Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Since many years, the Toronto transit commission (TTC) manages a network of public transportation that is used by a big share of the citizens of Toronto and that is today the third most used in North America. That is why this article will speak about this organization, as an example of large scale public transportation system that, at my opinion, works well, by being very efficient and cost-effective.
The TTC was created in 1921 by the municipality of Toronto. It began by owning streetcars from the private companies that were operating them before and they opened their first subway line in 1954. A few buses were in the network at the beginning, but they took a lot more importance during the sixties and later. In 2008, the average daily ridership of this system was 2.5 million; 1,254,600 by bus, 910,300 by subway, 285,600 by streetcar and 37,800 by intermediate rail.

In my opinion, as for a majority of observers, the TTC have a lot of qualities that makes it one of the best public transportation systems of America, by being efficient and cost effective for the consumer and by being still ameliorating the service. Its efforts for the environment are also praiseworthy.

First, for the citizens of Toronto, the public transportation of their city is particularly useful, because of its effectiveness and that, for a price very reasonable. Indeed, instead of the fact that it costs three dollars a trip if you do not have tokens, the normal user can buy them for only two dollars and a half and the student/senior for 1.65$. So globally, the cost for the users is similar to the one of other cities like Montreal or Quebec that always turns around more or less two dollars. However, these fares are really not high, considering the unique service offered. In fact, with very short delays, very well maintained facilities, a lot of spaces and exceptionally simple indications, the TTC users really do not have nothing to envy to the citizens of other cities.

Second, the service offered by the TTC, already exceptional, is still ameliorating, by owning more and better streetcars and bus in the next years. For example, the next streetcars will have very low floors and, like the buses, will have better indications.
The TTC also makes many efforts for the environment by encouraging the people to use low-carbon intensive transportation modes and by trying to reduce its own emissions. For example, in 2008, one third of its fleet was hybrid and it plan to operate exclusively hybrid/diesel car in a near future.

Finally I think that the TTC is a very mature organization that shows us how the public transportation can be cheap and comfortable, as an alternative to the individual cars that are expansive, that congest the cities and that are really not environment friendly.
Words by Albert Michaud-Gagnon; pictures by Chloe Ouellet

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