Traveling through a city requires a lot of energy and budget. One of the best ways to save on both is to choose public transportation.
Public transportation allows you to plan your itinerary properly as it will take you to and from your destinations. It also helps you save on gas, car expenses, and even the energy of driving around.
In Toronto, one of the best ways to see the city is through public transportation. Read on to find out about commuting in Toronto!
Public Transportation in Toronto
Toronto’s public transport system is one of the better transit systems in the world. It is highly ranked, consistent in terms of schedule, and is reported to rarely have technical or even physical issues.
The three most popular public transportation modes in Toronto are:
These three are all run by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). A ferry system is also available, but it has a smaller coverage and only caters to Toronto islands.
The subway, buses, and taxis can take you almost anywhere in the city and prove to be the most convenient, affordable, and easy to comprehend.
- Public Transportation in Toronto
- The subway system in Toronto
- Cost of taking the subway in Toronto
- Buses in Toronto
- Cost of taking a bus in Toronto
- Taxi services in Toronto
- Cost of taking a taxi in Toronto
- Ferry services in Toronto
- Cost of taking a ferry in Toronto
- Tips on maximising Toronto public transportation
- Plan your route ahead.
- Be ready.
- Access a map.
- Secure your belongings.
- Practise commuter etiquette.
- The 15 most commuter-friendly and walkable places in Toronto
- Union Station
- St. Lawrence Market area/Old Town
- Kensington Market
- Yonge-Dundas Square area
- The Distillery District
- Liberty Village
- West Queen West
- The Annex
- The Entertainment District
- Financial District
- The Beaches
- The subway system
- Taxi services
The subway system in Toronto
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The best thing about the subway system in Toronto is that it passes through almost all of the popular routes in the city. It also allows one to do a bit of sightseeing as some routes pass through some of the city’s iconic landmarks.
There are two main lines: the Yellow Line (Yonge-University), which runs from northern Yonge Street down to Union Station. The Green Line (Bloor-Danforth) runs east to west, following the Etobicoke neighbourhood-Central Toronto-Scarborough area route.
The smaller Scarborough line consists of only five stops and services a small portion of northern Toronto.
The subway system proves to be the most affordable mode of transportation. Below is a breakdown of usual costs.
Cost of taking the subway in Toronto
|Single ride||CAD 3.25|
|Day pass (unlimited rides throughout the day)||CAD 12.50|
|Weekly pass (unlimited rides throughout the week)||CAD 43.75|
Buses in Toronto
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Worry not if some of the places in your itinerary are not accessible through the subway. The general rule in Toronto is that wherever the subway doesn’t go, buses and cars pass through.
Buses in Toronto also cost just a tad more than subway fares, so you don’t really have to sacrifice in terms of budget. Do take note that you will need a token or a pass to ride, but some may accept cash depending on the situation.
There are less than two hundred bus routes in Toronto, so you’re guaranteed to get to wherever you need to, be it a long or short trip.
Keep in mind that the schedule of buses in Toronto starts at 6:00 AM and the last trip is usually at 1:00 AM. During Sundays, operations begin a little later as the first trip is set at 8:00 AM.
Cost of taking a bus in Toronto
|Single ride||CAD 4.40|
|Two-ride ticket||CAD 8.80|
|Day pass||CAD 18.28|
|Monthly pass||CAD 211.24|
Taxi services in Toronto
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If you’re on a budget and you opt to have a more relaxed ride and a convenient way of getting to wherever you need to go, hail a taxi. You will find them along the road or parked in front of famous landmarks or nearby hotels.
The main advantage of taking a taxi in Toronto is that taxi drivers are very familiar with landmarks and tourist spots, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost. Sometimes, they will even let you in on city secrets and introduce you to underrated attractions.
In addition, unlike the subway or buses, Toronto taxis are available 24 hours, so you can count on them for those early morning parties or emergency trips.
Should you have an entire trip or even just a day already planned prior to your visit, you can book or check out Toronto taxi services in advance to make sure that you have a ride.
Cost of taking a taxi in Toronto
|One ride||CAD 50 to CAD 70|
Ferry services in Toronto
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The ferry services in Toronto will take you to see some of Toronto’s small yet beautiful islands. Take note that this only passes through those routes and is not ideal for daily commute.
