Thinking Of Living In Toronto Without A Car? Here’s How
Is it possible to live in Toronto without a car? Absolutely yes. Toronto has numerous transport options for those looking to get around without their car. However, whether or not you can sustain such a lifestyle will largely depend on where you live and places you have to go.
For example, if you don’t live near any of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) stops and your way of life involves changing subway lines and buses often, then having a car to get you around can prove helpful, especially if hailing a cab is a more expensive option to you.
Nevertheless, you may still find yourself living in Toronto without a car after all, given the challenges that come with owning one. For instance, in addition to the limited parking spaces, Toronto is among cities with the worst traffic congestion across Canada.
That’s why it would be great to know the options you have at your disposal as this can expose you to a way or ways you can settle in this city and never need a car to move around.
Check them out below.
If you are looking to get to your destination fast, the subway is your best bet. Unlike the rest of the transport options above ground, it’s relatively cheaper.
On weekdays and Saturdays, the trains operate from 6:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. while on weekends they run from around 8:00 a.m. until 1:30 a.m.
Toronto is served by four subway lines. The two main ones include:
- The Yellow Line (Yonge-University-Line) – Serves the northern and southern areas of the city. It has 38 stations and runs from the northern part of Yonge Street all the way to the Union Station and then goes back again.
- The Green Line (Bloor-Danforth line) – Consists of 31 stations and operates along Bloor Street (East and West) and Danforth. Generally, it serves the east and west areas of Toronto.
The other two include Scarborough line, a smaller subway line that runs towards the northern side of the city then diverts to the east, and the Sheppard Line, another shorter line with just five stops and running from the east side to west.
To learn more about the routes, spare some time to check out the interactive subway map.
Streetcars dominate a big portion of the above-ground transport. This is actually demonstrated by the fact it’s the second most active light-rail system across North America.
In other countries, they are referred to as trolleys or trams. Where the subway can’t reach, streetcars and buses do.
Like buses, streetcars stop on demand at specific stops. To identify a streetcar stop, watch out for a streetcar icon and a white pole draped with red bands.
There are twelve streetcar routes in total, all of which are part of the TTC grid. They connect travelers to subway stations and other major stops. One of the routes, 501 Queen, was acknowledged by National Geographic as one of the best streetcar rides in the world.
Please note that streetcars do not accept debit and credit cards. You can only pay cash, which must be the exact amount as no change is issued, or via tokens.
Buses are part of the transport modes run by TTC. Currently, there are well over 172 bus routes mostly servicing the suburban parts of the city. They are divided into five branches, namely regular, express, down express, blue night, and community routes.
Just like streetcar routes, some of them connect to the subway stations. Others run all the way to downtown Toronto.
One of the things that sets the bus system apart from other transport options is that some bus routes operate 24/7. Also, there are some routes that go beyond Toronto to York Region, Mississauga, and other areas.
Because some buses operate infrequently, make sure you plan your trip carefully. To identify a bus stop, look out for a bus icon and a white pole wrapped with red bands.
Like in most major cities, taxis are easily the most common alternative to getting around Toronto without a car. You can either use taxi-hailing apps like Uber or Lyft to find one or go the old-fashioned way where you simply look out for a cab, most of which are in yellow. In case you have trouble finding one, simply walk to a relatively busy area. You’ll likely identify one. However, unlike public transportation, taxi fares tend to be a bit more expensive, regardless of your destination.
If you plan to visit or settle in one of the small islands that form part of the larger Toronto Islands, you’ll have to use a ferry. Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, the departure point, is in Downtown Toronto. The ferry will take you to either Hanlan’s point, Ward’s Island, or Center Island. The charges are about C$7.71 for adults and C$ 3.72 for children aged 14 and below.
Bike or Foot
Getting around Toronto on foot or by a bike is one way to better
explore the city. In fact, downtown Toronto has PATH, a network of underground walkways that link shopping centers, entertainment areas, and other spots. If walking above ground, remember to use well-lit streets and avoid cautioned-about areas.
Biking is also an option most Torontonians have embraced. Thanks to Bike Share Toronto, a special bike sharing program, all you have to do is locate a bike dock with special share bikes, unlock, and then ride to anywhere in Toronto; of course, this comes at a small fee. Note that you have to return the bike within the assigned time, failure to do so will result in being charged extra fees.
Given the fact that subway lines cover a large section of the northern, southern, eastern, and western parts of the city and are complemented by the streetcars and buses, which as we’ve seen, cover multiple routes around the city, it’s possible to rely on public transport and have an easier time living in Toronto without owning a car. What’s more, you can use a taxi, a bicycle, a ferry (if going to the islands), or you can simply walk. It’s just up to you to identify which option(s) would work better for you, learn how it operates, and then maximize on its effectiveness.