Toronto’s public transportation system is operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). There are many ways to get around Toronto using its public transportation system. The TTC operates subways, buses, and streetcars in Toronto and some of its surrounding municipalities. These three modes of transportation, together, are enough to serve all your transportation needs in Toronto. In fact, some even prefer to use the public transportation system in Toronto over owning a car, both by price and convenience. Toronto also offers a bike service known as Bike Share Toronto.
Public Transportation Advantages In Toronto
Toronto is Canada’s most populated city. It is not often easy to get around the city by car, due to Toronto’s traffic conditions. If you are planning to visit or move to Toronto, it is important to have a fast and cost-effective way of getting around the city. Fortunately, Toronto is aware of its traffic problems and has an extensive public transportation system to make up for them. The public transportation system is one of the fastest and most convenient ways of getting around Toronto and its surrounding municipalities.
The advantages of using public transportation in Toronto are many. The biggest public transportation advantage is that the TTC will save you a lot of money compared to owning a car in the long run. Depending on where you live in Toronto, sometimes the TTC is enough to cover all your transportation needs in the city. Another advantage of public transportation in Toronto is time. The TTC can save you a lot of time that would have otherwise been spent stuck in a traffic jam. This is especially true if you are trying to get through downtown Toronto. Even though the city of Toronto is trying to improve its traffic conditions, the bad traffic isn’t going away anytime soon.
Using Subways for Public Transportation
One of the fastest ways of getting around Toronto is by using the TTC subway. However, it is not the most extensive, and you cannot go everywhere in Toronto by using its subway system. Subways run every few minutes from 6 AM to 1:30 AM on weekdays and Saturdays. On Sundays, subways run from 8 AM to 1:30 AM.
The TTC subway system is made up of lines and stations. When you enter a station, you will need to follow signs to your boarding location and pay the fare. One of the best things about Toronto’s subway stations is that the signs are easy to follow and you will not have to waste any time trying to find your way around. Remember, you can always ask someone if you are confused about where to go. You will also know when to get off thanks to the frequent announcements in both French and English before every station.
Toronto’s subway system is made up of 77 km of track with 75 stations spread out over 4 lines. As of 2021, there are currently two new lines and 39 new stations under construction. Once construction has finished in 2022, 19 more kilometres will be added for a total track distance of 96 km. Fortunately, the government will be expanding Toronto’s subway system even further so you can expect to see more lines and stations added in the future.
Using Buses for Public Transportation
Even though buses don’t travel as fast as subways, Toronto’s bus system is very extensive and you can get almost anywhere in Toronto by bus. The TTC bus system has 141 bus routes that cover every corner of the city. If you are travelling from one end of the city to another, you might have to switch buses but the process is very quick as wait times are usually small.
Buses run every few minutes from 6 AM to 1 AM on weekdays and Saturdays. On Sundays, buses run from 8 AM to 1 AM. It is very likely you have multiple bus stops near your residence in Toronto. If you are not sure where the nearest bus stops are, you can always check Google Maps. Just open Google Maps and search, ”bus stops”, to find all the bus stops near you.
Streetcars provide most of the transportation needs in downtown Toronto. That is why most of the streetcar routes are located in downtown Toronto. If you are looking to get around downtown Toronto, you will have to choose between buses and streetcars. Here is why streetcars are better than buses when you have the option of using a streetcar.
Streetcars are generally faster than buses, both because of speed and because streetcars have fewer stops than buses. Streetcars are more spacious and comfortable than buses. They provide a smoother ride because the rails are embedded in the street. If you are looking to commute around downtown Toronto, then streetcars should probably be your first choice.
One of the great things about TTC streetcars is that most of them run 24 hours a day. There are 13 streetcar routes in Toronto with stops every few hundred metres. These routes cover almost every corner of downtown Toronto, even extending to areas outside downtown.