There are 6 terminals that connect the Toronto Islands in Lake Ontario to the mainland. A ferry ride is available approximately every 15 minutes and a ride also takes an average of 15 minutes.
You can purchase a ticket through the designated online ferry ticket system, which is available daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Trips usually start at around 6:30 AM and the last trip can either be at 11:30 PM or 11:45 PM.
You can travel with a baby but make sure that they are safe and healthy. Infants are free to ride and you shouldn’t be charged any amount.
Cost of taking a ferry in Toronto
|One ride - Junior or under 14 years old||CAD 5.45|
|One ride - Youth or under 19||CAD 7.45|
|One ride - Senior or 65 and above||CAD 7.45|
|One ride - Adult||CAD 11.57|
Tips on maximising Toronto public transportation
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You’ve read everything you need to know about Toronto’s public transportation. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of the system.
1. Plan your route ahead.
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Whether it’s just a day-trip or a long vacation, having a planned itinerary always helps. With this, you are able to plan the time of the bus or subway you want to catch and will not have trouble finding what route you have to get on.
If you’re taking a taxi, planning also helps you have a budget for your ride. This also helps you plan where you will hail a taxi or which landmark will you stay in to get one easily.
We acknowledge that there are sudden trips or unplanned outings, but for those of you who can, plan your trips ahead for a better travel experience!
2. Be ready.
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While the Toronto commute system isn’t really hectic and is one of the most organised in the world, it is still important for you to be physically and mentally prepared.
Never go out for a trip without having to eat something. Especially if you know that travel time would take quite a while, we suggest grabbing a bite and coffee in one of Toronto’s cafes or having a full meal in any of the city’s restaurants.
We also advise that you get enough sleep prior to commuting so you can avoid missing your stop just because you fell asleep. Bring drinking water as well to stay hydrated!
Before leaving the house, make sure that you don’t forget anything to avoid going back and wasting time. If you’re taking the ferry, bring anything that will help you avoid being sea sick or feeling nauseous.
During the ride, stay alert and still have some time to enjoy the scenery.
3. Access a map.
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The best way for you to not get lost is to have access to a Toronto map and track wherever you are going. You can also open any web mapping platform or application on your device to trace your current location and how far you are from your destination.
Accessing a map also allows you to see the city in its entirety and may even interest you on some of its promising spaces and places.
Some of the public spaces in Toronto have available internet services. You can connect to those to surf for a while and do a bit of research and tracking before you hop on a ride.
4. Secure your belongings.
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Toronto is technically a safe city, but just for extra protection and just to be sure, always be responsible for your things. Important items such as your cellphone and wallet should always be in a safe place when commuting.
We also advise you to never count money if you’re on a public ride. Be cautious as some people with bad intentions sadly still exist.
For extra safety, it also helps to bring a self-defence item such as pepper spray. Sharp objects are not really advisable as they are sometimes prohibited in certain areas and can cause accidents as well.
5. Practise commuter etiquette.
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Of course, if you’re taking public transport, you have to be considerate of other people who paid for the same amount and privileges that you did. Always give priority to the elderly, persons with disability, and pregnant women.
Keep in mind that you’re sharing a space, so maintain proper distance and stay quiet as possible.
If your stop is still far, avoid staying by the door to give way to passengers who are likely getting off in a few minutes. This will make the loading and unloading of passengers easier for the vehicles or units.
If you’re in a taxi, don’t be too noisy and make sure you aren’t bothering your driver. If you’re not in a mood for a chat, say it politely and don’t be mean to your driver.
It pays to be cautious, but there’s nothing wrong with smiling back to a kind stranger or greeting personnel.
The 15 most commuter-friendly and walkable places in Toronto
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For those of you who are commuting for fun, we made a list of the 15 most walkable and easy to access via commute places in the city. We hope these help!
1. Union Station
Arguably the most popular stop for commuters in Toronto, Union Station is a central travel hub that connects you to some of the city’s most visited places and routes. It opened in 1927 and now occupies an entire city block.
This station is situated along Front Street West between Bay Street and York Street, which are some of the most popular streets in the city as well.
You can walk from here to find some of Toronto’s landmarks and well-loved restaurants or ride to wherever you need or want to go. Trust that there isn’t a place in Toronto that you can’t reach through Union Station!
2. St. Lawrence Market area/Old Town
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Just a 12-minute walk from Union Station is the famous St. Lawrence Market, where you can find some of the best local dishes and items. This place is walkable on its own and is located near the city’s food hubs and other historic and picturesque landmarks.
