Toronto Transit_TTC Streetcar

How to get around using Toronto Transit

Visiting Toronto and wondering how exactly to get around? What is TTC? How do I use Toronto Transit? How do I pay? Where do I pay? What are the rates? Does Toronto have Uber?

Well, as a child of Africa where there is no semblance of public transport, arriving in Toronto had me feeling pretty overwhelmed by the prospect of getting on board this modern fangled world of public transit. From taking my very first solo adventure on the TTC I have come a long way. Here is my complete beginner’s guide on how to use the Toronto Transit network (TTC) and get how to get around Toronto.

Using TTC

The TTC is a pretty simple transit system to get the hang of by world standards, Union Station is the heart and hub of it all. Toronto transit comprises a network of streetcars, buses and subway lines that you can use interchangeably on one journey for one fee.

Toronto Public Transit_TTC

How much does it Cost

Cash: The simplest way to pay if you are visiting is cash, $3.25 per ride (but ensure you have exact change). Simply pop the exact change into the collector box at the subway station or in the box by the driver of a bus/ streetcar (but on the newer streetcars you pay the vending machines located in the middle of the car). Always make sure you get a transfer slip this allows you to hop between the various modes of transit in a single journey.

Tokens: Another convenient (and cheaper) option is to purchase a bunch of tokens from either the fare collectors at the subway station or select retailers at a cost of $3 each. You cannot purchase tokens on board a streetcar or a bus, but you can use them. 1 token per ride and once again ensure you get a transfer slip.

Day Pass: At $12.50, this is only a viable option if you are planning on hopping on and off multiple times in one day. Passes can be purchased from the subway stations and select retailers.

Presto Card: Is a reloadable card that works on 11 different transit networks across the Greater Toronto Area, even as far out as Ottawa. It works on the tap on tap off system, as costs are calculated depending on the length of your journey.

For people visiting Toronto and planning on using limited transit, you don’t have to invest in a Presto card – tokens and cash are the way to go. But if you are looking at taking a once-off trip to the Greater Toronto, using the GO Train or GO buses, single use tickets can be purchased at the stations.

Toronto Transit

GO Train and Buses

Go Train and GO Bus are a commuter transit network bringing passengers into downtown Toronto from the Greater Toronto Areas. Schedules vary depending on the day of the week and rates are calculated according to the length of the journey. Single use tickets can be purchased from the stations or you can tap your Presto card.

Taxis and Uber

There are a number of taxi operators in the city, so flagging down or calling a cab is simple. Otherwise Uber operates across Toronto.

Airport Link

The UP Express train is a direct train linking Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to downtown Union Station. At $12 one-way and only a 25-minute journey it’s the easiest and cheapest way to get from the airport to the city and back. Tickets can be bought at the station or online. If you have a Presto card it is only a $9 journey.

Keep in Mind:

  • Keep right on elevators and stairways in the subway stations – rush traffic passes left
  • Children under age 12 ride the TTC free
  • Google Maps makes navigating your way a lot easier. It has all the information you need to find your way including; which subway line/ bus / or streetcar number to catch and lists the estimated arrival time of the next bus or streetcar at your stop.


Tracey Pictor

Tracey is a South African expat living, travelling and working her way around the world with my dear husband and cat.

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