Toronto's Front Street and Union Station in March
Union Station on Front Street in Toronto.
Sightseeing Guy

It's convenient to travel between Toronto and Niagara Falls by public transit. Both VIA Rail and GO Transit provide reliable services on this route.

VIA Rail offers one train service per day. The Toronto-Niagara Falls journey takes one hour and 56 minutes. From Toronto's Union Station to Niagara Falls, the train leaves at 8:20 AM. From Niagara Falls to Toronto, the train leaves at 5:45 PM.

Waiting for train back to Toronto at Burlington GO station
Waiting for train back to Toronto on the platform of Burlington GO station. Photo: Sightseeing Guy

GO Transit, a regional public transit system in Ontario, also runs between Toronto's Union Station and Niagara Falls. The GO Transit services are more frequent. However, the train runs only between Toronto and Burlington. At the Burlington station, you need to get off the train and switch to a GO bus heading to Niagara Falls. Altogether, the train and bus journey takes two hours and 41 minutes.

VIA Rail sells tickets online for both VIA Rail and Go Transit trips between Toronto and Niagara Falls. If you purchase your tickets weeks in advance, you may get a round-trip fare for as low as $37.5 with Go Transit or $49.72 with VIA Rail, taxes included.

VIA Rail vs. GO Transit
  Transport mode Connections Duration Frequency Departure Arrival Lowest fares
VIA Rail Train 0 1 h 56 m 1 per day Toronto Union Station Niagara Falls Train Station $49.72
GO Transit Train + bus 1 2 h 41 m 13 per day Toronto Union Station Niagara Falls Bus Terminal $37.5

Overall, the VIA Rail option is fast and straightforward. The GO Transit option is slower, although it's also cheaper and more flexible. The rest of this guide explains how to take GO Transit between Toronto and Niagara Falls.

Toronto-Niagara Falls route map
Toronto-Niagara Falls route map. The red line represents the train route; the green line represents the bus route. Illustration: Go Transit

Union Station

Toronto's Union Station is not easy to navigate. Keep in mind the GO Train and Bus are in separate areas. Do not confuse GO Bus boarding area with Go Train boarding area.

Overhead sign inside Union Station
On this overhead sign inside the Union Station, there are two GO Transit directions: one for GO Bus and one for GO Train. Follow the GO Train sign to the train boarding area. Photo: Sightseeing Guy

Lakeshore West train line

For the train, you will take the Lakeshore West train line. Starting at Union, the train will stop at Exibition, Mimico, Long Branch, Port Credit, Clarkson, Oakville, Bronte, Appleby, before arriving at Burlington.

Burlington

You get off the train at the Burlington station. Follow the bus sign and walk for about 5 minutes to reach the bus boarding area.

Bus 12 unloads passengers at Burlington GO station
Bus 12 unloads passengers at Burlington GO station in summer. Photo: Sightseeing Guy

Your tickets may give you a tight connection time of 10 minutes. Don't worry if you miss the bus or train. You can always take the next one. Similarly, if you arrive earlier than expected, you can also take the earlier bus or train.

Bus 12 and 12B

At the Burlington bus station, you may see bus 12, 12A, 12B, and 12D. Only bus 12 and 12B go to Niagara Falls. Bus 12 takes one hour and 20 minutes. Bus 12B, an express service, takes only 55 minutes. Additionally, 12B mostly runs on the highway, making the trip more comfortable. Therefore, 12B is strongly recommended, if you ever see it.

Bus 12 and 12B stops between Burlington and Niagara Falls
Burlington GO Nash Rd. @ Barton St. Casablanca Blvd. @ QEW Ontario St. @ QEW St. Catharines Fairview Mall Stanley Ave. @ Hwy. 420 Niagara Falls Bus Terminal
12, 12B 12 12 12 12 12, 12B 12, 12B
         

20-minute walk to:

Sheraton on the Falls Hotel

Courtyard by Marriott Niagara Falls

DoubleTree Fallsview Resort & Spa by Hilton

Falls Avenue Resort

5-minute walk to:

Ramada Niagara Falls by the River

No matter which bus you take, you need to know when to get off. If you will stay in the popular tourist district, get off at the second last stop, which is Stanley Ave. and Hwy. 420. From there, it's about 20 minutes' walk to downtown Niagara Falls. Note: when it's hot outside, the walk can be less pleasant due to lack of trees in the street.

If you don't get off at Stanley Ave. and Hwy. 420, the bus will take you to the final stop: Niagara Falls Bus Terminal. From there, you may take a taxi to your destination.