3. Kensington Market
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Another commute-friendly and walkable market is the Kensington Market near Toronto’s very own Chinatown. This area is home to street and sidewalk vendors who have scrumptious treats and great finds.
You will also find a stretch of shops, bars, pubs, and eateries in this place. It is also within this neighbourhood where you can catch the Art Gallery of Ontario, which we swear is worth a visit.
4. Yonge-Dundas Square area
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Yonge Street is the most famous street in Toronto and is the longest in the world. It has enough history, has been used for film locations, and is home to many food hubs.
Dundas is another popular place to visit in the city given the restaurants in Dundas West. This place also connects the central city to the city’s original eastern suburbs, hence the green spaces.
Yonge-Dundas Square is the very heart of downtown Toronto. Being the intersection of two popular Toronto destinations and having multiple shops and stores to visit, walking through this area is a good taste of vibrant city life.
5. The Distillery District
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Surrounded by buildings with Victorian-era architecture is the historic Distillery District. This place has a high volume of visitors and is a pedestrian-only area.
During the winter, this place is famous for its whimsical Winter Village. This happens yearly, so tourists and residents flock here during colder months.
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Another great place to walk around and enjoy green spaces while basking in a few historically-designed buildings is the neighbourhood of Cabbagetown.
This place is also growing to be one of the villages that prove why Toronto is a gay-friendly city.
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For all the hippies out there, the place to visit is Leslieville. This is Toronto’s “hippest” hood, where you can find a stretch of vintage shops.
Street art can also be found on almost every stop, and you’ll find the colours and graffiti a feast for your eyes as you walk.
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A neighbourhood that feels like an entire village, Roncesvalles or Roncy to the locals is famous for it holds one of Toronto’s best parks and picnic spots, High Park.
High Park has its own zoo and has plenty of trails for walking and cycling. Roncy as a neighbourhood is also a great place to bask in greenery and beautiful houses.
9. Liberty Village
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Being one of the rising neighbourhoods in Toronto, there is no doubt that Liberty Village is accessible to commuters and is a walkable place itself.
This is also where you can find one of the best dog-friendly restaurants in Toronto, Mildred’s Temple Kitchen + Bar. Imagine walking around the village and coming across cute canines!
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Of course, it’s not Toronto without Yorkville. This is your best bet for the city’s chic cafes, polished bars, and fine dining spots.
You will also find plenty of art galleries and boutiques here for window-shopping and actual shopping. You can also enjoy Old York Lane, a pedestrian-only street that runs through the neighbourhood.
Don’t forget to see The Royal Ontario Museum (the ROM), the largest natural history museum in Canada, which is located in this neighbourhood.
11. West Queen West
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If you’re looking for a relaxed neighbourhood to walk around, West Queen West is the place. This was named by Vogue as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world, with thrift shops and boutiques prevalent in the strip.
The Graffiti Alley is a fashion district where you can find beautiful street art. Visit the nearby Nathan Phillips Square to see the famous Toronto sign up close.
12. The Annex
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The Annex is in close proximity to the University of Toronto. This place is known for some of the best stores for used books and records.
You can also find the famous Casa Loma in this area. Walking around this beautiful castle and its surroundings is already an experience itself.
13. The Entertainment District
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In downtown Toronto, the place to be is the Entertainment District, where you will find a lot of places to go and activities to do.
This is where you can find the famous CN Tower and its in-house Ripley’s Aquarium. Some of Toronto’s best restaurants are also located within the area, and walking along this place really gives you a peak of the Toronto city life.
14. Financial District
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Being Toronto’s central business hub or district, it is undeniable that it is also friendly towards commuters, bikers, and even for people who are looking to explore the city.
Beautiful skyscrapers can be seen in this area and there are shops and food hubs as well. Just take note that most shops close during evenings and weekends, given that offices close around those times.
15. The Beaches
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The Beaches tells you upfront what you can expect from it. This neighbourhood is home to Toronto’s small family beaches and is the perfect place for summer.
One of the crowd favourites is Woodbine Beach, which is only a 16-minute drive away from Union Station. Imagine being in the city and finding a nearby cool beach spot!
We hope that this article gave you an idea about commuting in Toronto and how you can make the most out of its public transport system!
Share your favourite commute stories with us below!