you covered.
The mall is a go-to hub for students looking to shop, and it also contains a number of retail stores and restaurants in the surrounding area, not to mention an LCBO and The Beer Store.
Route 102 and Route 106
Major stops: Natural Science Centre, Richmond and Oxford, Richmond and Dundas, Oxford and Wharncliffe
LTC rolled out the 102 and the 106 in 2016 to deal with overcrowded buses on route 2 and route 6. While the 102 operates along Wharncliffe and Western Road, the 106 operates along Richmond.
Both routes stop at Natural Science Centre on one end and downtown London on the other. During peak times, expect either bus to arrive at its stop every 10 to 15 minutes.
While these routes have previously only been available during weekdays, they will start serving students during the weekend starting Sept. 2, according to Burns.
These buses run between main campus and the three affiliate colleges. Stops for these routes are found around campus, including Alumni Hall, University Main Gates and Middlesex College.
These buses offer the perfect ride for affiliate students and main campus students taking courses at one of the affiliate colleges.
For more information on route times, go to the King’s and Brescia bus route schedules.
With libraries across campus open 24 hours during exam seasons in December and April, it’s only fitting to have a free bus to take you to and from campus and home during those late night study sessions.
These buses depart from Oxford Drive in front of the University Community Centre every half-hour during exam seasons, following different routes to get students home.
Another USC-provided service, this bus route was basically created to haul students home from the bars after the LTC stops operating for the night. All full-time and part-time students are eligible to ride the shuttle.
The Mustang Express will run between 12:30 am and 3:00 am, picking up students every 15 minutes.
According to the USC transportation web page, students can pick up a Mustang Express sticker at the Purple Store.
Western’s Accessible Transportation Service
Travelling between university locations, including affiliate colleges, WATS is designated for students with disabilities. Students can request this service by contacting a counsellor to obtain the proper documentation.
While moving to a new city may be hard — in a new location with little familiarity — don’t just stick close to campus. Make an effort to explore the city and take advantage of the different forms of public transportation at your service.