Closures, crowded conditions, sub-par service, endless wait times and, subsequently, angry Torontonians just trying to get from point A to point B.
It’s all a part of the joyous TTC.
Though the TTC operates the third-most heavily used urban mass transit system in North America (after the New York City Transit Authority and Mexico City Metro), the record number of transit-takers, coupled with increased expectations leave much to be desired.
Though its slogan of the “Better Way” is a joke to most young professionals (YPs), in the spirit of positivity, here are 11 things to actually appreciate about the TTC:
The newly renovated Union Station:
Though it’s still a work in progress, the recent makeover of Union Station results in a much less soul-sucking subway station than we’re used to. It’s more open, brighter, and complete with ample glass, stone, and steel, with attention paid to everything from the platform to the handrails. Not to mention, Union Station is usually one of the first graced by tourists—so we’ll leave a better first impression.
Sometimes it’s the faster way.
Sometimes—if a bus or streetcar is not involved in the equation—the TTC does ring true to its “Better Way” promise, especially at a time when Toronto traffic is more brutal than ever. The subway can indeed be the quicker option to things like The Eaton Centre, the ACC, and the North York Centre.
The new streetcars aren’t as hated:
When Toronto rolled out its new streetcar at the end of August after five years in the making, the response was predominantly positive. Among the perks are all-door boarding, air conditioning, wider aisles, low floors for accessible boarding, large windows, and a much quieter, smoother ride in general. By 2019, they will be implemented on all lines. Yup, just five more years…
It’s easy to navigate.
One of the biggest complaints (and biggest shock to seasoned tourists) is that our subway line isn’t exactly the most expansive—especially compared to other global cities like London and New York. But hey, at least our basic lines are easy to navigate for the geographically challenged. Rumour has it no one’s actually ever been lost on the TTC.
At least it’s clean. Compared to the transit systems of some other major cities, the TTC is cleaner and less rodent and garbage-filled (at least to the eye). Of course, that could just be because we Torontonians manage to keep ourselves pretty clean.
It’s cheap(er than a cab or car).
Although fare prices have climbed in recent years, they no longer deviate too far from other North American subway systems, especially when it comes to occasional users (for example, Montreal recently caught up to Toronto with its $3 cash fare). Meaning, the only cheaper option is walking or taking your life in your hands on a bike in Toronto’s street.
A cab could make you angrier.
Yes, there’s no worse way to start the workweek than to emerge from the TTC after being pushed, cramped, and covered in the sweat or ample cologne of other passengers. But with cabs starting at $4.50 just to get into, and construction and traffic at an all-time high, that ride in the back of a cab could be as swear word-inducing (poor cabbie) as the TTC during rush hour—and watching the steadily increasing metre will only add to the stress.
It’s cool throughout.
When the TTC retired its oldest operating subway (sans air conditioning) in 2012, the entire fleet of trains and buses (and the aforementioned new streetcars) became air conditioned, making for much less disgusting summer rides. Case in point: when London experienced a rare, intense heat wave back in July, at the height of rush hour, temperatures on Central line at Oxford Circus reached 34.8C and air humidity hit 45 per cent. Gross.
It no longer runs the island ferry.
Look on the bright side—your Toronto Island Sunday Fundays are a little more reliable thanks to the fact that the TTC no longer controls the Island ferry like it did back from 1927 to 1962, before it was transferred to the Metro Parks and Culture department.
The people watching.
Thanks to the countless characters that walk through the chiming doors, the TTC offers no shortage of entertainment value and ample people-watching opportunities. When it’s too packed to raise your arms to read a book or mess around on your phone, what else are you going to do?
It’s easy to blame.
Perhaps the best part about the TTC is that it’s so easy to blame for a late arrival. A consistent scapegoat, it’s always there to have your back when you’ve slept in or decided to stop for ‘happy hour’ with the coworkers when you’ve made Home Depot plans with your significant other. And the excuse is never questioned by knowing Torontonians.