Public transit in Toronto can be intimidating and confusing, but don’t let that stop you from making it your bitch. We at The Newspaper have compiled some tips for your assistance.

  1. Transfers are tricky bastards. They’re only valid for one continuous trip, one way. Don’t think to yourself, I can get off the Spadina streetcar at Queen, walk around for a bit, and hop on the Queen Streetcar at, say, Ossington with the transfer I got on the Spadina streetcar. You can’t. You have to get on the next closest stop to the one where you exited the vehicle. You can wander around all you like for an hour or so (they expire), but you’d damn well better go back to the stop closest to where you got off, unless you want to pay again.
  2. If you invest in a metropass, you’ll find your life much easier. Post-secondary students can purchase them at a discount from UTSU, as well as the kiosks or surly booth attendants at St. George and a handful of other stations. While metropasses are transferable between you and your pals, be wary of pass back rules. Don’t try to give your pass to a friend behind you after you’ve swiped it, even if they aren’t trying to use it there. You can only give your pass to someone else upon exiting the system, or else you will get yelled at.
  3. If you’ve been out late and miss the last train (subway service ends around 1:30 most nights) do not fear. The Spadina 510 streetcar is 24 hours, and a bus replaces the Bloor-Danforth subway line after it closes. Bus routes in general are also good because, after 9pm, if you ask the driver to let you off between stops, they will.
  4. Sometimes there are sketch people on the TTC. Sometimes they will aim their sketchiness towards you and there seems to be no escape. This is where the emergency stop cord comes in handy. It’s a yellow strip close to the ceiling. Press it if you feel threatened, harassed etc; by another passenger. Do not press it if you miss your stop. Everyone will hate because you really need to redefine emergency. You could also get in serious trouble.
  5. Perhaps you’re from a small town and are fascinated by subway travel. “It’s like a rollercoaster, but underground!” I exclaimed with loathsome sincerity upon my first rocket ride, much to the chagrin of the weathered travelers around me. If you find your fellow passengers unduly hostile, it is possible you are unwittingly breaking transit etiquette. These rules include but are not limited to: not moving towards the back when a car is filling up, standing in front of an empty seat in a busy car so as to block it from others, acting like your bag is a person and neglecting to move it when a car is full, and not being aware that your body is preventing people around you from exiting.
  6. Little known fact: only 2 out of every 5 TTC drivers have souls. The ones that do are lovely people. The ones that don’t were probably made that way by shitty passengers. So if you fuck up in your transit experience, don’t try to bat your eyelashes, cry, or whatever. It almost certainly won’t work. Be honest, explain what went wrong in your transit confusion, and sometimes the driver will understand.
  7. Get the Next Vehicle Information system on your phone by visiting ttc.ca. It will alert you via text when to expect the next bus or streetcar. Sometimes there are unpredictable delays, so you can figure out if it’s faster to walk.
  8. And finally, to exercise the small bit of power you have over your transit experience, check out torontourbanfilmfestival.com, where you can vote on 1 minute silent films to be played on the subway platform screens from September 9-19.

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