The confusion of the TTC system.
I am no longer confused as I’ve made all the mistakes now, but for someone new to Toronto or tourists, the public transport system is pretty badly designed.
- Buses will only take exact fare. How the hell is anyone not from Canada going to have $3 in coins to pay for the bus from the airport? Travel agencies only give notes.
- The barrier-less system is good as it allows you to get off a bus and straight onto a subway without having to go through turnstiles, (especially when you’ve wiped your pass with a strong magnet). However, there are no signs explaining this system, just loads of signs telling you the perils of not having a valid ticket, leaving tourists fresh off the plane worried that there were no ticket machines at Kipling.
- What the hell is with the names of the stations? Are the engineers really lazy or just so stupid that they can’t come up with new names? For a start there are two stations called Yonge and two called Lawrence, then there’s Lawrence West, Eglinton and Eglinton West, St Clair and it’s West, Queen and Queen’s Park, Dundas and Dundas West, Don Mills, York Mills and Old Mill. Going to the wrong version of the station name adds about 40mins to your journey. Spadina, St George and Kennedy are transfer stations which is fine, but Sheppard/Yonge and Bloor/Yonge have two different names depending on which direction you are traveling.
- ‘Street cars’ are actually trams. Surely all cars are street cars because they drive down the street?
- Bus stops regularly don’t tell you the schedule of the bus, route, or even the numbers that stop there in some cases, making it impossible to know if it is worth waiting for.
- Trams and buses frequently abandon you in the middle of nowhere, usually with about 2 stops notice.
- Avoid ‘short turn’ buses as this means they are about to abandon you with no given reason.
- You’re only allowed to enter the rear doors of a street car at certain stops, which are only mentioned inside the car itself, so unless you know, you have no clue.
- Buses have a yellow cord for the passengers to signal the stop they want to get off. On the subway, the yellow strip is actually the emergency stop alarm.
- Driver announcements on the subway are either so quiet or so distorted that they might as well send them by homing pigeon or semaphore.
- The paper ticket from the bus allows you to ‘transfer’ to a subway or street car without paying again. I’ve not seen any signs explaining this system.
- They have bought some new trains that are more open inside and supposedly perfect for wheelchair users. Except, wheelchair users can’t get on the bloody things because, unlike the old worn trains, the new ones sit too high on the tracks making it impossible for wheelchairs to board. The TTCs answer, “wait for an old train to come along…”