In this series, I will talk about how to use Buffalo as an alternate airport to Toronto.
- Buffalo Airport Overview
- Examples of savings
- Driving to Buffalo Airport from Toronto
- Where to park at Buffalo Airport
- Getting to Buffalo Airport – The 1-way Car Rental
- Getting to Buffalo Airport – Bus, Shuttle & Taxis
- Using Buffalo Airport when visiting Toronto
In previous posts, I have commented on how to get to Buffalo airport by car and how to use a 1-way car rental if you are not interested in taking your own car there. Sometimes, taking a car is just not the right solution for you. In this post, I’ll talk about the options of getting to Buffalo if you just want to have someone else deal with the driving.
As a recap, here are the options for people who are not interested in taking their own car to Buffalo.
|Option||Dollar Cost||Time Cost||Notes|
|1-way car rental||$65-$150 / day car rental + gas||90 minutes||Rates vary for car rentals between YYZ & BUF airports|
|Bus||$20 / person||3 hours (often closer to 4 hours)||All passengers must get off the bus with their luggage when crossing the border|
|Airport Shuttle||$100 / person||90 minutes||Shuttle between YYZ & BUF airports|
|Taxi||~$200 / trip||90 minutes||Depends on location in GTA|
Please see this post for a discussion on the 1-way car rental.
The bus is definitely the most economical way to get to Buffalo airport. This is definitely one of those situations where you get what you pay for. There are a few carriers who do the route from Toronto’s downtown bus terminal at Bay & Dundas right to Buffalo Airport.
The prices tend to change often, but in my experience, the bus ticket is around $20, depending on which carrier you go with. There are 2 carriers that run this route. Check Megabus and Greyhound for the most updated schedules.
Bus – Routes
All buses that do the route from Toronto will go between Toronto’s downtown Bus Terminal at Bay & Dundas and go to Buffalo’s bus terminal at 181 Ellicott St or to Niagara Falls Airport. Many of the buses will continue after that to make a stop at Buffalo Airport, on the way to New York and other points east.
If you end up departing / arriving at a time that is very inconvenient for the Greyhound or Megabus buses direct to Buffalo airport, Buffalo Niagara’s local bus 24 and express bus 204 run the route from the Buffalo terminal at Ellicott St. to the airport. Check out the links at metro.nfta.com.
Bus – My expreiences
In my experience, I find that all the bus carriers tend to underestimate how long it will take to get through the border. As a result, the arrival at the Buffalo terminal tends to often be late (by significant amounts of time) when going to Buffalo. Greyhound tends to build in a nice buffer for a change at Buffalo terminal, but Megabus schedules don’t seem to allow for that. If your bus ends up being held up at the border on the way to BUF, you can call a taxi to take you to the airport. That trip will cost you about $30 (if you are at the Fort Erie bridge where Megabus always crosses).
On the trips from Buffalo to Toronto, I have often found that Megabus, although there is no scheduled delay at Buffalo terminal, tends to wait for a very long time before departing. If you are on the 2:45PM bus out of Buffalo, this means that you are delayed on your departure, but that you are also driving right into traffic during rush hour the entire way to Toronto. The schedules are constantly being adjusted to account for this, but be aware that the arrival times can be very erratic.
Niagara Airbus provides a shuttle service between Toronto’s Pearson Airport area, downtown Toronto and Buffalo Airport. This seems like a very good option if you are by yourself. They also will pick you up from your home or hotel provided it is on the route.
The fare looks to be about $100, but if you book online, and in advance, you will get a 10% discount. Given that you should probably tip your driver, you should budget about $100 / person each way. At the time of this posting, they have a buy 1 get 1 special, so 2 people can go to Buffalo for about $100. With the shuttle, it is a per person fare, so this makes more sense for a smaller group.
I personally have never taken this shuttle service before, but I have taken airport shuttles before. If I were in the position to use this service, I would definitely give it a try. If anyone has experience taking this, please feel free to comment on your experiences.
There are a few operators that provide shuttle / taxi service from BUF to the greater Toronto area. In general, the dedicated, door to door services will cost you in the range of $200, but this is a significant savings over stepping into a yellow taxi at the airport.
Here are the rates for a few providers that I have seen:
|Carrier||Rates to BUF from Toronto downtown||Contact||Notes|
|AAA Taxis||$220||Website Tel:905-581-3993|
|Airport Express||$200||Website Tel:800-604-1570|
|Buffalo Airport Shuttle||$120 – $170||Website Tel:877-750-2550||Rates for specific zones listed on the website|
In my opinion, this is not the best way to get to Buffalo airport. If you are by yourself, then the Niagara Airbus shuttle (previous section) is a good option. If you are in a group, then you would likely be better off by getting a dedicated car.
I think that often, the savings that you might have by flying from BUF (over YYZ) are lost if you are spending so much money on a taxi / shuttle from Toronto to BUF. This is influenced by where you live in the city, so make sure to do your own comparisons.
There are public options for people who are not interested in dealing with taking a car to Buffalo.
Bus – Cheapest option, but often late and you have to empty the bus at the border
Shuttle – Good option for individual or couples traveling
Taxi – Door to door service that makes sense, depending on where you live in the city
In the next post, I’ll talk about how people who are visiting Toronto can worry about transportation from Buffalo airport.