Toronto is a bustling city where you don’t usually need a car to get around town. While some transportation systems can be confusing or intimidating, this city offers visitors and locals a system that is helpful and affordable.
The Toronto Transportation system is the most steadily used public mass transit system in Canada. According to many travel advisors, visitors, and locals; the Public Transit System in Toronto is a great way to get around the city and suburbs. It is easy to use, diverse, economical transportation system and fast compared to other types of transportation.
Easy To Use
The Public Transit System in Toronto operates all the transportation services in the city which covers subways, buses, streetcars, and paratransit. The system is easy to navigate. A single fare is paid for each one-way destination and covers all forms of transportation services within the city. There aren’t restrictive fare zones so, you can transfer routes for free if the changes take place in between routes (there is a fee or new fare to pay for a return trip and for stops in a different area.
Easy fare options are available to suit everyone from the occasional visitor to the daily riders. Payments for fares can be in PRESTO card, cash (if paying cash, get a free paper transfer to use as proof of paid fare and to allow for a change between routes).
The unlimited passes offer flexibility so, you can depart from the buses or streetcars at any stop to shop, sightsee, or dine and then get back on from any other stop.
Subways stations are easy to find. The entrances and exits are well marked. There are signs near the entrances and exits that give the nearby streets and compass direction. Also, maps are posted above doors in subways and interactive maps of the subway can be viewed online.
Buses and streetcars have signs above doors that have a number and name that tells the last stop the bus or streetcar will make and the route number to help determine the correct stops.
There is a good selection of different modes of transportation that is available in Toronto. Because the Public Transit System in Toronto includes buses, subways, streetcars, and paratransit it can provide services to most people in the city and some suburbs.
Subway trains are generally the best form of transportation in Toronto. There are four main lines with extensive routes that run about every two minutes during rush hour and about every five minutes at other times. Service starts early, about six am till about two in the morning.
The stations have safe designated waiting areas monitored via security cameras. Only 36 out of a total of 69 subway stations are accessible to people with disabilities or who are in wheelchairs. Some stations offer assistance with boarding and deboarding for people using mobility assistive devices. The accessible subway trains have designated spaces for wheelchairs with seats that flip up to make room for the wheelchairs.
Buses are available with intercity and suburb routes and the airport. There are approximately 140 routes. The bus stops are well-marked with red and white stripes on a pole and a bus icon. The buses run about every twenty minutes and are a good way to get to the subway stations that are further from the city center. During peak hours, some buses can be crowded. Most buses are accessible to wheelchairs and mobility scooters, but some mobility units can’t fit in the spaces provided. Designated areas (marked with a blue international symbol of access-a symbol of a person in a wheelchair) come equipped with flip-up seats so wheelchairs can fit into the space and tie-downs to secure it. Also, most buses have automated announcements of stops to assist people with visual impairments.
Streetcars are a fun way to see Toronto. They run on a track above the ground throughout the city. There are about 11 streetcars that go to major tourist attractions such as art galleries, Chinatown, Little Itlay, “old town” and shopping districts; as well as the island ferries and Union Station.
Most streetcars run for 24 hours. Because they run on the same street as cars, they have to contend with the same traffic conditions. So, there may be delays due to traffic congestion, slower travel times during rush hours, and frequent stops. Also, most streetcars aren’t accessible to people with disabilities, in wheelchairs, or carry on strollers. They do have interior and exterior automated announcements of the stops to assist people with visual impairments.
Paratransit bus services provide transportation to people with disabilities that are unable to use other types of public transportation. Trips can be booked by registered riders who are picked up at their preferred locations. These services are not always integrated into all areas of the city and outlying areas. A transfer may be necessary which can lead to delays and long wait times. To provide transportation in areas that are lacking in services, some suburbs of Toronto have their own Paratransit.
A useful tool provided by Toronto Transit to improve service is an online “trip planner”. The planner is available to help with directions and routes. This planner is very helpful for visitors, new residents, or infrequent visitors to the city. From your phone, iPad, or computer, type in the starting and destination addresses into the “trip planner” and it will find the fastest and most direct route and tell you which service type (bus, subway, or streetcar) provides the best and fastest way to travel It helps riders (especially commuters) to determine which form of transportation to utilize and cuts travel times.
To speed up the process of buying tickets, tokens, and passes, PRESTO cards are available. This is an electronic system of payment which stores your funds in an account. The card is tapped when boarding buses, streetcars, and subways and money is taken from your account. This is a fast system to make transportation purchases and streamlines the process of riding and paying for the transit system.
A convenient airport express offers the fastest and most direct route to the airport with only two stops The train departs every 15 minutes and takes about 25 minutes to make the 15-mile trip. The fares run from $9-12 dollars for a one-way ticket.
To keep your trip running smoothly, check for any delays in the transit system by going to ttc.ca. Look for “Service Alerts” which include all unplanned service disruptions. In the event of subway delays, buses will shuttle passengers, but there may be long wait times as the buses can not carry the same amount of passengers as the subway.
Public transportation can be the most budget-friendly form of transportation for visitors and residents of Toronto. The cost of a single fare on a subway, bus, or streetcar is under $4.00. Families can save even more money because children 12 years and under ride free.
To use the TTC, you must have a PRESTO card, PRESTO ticket day pass, TTC ticket, token, days pass, one-ride, two-ride, or exact change. All of these (except tokens) can be purchased at Fare vending machines located at subway station entrances, Shoppers Drug Marts, TTC Customer Service Centre at Davisville Station, online at “prestocard.ca”, and the Toronto Pearson International Airport at Terminals 1 and 3. Self-Serve Reload machines for PRESTO cards are located at subway stations.
The cost and options the fare are:
- The Day Passes are a great value if planning various destinations in one day. The Day Pass for single unlimited use is $13.50 per day.
- Cash fares are $3.25 for adults.
- PRESTO costs $3.20 for adults.
- PRESTO Ticket costs $3.25 (one-ride) and $6.50 (two-ride).
- TTC Monthly Pass costs $156.00 for adults and $128.15 for youth/seniors.
- The PRESTO twelve-month pass offers unlimited rides for adults at $143.00 for the year. A senior or student costs $117.45.
Buses and streetcar operators don’t carry change, so exact change is needed if using cash. Also, you can’t use an entrance that is automated or a turnstile when using cash.
These passes can save visitors and residents money on transportation by eliminating the cost of a car and expensive parking in the city, Visitors can eliminate a car rental or taxi and not have to worry about getting lost in an unknown city.
Also, many locals take advantage of free parking that is usually available on weekends and most holidays at the commuter parking lots. So you can park and use public transportation to avoid traffic jams and expensive parking downtown.
The Public Transit System in Toronto is extensive and covers the city, suburbs, and the airport. Most modes of transportation run 24 hours in all types of weather. The diversity of the modes of transportation allows for convenient, economical, travel access for visitors and locals. The waiting areas are comfortable and safe (monitored by cameras). It’s not always reliable, but it’s easy and makes the Toronto Transit System a great mode of transportation for visitors and locals.