Public transit in Toronto is easy, safe, and quick. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC, www.ttc.ca) provides subway, streetcar and bus service within the City of Toronto. Most downtown routes offer frequent service and some run 24 hours a day. The Trip Planner on the TTC website provides route information and directions. In addition, GO Transit (www.gotransit.com) offers rail and bus commuter service to the suburbs and nearby towns and cities. Ferries connect the city with the Toronto Islands.
Fares A single fare paid in cash or token purchases a one-way trip on all subways, streetcars and buses in the City of Toronto. The fare also purchases a transfer, which can be used to switch routes but not to take a return trip or to break up a trip with a stopover. The adult cash fare is $3.25 and drivers do not give change. Tokens cost $3.00each. Tokens and passes may be purchased at subway stations and convenience stores displaying a “TTC Fare Media Seller” or “TTC Ticket Agent” sign. Monthly passes are $146.25 or $134.00 with an annual commitment. Day passes and weekly passes are available for $12.50 and $43.75, respectively, as are Family/Group day passes for $12.50, which can be used on holidays and weekends. A Family/Group may consist of one adult and up to five children or two adults and up to four children. Discounted fares are available for seniors and students. Passengers who are paying cash or using a single-ride token need to take a paper “transfer,” which is dispensed by a red machine inside subway stations or by the bus or streetcar driver. The transfer allows riders to change between routes at street level without paying another fare, as long as they’re making a continuous one-way trip. It is a good idea to retain the paper transfer as a receipt of paid fare. Some automatic turnstiles at a handful of TTC subway stations accept the regional fare card called PRESTO (www.prestocard.ca).
Subway Toronto subway trains run every two minutes in rush hour and about every five minutes at other times. The service runs from about 6:00 a.m. to about 1:30 a.m., with a 8:00 a.m. start on Sundays. A subway map is posted above the doorways in each car and there is an interactive map on the TTC website.
Subway Toronto subway trains run every two minutes during rush hour and about every five minutes at other times. The service runs daily from approximately 6:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., with an 8:00 a.m. start on Sundays. A subway map is posted above the doorways of each car and an interactive map can be found on the TTC website. Each subway station has at least one staffed entrance which accepts all fares, including day passes and transfers. The other entrances are automatic and accept only tokens and weekly/monthly passes. Downtown subway entrances are typically marked with a TTC sign or the name of the subway station. A round metal plaque in the ground near the exit indicates compass points, as well as directions to nearby streets, to help people navigate as they leave the station. In 2015, the City of Toronto added a direct rail service to Pearson International Airport. This service is called the Union-Pearson Express (UP) and it runs between Union Station (the main train and GO Transit station) and the airport, making other stops only at Bloor and Weston. This service costs $12.00 one-way and $24.00 return. Tickets can be purchased online, at vending machines or at service counters at the stations. Tickets may also be purchased on-board (credit card only), but there is an additional surcharge of $2.00 (www.upexpress.com). Presto cards can also be used on the UP Express and yield significantly cheaper fares, only $9.00 for a one-way ticket.
Streetcars Much of the above-ground public transit through downtown Toronto relies on the TTC’s large fleet of streetcars. These are also known in some parts of the world as trams or trolleys. All streetcar stops are marked with a white pole with red bands and a streetcar icon. Cars are required to stop behind a streetcar while its doors are open. On boarding a streetcar, passengers deposit the fare in a fare box beside the driver. Passengers who plan to switch to another route during a trip should ask the driver for a transfer.
Bus service All bus stops are marked with a white pole with red bands and a bus icon. On boarding a bus, passengers deposit the fare in the fare box beside the driver. Passengers who plan to switch to another route during a trip should ask the driver for a transfer. A blue light on the front sign of a bus indicates that it is part of the Blue Night Network, 24 routes that run between 1:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. As part of the Request Stop safety program, on request, drivers will stop under certain circumstances between designated TTC stops between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
Toronto Island Ferry The ferries to the Toronto Islands are part of the Toronto Port Authority. Fares are $7.71for adults, $5.05for students and seniors, and $3.72for children between the ages of 2 and 14. All fares include the return trip. Schedules can be found on the Toronto Island Park website (www.toronto.ca/parks/island). The Toronto Island ferry cannot be used to reach the Island airport.
GO Transit The GO Transit service runs as far west as Guelph, as far east as Oshawa and north to Barrie. The bus service goes as far west as Waterloo, northwest to Orangeville, and east to Peterborough. Special lines serve university and college campuses. It also offers summer weekend service to Niagara Falls. GO Transit also accepts the PRESTO pass system. Schedules and fare calculators are available on the GO Transit website (http://www.gotransit.com). GO trains and buses arrive in downtown Toronto at Union Station and other conveniently located hubs such as Yorkdale Mall and some subway stations. Service is much less frequent than the TTC—often an hour between trains—and some routes run only during rush hour. Although GO Transit stations have large parking lots, these often fill up early on weekday mornings with the vehicles of regular commuters.
Biking Toronto has a large bikeway network with a 563 km mix of bicycle lanes, off-road trails and signed routes. Toronto is easy to access by bike, either by cycling in and out using the Waterfront Trail or thanks to the many rail and bus providers that offer bike transportation services. Some of the best trails are the Toronto Islands, Martin-Goodman Trail, Leslie Street Spit, Don Valley and Beltline trails.
Taxi Toronto has a large fleet of taxis. Fares are regulated by the city. The meter starts at $4.25 and increases by $1.75 for every kilometre travelled, or $0.50 for every 30 seconds spent waiting. There is an extra charge of $2.00 per person groups that exceed four passengers. Most cabs accept credit or debit cards, for a small fee. Taxi fares for points within the city of Toronto can be calculated using http://toronto.taxiwiz.com/. The rideshare service Uber operates in Toronto. This service allows individuals to book a ride through an application on their smartphone. The service is safe and the fares are generally cheaper than taxis (except on holidays and peak hours). For more information visit www.uber.com or download the Uber app on your smartphone.
Inter-city trains Union Station, Toronto’s central inter-city transportation facility, is a major commuter railway station. It is located on Front Street West, close to the waterfront. Inter-city train services are provided at Union Station by Via Rail and Amtrak, while commuter rail services are operated by GO Transit. The station is connected to the TTC system. GO Transit’s Union Station Bus Terminal, located across Bay Street from the station building, is connected via the train shed.
Inter-city buses The Toronto Coach Terminal is the central bus station for inter-city service. It is located one block west of the Dundas subway station, which is connected to the terminal via the PATH network. It is also about the same distance from the St. Patrick subway station.