Is the TTC really that bad when compared to other cities’?


It’s morning rush hour and you’re crammed into a subway car. Someone spills coffee on your shoe and someone else forgot to wear deodorant. Taking the TTC isn’t always a walk in the park, but is it really so horrible?

To find out, let’s look at four international cities, including Toronto. We’re going to consider both cost and user experience when riding public transit in each of them. We’ve converted all of the cost to Canadian dollars so you don’t have to do any math. (You’re welcome.)

Who knows, you might actually feel good about riding the TTC home tonight.

Toronto – TTC

A single adult fare costs $3, no matter if you’re going five blocks or thirty.

The most common complaints among riders are the infrequency of busses, the unpredictability and fragility of the streetcar system and overcrowding.

There is a new fleet of subway cars on the Yonge-University-Spadina line and new streetcars are supposed to be on the street by 2018.

Amsterdam – GVB

In Amsterdam, a 1-hour unlimited travel pass costs $3.64. However, most people use the OV chipkaart system, whereby passengers are charged depending on the number of zones they travel across. This means that shorter rides cost less and longer rides cost more. The card itself costs $10.10 and in order to ride trains, you must have at least 20 euro loaded onto your card.

The most common complaint among riders is the inefficiency of routes. While biking to your destination may only take twenty minutes, it could take upwards of 30 or 40 by tram. Generally, trams and buses are well maintained.

London – Underground

If you want to pay a single fare by cash, it’ll run you a whopping $7.04. But, much like in Amsterdam, you can also pay by distance covered. To do so, you’ll need an Oyster Card. The card itself costs $7.82 and, again, you’ll pay more for longer trips and less for shorter trips. From South Kensington to Baker Street, a 3.7km commute, you’ll pay $3.28 by Oyster Card.

If you’ve ever visited London, you probably already know the main complaint – overcrowding. If you thought riding the TTC was bad, think again. WIth a population of over 8 million people in a city that’s approximately one quarter the size of Toronto, you’d be hard pressed to findĀ personal space on public transit in London. The system is under constant construction in order to facilitate the large volume of commuters.

New York City – MTA

Single ride tickets can be purchased for $2.82 but most people use the MetroCard. The card itself is free, and once you have it that single ride fare becomes $2.56.

New cars started rolling out in 1999, but those have already taken quite a beating. User complaints range from long delays (often caused by equipment problems) to poor maintenance. Cars and stations are usually filthy, and lack of upkeep leads to problems that could easily be preventedWhat’s the worst thing about the TTC? Can you think of any other international transit that should be on this list?


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  1. Seoul… 100 times better than the TTC. The subway map looks like a street map of Toronto. $1.10 to get on and a Max of $2.50 for long trips. (they charge the extra when you get off if you went farther than $1.10 worth) On time, clean, you don’t need a car in Seoul. There are also express busses with their own bus lanes going anywhere and everywhere. Oh and full cell service on all trains. Yes it gets crowded at 5pm but you can amost always get on the next train.

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