Two-Hour Transfer Period
If you plan to use the TTC regularly, it’s helpful to know about the two-hour transfer period. Your Presto Card, which we will discuss more later on, will automatically apply the two-hour transfer period. If you transfer to another mode of transportation within those two hours, you can do so for no extra charge. If you are paying for your ride with coins, you will have to ask for a transfer ticket which will also last you 2 hours. During these two hours, you will be able to enter and exit the TTC as many times as you want with your transfer ticket.
The two-hour transfer period is useful if you travel a long distance using the TTC. Chances are, you will have to transfer multiple buses, perhaps even a subway. Or, it’s great to take advantage of the transfer period if you have to make multiple short trips for everyday activities. f you are unaware of the two-hour transfer period, the whole transit journey can become pretty expensive. By making use of the transfer period, you can reduce your transit costs.
Fares for Toronto’s Public Transportation System
The fare system in Toronto’s public transportation system is fairly easy to understand. You will have the option of paying by cash or by a fare card called a Presto card. Youth (13-19) and seniors (65+) will get discounted fare prices. Also, children under the age of 12 can ride for free.
To access the full pricing chart, click here. Below is a brief overview of the fare system for Toronto’s transportation system.
|TTC Fares||Adults||Youth (13-19)||Seniors (65+)|
|Presto Day Pass||$13.50||$13.50||$13.50|
|Presto Monthly Pass||$156.00||$128.15||$128.15|
Save Money with a Presto Card
Not only do Presto cards save you a little bit of money each time you use the TTC but they are also very convenient. Presto cards are good to have if you expect to travel a lot in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Presto cards can also be used outside Toronto in cities like Mississauga (MiWay), Brampton, Hamilton, and York, among others. In total, your Presto card can be used in 10 other municipalities outside Toronto. Visit Presto’s official website to learn more about the Presto card, how to use one, and where you can use it.
The City of Toronto has resources for those struggling financially to access Toronto’s public transportation system. The Fair Pass Transit Discount Program is a program that is available to low-income families or individuals. If eligible, you will be able to access a 33% discount on single-ride fares and a 21% discount on your monthly pass. You can learn whether or not you are eligible as well as apply to the program using the link above.
Compared to owning a car in Toronto, a Presto card is more affordable. According to the Canadian Automobile Association, it costs between $8,900 – $12,000 per year to own a car in Toronto.
Public Transportation System: Bike Share Toronto
Another great way to get around Toronto is by bike. Even though downtown Toronto may not be the best place for bikers, the rest of Toronto and most of its surrounding municipalities are bike-friendly. Fortunately, you don’t need to own a bike to get around the city.
Toronto has a bike rental program called Bike Share Toronto. Bike Share Toronto has over 625 stations and 6,850 bikes all across Toronto. Most subway stations also have a Bike Share station nearby. All you need to do is go to a station and rent a bike for as much time as you need it.
Here is a map of all the bike stations in Toronto. If you click on a station, it will tell you how many bikes are available to rent and how many slots are available to return a bike. Once you are finished using your bike, all you need to do is find the nearest station, return the bike, and pay your fare.
The PBSC App For Bike Share Toronto
To make the whole process easier for you, Bike Share Toronto has a mobile app called PBSC, available on both iOS and Android. The app will have a map of all the stations as well as how many bikes are available in each station. You can even unlock a bike from the app before you reach the station which makes for a quick and convenient experience.
Toronto’s public transportation system is a great way to get around the city. If you have been to Toronto, you are probably well aware of its traffic problems. The transit system can help you save time and avoid getting stuck in traffic jams around the city. Knowing how the public transportation system works in Toronto will let you make the best use of the convenient and cost-effective services available to you.
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My name is Zain Usmani and I am a freelance content writer who currently resides in Mississauga, Ontario. I immigrated from Pakistan to Canada 5 years ago and have lived in many cities ever since. I have lived in Calgary AB, Edmonton AB, Regina SK, London ON, and Mississauga ON, while visiting over 40 Canadian cities and towns. I have a great passion for writing and I love helping people through it.