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'I was blown away' by TTC: Tourist praises Toronto transit, and locals are divided

The TTC had weather its share of blows recently, including violent attacks and cuts to service. But a recent tourist has loved their time riding it

The discourse around Toronto’s divisive transit system has made it to an international section of Reddit, after an out-of-towner took to the platform to praise the TTC.

Posting to the Bay Area Discord Server, under the title "I understand now about our public transportation", the Redditor details a current vacation to Toronto and how the city's public transit compares to San Francisco’s.

Though they initially rented a car for three days, the poster explains they gave that up after it took nearly two hours to enter the highway from downtown.

"For people who do complain about SF traffic, I thought we were bad," Reddit user CurrentlyForking wrote. "I thought NY was bad. Toronto s***s on both of them."

It's a point even Hollywood superstar is all too familiar with, commenting on the city's traffic during a surprise appearance to promote the latest Mission: Impossible film earlier this month.

On their fourth day, they decided to start taking public transportation.

"I don't know s*** about Canada but they make it so easy. I was blown away. $3CAD gets you a bus ticket with unlimited transfers for 2 hours, including subway."

The user loved that "every street has their own bus route that just goes up and down the street, and if you miss the bus, there's another one in 5 minutes” and compares the bus maps to a “chess/checker board."

In a direct message on Reddit, user CurrentlyForking told Yahoo Canada News that they stayed in Scarborough for one week with family, and other relatives in the Church St. neighbourhood of Toronto the following week.

"It was a breeze to take the bus to the subway to get to downtown and vice versa," the user said.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has weathered some tough blows lately, between a slew of violent and deadly attacks to cuts to service, which has resulted in longer wait times for trains and buses on many routes. The replies to the post paint a less-rosy picture than a tourist's.

“Hey I just got back from Toronto too,” another out-of-towner wrote. “Same impression — rode their subway around — train every two minutes and nice and clean.”

"I’m from Toronto and as much as we all complain about transit here it’s solid and only getting better" another commenter wrote. "Still a long ways away from Tokyo but at least there is progress."

"TTC is only [good] when the train actually runs and only in specific areas of Toronto," added another.

When one commenter said the TTC "sucks" compared to major transit systems like New York, it was then pointed out that the Big Apple has three times the population, and Toronto’s transit is expanding to three new lines.

Someone also noted that comparing Toronto to the Bay Area is a stretch, namely because of the geography.

"Toronto is a big, rectilinear grid, laid out on one shore of a body of water, with mainly gentle slopes," they wrote. "The Bay Area is a twisted donut around a big irregular body of water, with sharp hills and ridges popping up in difficult places. So easier to institute a comprehensive, tight, well integrated transit system in the former geography."

I can vent for a month how much Toronto drivers are a**holes.

The Reddit post was also shared on r/Toronto, the subreddit for the city with nearly 700,000 members. One of the top comments was an indictment of the city's drivers.

"The OP goes onto venting about Toronto drivers, saying they are the worst he has ever experienced. Sounds about right," it reads.

The original poster returned to the comments to add their two cents about Toronto drivers, which they felt went against the stereotype of polite Canadians.

"I’m on my 5th day here in Toronto and I can vent for a month how much Toronto drivers are a**holes," they wrote. "I’d rather drive in LA and the bay compared to driving here. They say Canadians are friendly, but not when they’re driving cars."

A representative for the TTC says they appreciate all types of feedback, and take it seriously.

"We’re obviously happy to hear that a visitor had a positive experience on the TTC," spokesman Stuart Green told Yahoo Canada. “We always take the feedback of our customers to heart – positive or otherwise. We continue to work to make the TTC as safe, reliable and welcoming as possible.”

TORONTO, ON - March 3: TTC riders wait on a crowded train at Bloor-Yonge subway station during a delay in Toronto. Toronto Star/Lance McMillan

March-03-2023        (Lance McMillan/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - March 3: TTC riders wait on a crowded train at Bloor-Yonge subway station during a delay in Toronto. Toronto Star/Lance McMillan March-03-2023 (Lance McMillan/Toronto Star via Getty Images)