ttc

The 10 biggest changes to the TTC over the last decade

The TTC may be the source of your constant headache and the reason you keep being late for work, but it's certainly come a long way from the transit system it was 10 years ago. 

And though it can sometimes be difficult to think of the many (mostly positive) changes the TTC has undergone over the past decade, you can be sure there have been plenty. 

Here are some of the biggest changes to the TTC over the last decade. 

The death of the Metropass

When news broke that the TTC would be ditching its long-standing Metropass back in 2018, many were disappointed — especially those who made a hobby out of collecting the colourful passes

Still, the TTC was firm in its decision to transition to a fully cashless payment system. Now that they're gone, it's difficult to remember a time when transit users carried the rainbow-coloured cards (that had to be purchased monthly) and not the sleek, reusable Presto cards we've come to know and love/hate. 

Presto

The TTC has been trying to transition to a Presto-only cashless payment system for quite some time now, but its introduction didn't exactly get off to a smooth start. After multiple rollout delays, the first Presto machines installed around the city were notoriously faulty

The fare payment method has come a long way since then, and with the TTC officially stopping sales of all tickets, tokens and passes, it seems the city is finally adjusting to the Presto-only system


New stations

Toronto had its most significant subway expansion in almost 40 years back in 2017 with the completion of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension. 

The brand new portion of Line 1 provided the city with an additional 8.6 kilometres of subway service starting at Sheppard West station (formerly Downsview) and ending at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.

Six new state-of-the-art subway stations were constructed along the extension, and commuters were genuinely impressed with their design


New maps

TTC vehicles have gotten multiple new maps over the past decade, and most of them helped make getting around the city easier and clearer. New Line 1 subway maps were installed in 2017 following the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, and they were the first to light up to indicate what stop the train was at. 

The TTC also revealed new maps at the beginning of 2019 that include the entire subway and streetcar network, making it much easier to plan a trip that includes more than one form of transit. 

Two-hour transfers

Toronto residents were surprised and impressed by the transit agency's decision to implement two-hours transfers. Beginning in the summer of 2018, anyone with a Presto card could pay one fare and take unlimited rides in any direction, on any vehicle, for the next 120 minutes. 

The new system was implemented to make it more sensible to ride the TTC during short trips without being charged multiple fares in a short period of time. 


The King St. Pilot Project

The King St. Pilot Project (now called the King Street Transit Priority Corridor) began in the winter of 2017 in order to get transit moving quicker and more efficiently on the bustling downtown street.

Its arrival meant a new set of rules for cars using the stretch, and police have busted a record number of drivers for breaking those rules since it launched. 

Still, the city deemed the pilot project successful after discovering that businesses were doing wellfoot traffic was up, and overall people were happy. The project became permanent at the beginning of 2019. 


Fare inspectors

After it was discovered that the TTC was losing millions of dollars from mass fare evasion, the transit agency decided to hire inspectors to specifically ensure that people were paying their fare.

And while it may sound like an effective way to enforce the rules, it was definitely one of the TTC's less popular decisions. 

Fare inspectors have been accused of being overly agressive and disproportionately targeting racialized folks as well as those experiencing homelessness. But it looks like they're sticking to their guns, because the TTC's 2020 budget calls for 50 new transit enforcement officers. 


New streetcars

The TTC first introduced the brand new streetcars back in 2013, and they were a serious step-up from the older version. The new low-floor streetcars provided more seating, better lighting, air conditioning and a much smoother ride. 

Unfortunately, a whole mess of problems caused the new fleet of vehicles to be delayed multiple times, and many of them had to be sent back to Bombardier for repairs. Not to mention, people really weren't impressed with the new seats that face each other.

Still, Toronto had better get used to these new vehicles because the very last of the old CLRV streetcars are set to be retired at the end of the month. 


New voice

The new rocket subway trains that were introduced in the earlier part of the decade came with a change in how announcements were made. Instead of a TTC employee coming on the speaker every time the vehicle arrived at a stop, a robotic voice did the job instead.

When the new streetcars were introduced a little later, they too had a roboticized voice making the announcements. 

The same voice got an update earlier this year in order to make it sound less American, though fixing that pronunciation problem simply resulted in another one. 

Electric buses

The TTC first announced plans to switch to electric buses back in 2017, but the first TTC eBus wasn't rolled out until last spring. Just one month ago, the first fleet of 60 zero-emission, rechargeable buses was unveiled, and the TTC plans to have them on Toronto roads by early next year. 

The buses can last more than 200 km on one charge and can also serve as mobile power plants in emergency power outages. And with the 60 new vehicles prepping to hit the city's transit routes fairly soon, Toronto is now home to one of the largest "mini-fleets" of ebuses in the continent.

Lead photo by

Phil Marion


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