So I’ve just arrived in Toronto on Sunday, kinda tired. Thank goodness the weather is nice out, the skyline is great. No snow! Immediately I feel a cosmopolitan city, which really gives of a Melbourne vibe. Maybe it’s because I reminisce seeing the tram (streetcar) rails cemented into the ground.
I arrived having travelled from Kalamazoo – Lansing – Detroit – Pittsburgh – Toronto by bus over the previous 24 hours. You arrive into Toronto Coach station. A portion of the station is closed – but the main center is very much alive and bustling where the ticketing offices with large queues are. Weekend travel for you.
Travellers Aid is available at the Coach Station where you should definitely get yourself a Transit Map, they close early on weekends it appears. Ask for a ‘Rider Guide.’ Although, if you walk out to Bay Street, head south, then immediately turn left onto Dundas – keep walking easterly on the left of the street and you’ll bump into Toronto Tourist Centre. If you hit Dundas Square you’ve gone too far. Though, I headed straight to my cousins place where my grandparents also reside in Mississauga.
The next day (wait, the day after – I just bummed around) – so Tuesday I was extremely successful in my transiting efforts, I pride myself on being able to navigate successfully in such a city. Also managed to ride every form here (except for VIA rail, I’m not heading back to the US – that’s next week) – probably should have taken Amtrak now that I think about it.
Before we get travelling here, consider getting a ‘Presto’ card. It’s like a Myki (Melbourne folks at home know) or an Octopus or Oyster in Hong Kong or London respectively. A smartcard which is being rolled out, which you can use in the wider Toronto region. $6 issuance fee, then load up and away!
TTC is the company that operates the streetcar service, and subway system (a.k.a.: The Rocket). Streetcar services the city, and some of the outer city. Subway extends out a fair bit more. Fares are $3 each trip, with transfers possible on each single mode. ($2.50 on Presto)
GO Transit, operates busses and trains to regional centers. Fares start from $4.20
A lot of regional centers have their own transit company. Example: Mississauga has ‘MI Transit’ which caters for local and outer Mi area services. Again, $3.00 for a single trip including transfers within 2 hours of initial boarding.
Is Melbourne better? Well Perhaps. The subway is remarkably efficient, with services on all lines during peak averaging every 3 minutes. Services seem pretty neat as well. Also, no level crossings.
Trams, are similar, with services every 10 – 20 minutes depending on the route. Frequent. Only downside is the fare payment system. It’s really designed for people to get from A to B. Nothing more. Melbourne, the ticketing system allows you a lot more flexibility with the Zonal system.
But that’s just my two cents.
Seasons greetings, and have a holly jolly one!