Toronto Transit Commission
Table of contents
The TTC operates one of the most extensive urban mass transit systems in North America. As of 2004, there are four rapid transit lines (three subways and one light rail metro line; see Toronto Subway and RT), with a total of 69 stations, as well as 149 connecting "surface" routes (buses and streetcars). The average daily ridership exceeds 1.3 million passengers. The TTC also provides door-to-door services for persons with disabilities. Colloquially, the streetcars are known as "red rockets"; hence the use of "Ride the Rocket" in advertising material for the TTC (which uses the phrase to advertise the entire system), and the use of the word "Rocket" in the names of some express buses. The entire system is also promoted as "The Better Way".
Privately operated transit services in Toronto began in 1849. In later years a few routes were operated by the city, but it was 1921 when the city took over all routes and formed the Toronto Transportation Commission to operate them. During this period service was mainly provided by streetcars. In 1954 the TTC adopted its present name, opened its first subway line, and greatly expanded its service area to cover the newly formed municipality of Metropolitan Toronto (which eventually became the enlarged city of Toronto). The system has evolved to feature a wide network of bus routes with the subway lines as the backbone.
The TTC fare system accepts cash, tickets, tokens and transit passes.
See more at: Toronto Transit Commission Fares
Subway and RT System
The Toronto subway system consists of the Yonge-University-Spadina Line, a U-shaped line started in 1954 and last extended in 1996; the Bloor-Danforth Line, an east-west line started in 1966 and last extended in 1980; and the short Sheppard Line, completed in 2002. A fourth rapid transit line is the Scarborough RT, completed in 1985, which resembles the subway in operating methods but not in technology. A proposed Eglinton West Subway Line was canceled.
For more see: Toronto Subway and RT
Toronto's streetcar system is one of the few still operating in North America. As new TTC routes since the 1940s have generally been operated by other modes, and the less busy streetcar routes have also been converted, streetcar routes are now focused on the downtown area, with none running further north than St. Clair Avenue (about 5 km from Lake Ontario).
See more at : Toronto Streetcar System
Buses and trolley coaches
Buses are a large part of TTC operations today, but before about 1960 they played a minor role compared to streetcars. After an earlier experiment, trolley buses were used on a number of routes starting in 1947, but all trolley bus routes were converted to bus operation between 1991 and 1993. Note: The TTC always used the term trolley coach to refer to its trackless electric vehicles.
See more at: Toronto Buses and Trolley Buses
At one point the TTC was renowned as one of the world's best transit systems, however the past twenty years have seen enormous funding cuts to the system, as well as a shift towards a car-dominated culture.
Gray Coach Lines was a suburban and regional inter-city bus operator founded in 1927 by the TTC. Gray Coach used inter-urban coaches to link Toronto to points throughout Southern Ontario. In addition, Gray Coach operated tour buses in association with Gray Line tours. The main terminal was the Metropolitan Toronto Bus Terminal on Elizabeth Street, downtown. In 1954 Gray Coach expanded further when it acquired suburban routes from independent bus operators not merged with the TTC as it expanded to cover Metro Toronto. By the 1980s, Gray Coach faced fierce competition in the inter-urban service in the GTA, and the TTC was forced to sell it.
See more at: Toronto Interurban Buses – Gray Coach
The TTC also runs WheelTrans, a para-transit service for the physically disabled with special buses designed to accommodate wheelchairs. Since the 1990s, the TTC has focused in providing assessible services on buses, RT and subway operations.
See more at: Toronto Assessible Transit Services
See more at: Toronto Island Ferry Services
TTC operations and other information
Most TTC operations are based either at the William O'Brien building at 1900 Yonge Street (over Davisville subway station), or at the Hillcrest complex at Bathurst and Davenport Streets.
See more at: TTC Operations
- The TTC Story by Mike Filey
- Not A One Horse Town by Mike Filey
- Reflections & Recollections Transfer Points January 2005
- Independents Take Over – TTC Goes Metro Wide Transfer Points August-September 2004
- Toronto Transit Commission Goes Metro Wide Transfer Point December 2004
- TTC Archives