Toronto Transit Commission

From Academic Kids

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TTC logo

The Toronto Transit Commission, or TTC, is a public transport authority that operates buses, streetcars, and rapid transit lines in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


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 are referred to as subways, while a fourth is mostly elevated; 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.

See more at Toronto Transit History or Toronto Transportation Commission.


TTC Fares as of March 2005
TTC Fares as of March 2005
Main article: Toronto Transit Commission Fares

The TTC fare system accepts cash, tickets, tokens, and transit passes.

The provincial Minister of Transportation has announced plans to introduce the GTA Farecard, an unified smartcard-based payment system for the entire Greater Toronto Area similar to the Octopus Card used in Hong Kong.

Subway and RT System

A subway train pulls into  on the University Line.
A subway train pulls into St. Andrew station on the University Line.
Main article: Toronto Subway and RT

The Toronto subway/RT 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; the Scarborough RT, a mostly-elevated line built in 1985 which runs further east of the Bloor-Danforth line's terminus; and the short Sheppard line, completed in 2002. The Scarborough RT is separated from the other three lines by its use of trains with a different propulsion technology and track gauge.

In the mid-1990s, work began on an Eglinton West Subway Line, but the project was cancelled before significant progress was made. Construction of this line is no longer a priority for the TTC.

The TTC's current focus for rapid-transit expansion is a short extension bringing the western branch of the Yonge-University-Spadina line north to York University and Steeles Avenue.


A TTC streetcar on Dundas Street.
A TTC streetcar on Dundas Street.
Main article: Toronto Streetcar System

Toronto's streetcar system is one of the few in North America still operating along classic lines. 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).

Buses and trolley coaches

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TTC NovaBus RTS 7207 at Finch Station.
Main article: Toronto Buses and Trolley Buses

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. The TTC always used the term trolley coach to refer to its trackless electric vehicles.

Gray Coach

Main article: Toronto Interurban Buses - Gray Coach

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.

Wheelchair-accessible services

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A WheelTrans Overland-Ford 9277 on a regularly scheduled stop at Dufferin Mall in Toronto, Ontario.
Main article: Toronto Assessible Transit Services

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.

Ferry service

Main article: Toronto Island Ferry Services

The ferry service to the Toronto Islands was operated by the TTC from 1927 until 1954, when it was transferred to the Metro (now Toronto) parks department.

TTC operations and other information

Main article: TTC Operations

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 also


  • 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

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