Hey Wolfpack! It’s Vidya again, and this blog is gonna be all about transportation in Toronto. I’ve commuted back and forth to school for the past 3 years, so i definitely know a thing or two about finding your way around! My personal commute consists of driving, then a bus, then a train, then subway, and some walking. You can even throw an Uber in every now and then.
To those new commuters, i know it seems like a lot to do it every day, but don't worry! The art of commuting teaches you to be the most efficient with your time. For the non-commuters or those who are new to Toronto, this is also for you! As student going to such a large school, it’s important to know the best ways you can get around!
The Toronto Transit Commission is a great way to get around toronto. With many stops in the city core, its easy to hop on the subway to get where you want fast. There are four lins that make up the subway system.
The Yonge-University line (or the yellow line) runs on Yonge street from Finch to Yonge, and then back up to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. The portion of the yellow line north of Downsview station is brand new - and connects to York university too! This line can get you to many major spots in Toronto, such as Union station (GO Transit, Scotiabank stadium, Ripley’s aquarium, and CN Tower), the Eaton Centre, the ROM, Kensington Market, and more.
The Bloor Danforth line (or green line) runs east to west from Kipling to Kennedy, and cuts through the yellow line at Bloor Yonge and St. George. These two stops are intersecting stations, where you can transfer from the green to yellow line.
These two lines will make up the most of your travels, and the Scarborough and Sheppard lines are used more for commuting.
Along with the subway system, the bus and streetcar system above ground connects you to all the spots that the subway doesn't. Toronto is a pretty straightforward grid system, so hopping on and off streetcars are not too difficult if you know which direction you're heading.
The TTC is great, but only if everyone cooperates and makes it easy for their fellow riders. Here are some etiquette tips for when you are commuting.
Backpack Off - The subways, buses, and streetcars get cramped during rush hour, so take your bags off to make room for others!
Blue seats - There are red seats and blue ones on the TTC. The general rule is you can sit wherever there's space, but if someone who has accessible needs needs to sit down, the blue seats are for them. If you see someone with accessibility needs, offer your seat to them.
Getting on the subway - Wait by the doors of the subway to let people off BEFORE you step on, otherwise it can become confusing and messy.
Escalators - This is a general rule for all escalators. If you'd like to enjoy the ride, step to the right to let the ones in a hurry walk up the escalator.
APP SUGGESTION: I use the app called Rocketman to help me find out when buses or streetcars will arrive, this helps me schedule my trips even better!
PAYING FOR TRANSIT
Change: You can pay fare using change as well, which is accepted on all TTC transit. Click here for transit fares and info.
METROPASS: Metropasses are monthly passes you can purchase that grant you access to TTC transportation. They are a card, and showing them to the streetcar/bus driver, TTC subway employee, or swipe at the subway to enter. You can purchase a student metropass for a discounted price, but you are required to have an additional TTC photo ID as well, which you can get from certain subway stations. To get all the prices and info and you need about these, click here.
PRESTO: The presto card is becoming the most common way of paying for transit. Originally, presto cards were used to pay for GO Transit, however Metrolinx has now teamed with the TTC to combine payment into one card. With a presto card, you can pay for TTC and GO Transit. The cards are reloadable, and there are reloading stations at almost all transit systems now. You can reload them, and keep track of your spending when you register your card online, and you can now load monthly TTC passes onto your Presto card as well. To pay for TTC transit with your Presto, simply tap your card onto the green Presto readers at the subway, or on a bus or streetcar. Just remember that if you are on one of the new streetcars, you must get a transfer slip for your proof of payment! To get full overview of Presto and what you can do with it, click here.
TOKENS/TICKETS: Tokens, or tickets can be bought from vending machines or collector booths at any station. You can buy tokens at any quantity, and tickets are sold in multiples of 5 or 10. Each of these are good for one trip only. Student tickets can also be purchased at a lower price. Click here for more info!
WEEKLY/DAY PASS: There are weekly and day passes if you're only traveling around for a short time, but if you're going to UofT, these probably won't apply to you. If you want to find out more about these, click here.
Be Careful though!
If you are moving from one form of transit to another, make sure you have a transfer!
POP: Make sure you always have proof of your payment. If you are on a new streetcar, there are machines on the car where you must get a slip that shows your proof of payment when you pay by Presto or change. These show transit police that you've done your job. Don't assume that you can just hop on a car and avoid the fare! Its especially important to have your POP if you are hopping on a bus/streetcar that is going to a subway station, there are sometimes transit inspectors that request your POP upon arrival.
Transfers: You can get transfers from the subway station, that show a bus/streetcar driver that you've already paid, and you can get a transfer on a streetcar or bus to show another streetcar or bus driver, or subway collector that youve already paid. Without this, you can be denied entry, and pay another fare.
To learn more about Proof of Payment, click here.
METROLINX / GO TRANSIT
Shout out to the commuters! Union Station (located at the bottom of the yellow line) is home of the commuting hub. Union connects the subway, with GO Transit and ViaRail which go outside of the city. If you’re living somewhere outside of Toronto, then its likely that you'll be taking the go at one point or another. The Go Train station is located inside union, where there is 27 platforms that continuously move people in and out of the city. Its constantly busy, and can sometimes be confusing, but once or twice in the bustle of it all and you’ll be an expert. GO Transit also has buses running, at the Bus Station across the street. If you need to find schedules for a route from where you live, visit GO Transit’s website and you will find everything you need to know.
To get all the info you need on routes and schedules, click here to go to GO Transit's website!
paying for Go transit
Now, I would try to explain Presto payment in detail, but the GO Transit website has a great brochure on everything you need to know. Click here to check it out!