An Open Letter to the TTC

To whom it may concern at the Toronto Transit Commission:

I’ve been living in Toronto for almost two years, and I’ve got to say that I have enjoyed being able to get around the city using the TTC. Not needing to have the expense of a car in the city has been amazing, and I enjoy being able to just sit back and enjoy the sites of downtown instead of having to deal with driving downtown. Especially during rush hour. I know you know how I feel!

However, this weekend, I had my first bad experience whilst using the TTC. I know, it’s a miracle it took almost two years to happen, but it happened, and now I’m left feeling completely amazed at the lack of common sense used for the TTC system when combined with tokens and transfers.

Let me set the scene for you: I’m leaving church on Sunday and getting on the bus on my way home. Thankfully, I only have to take one bus on the way home, and it only takes me around 15-20 minutes depending on how many stops the bus has to make. I pay with a token and request a transfer because I knew I needed to make a stop on my way home. I ride for about 15 minutes, get off and pick up a few things at a store on the route and then proceed to go back to the bus stop where I got off to get back on and continue on my merry way.

I have done this so many times! Usually with a monthly pass so I didn’t have to worry about tokens and transfers and the like. But with the recent postal strike, my employer has stopped supplying that pass and I don’t use the TTC enough to actually purchase one for myself. Tokens were a great option for me. 

I get back on the bus, show my transfer and start to make my way to a seat. For the first time in my life, the bus driver stopped me! He told me my transfer wasn’t valid. Now, when I switched from the monthly pass to the tokens, I made sure to ask a driver one time how long the transfers were good for. He said two hours. I showed the driver of this bus my transfers and said, “I just got it 20 minutes ago, it’s still valid.” I was confused why he was stopping me. “It doesn’t allow stopovers, you need to pay again.”

I. Was. Shocked.

What kind of system doesn’t allow stopovers?! I pulled out my wallet and threw in another token, my second in twenty minutes, and made my way to a seat on the bus to continue the last 5-minutes of my journey to my house. Once there, I called your customer service line and was told the exact same thing:

Transfers don’t allow you to make stopovers.

Not even if I get off the bus, do shopping, and then want to return on a bus going in the opposite direction. I was instructed to purchase a Presto card to avoid this in the future since the cards were just updated to allow stopovers. Just updated to allow stopovers?!

Apparently, I have been extremely lucky because I’ve never been forced to pay twice before for the same trip. Yet, I still have to say that this is the most idiotic set up I’ve ever encountered. The lady from your customer service line’s reasoning for this was “it’s always been that way.” That doesn’t make it any less stupid.

Why on earth would you expect people to pay multiple times for going in one direction when they need to make stops along the way? This is literally the only transit system I’ve encountered to work things this way, and I’ve been on quite a few, even ones in different countries.

I’ve got to say TTC, I’m really disappointed in you. I can handle your delays and random line closures, and buses that are supposed to come on time but don’t, or buses that Triplinx shows will be making a stop where I need them too but are Express buses instead and I have to wait for another 10 minutes in the rain for the next regular bus, or the 4 Express buses in a row that pass a stop before a regular one arrives. That’s just all expected when dealing with a transit system. But not allowing transfers to let you get off and back on a bus?

That is pure lunacy. I’m surprised you operate on such a scam within your system.


A Flabbergasted Citizen

18 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the TTC

  1. I think u are right. I’ve never heard of that. Any time I’ve used a transfer in the States, as long as you were going the same direction, it was fine. We rode around the whole perimeter of Oahu once on one paid fee, stopping for lunch, etc. I don’t get it

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t get it either! Any other transit system, as long as it’s within the hour or two where the transfer was valid, you could get on and off as many times as you needed to. Switch buses, go on different lines, whatever. I couldn’t say anything else to the customer service lady than “but Why? What’s the point of transfers then?!” Apparently they are just to switch lines while traveling. I’m going to have to get a presto card once I use up my current tokens.


    • Paying for the number of stops is a good idea! But when it’s a flat rate no matter how many stops you ride, it’s a horrible system. At least with the transfer you can change to another bus if you need to. In Korea you pay how far you go. Even on buses. There is a transit card that works for taxis, buses, and the subway. You just tap it when you get on and off (or pay your taxi fare with it like a credit card) and it’s super great.


  2. Whaaaaaaat? I guess I don’t know what a transfer actually is. I’ve never had to use the bus too many times but I always assumed the purpose of a transfer was so you could get off for an hour or two, do shopping, and get back on. What the heck? So if you have to get off and do stuff at 2 different places on the same route, you need to use 3 tokens? Nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are different passes you can buy, monthly etc, but if you are just “pay as you go” then you pay for every segment, regardless – much like you did above. That’s just how it’s always been. They set it up so there are zones and the cost goes up every time you cross a zone border.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A card you load up with money. You can’t use cash on trains but you can pay cash on the buses (doesn’t matter which you do as system stays the same, although I think card payment is slightly discounted to encourage people to use the card)

    Liked by 1 person

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