Sarah’s Declassified TTC Survival Guide (Results May Vary)

By Sarah Patriarca

Picture this: you’re standing on the platform at St. George Station, people are bumping into you left and right to get to where they’re going, and it’s rush hour. It’s damp and cold from the winter storm the night before and you are just dying to get home. Then that wretched announcement sounds through the P.A. system.

“We are currently experiencing a delay due to track control from St. George Station to Eglinton West Station.”

As a person who commutes every single day to get to class, there is always the same voice on the P.A. system reminding me there is going to be some sort of delay. It has never failed during my time as a commuter and I have accepted this. Since Ryerson is a commuter school, I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts and experiences with the TTC in the hope that most students will be able to relate. Here are five things that Ryerson commuter students experience on a daily basis that make us cringe, as well as some tips.

  • Avoid Bloor-Yonge Station at all times

No matter what time of day it is, Bloor-Yonge is a station that should be avoided if you can. This station is always busy and usually has you waiting for three trains to go by before you finally catch one. I learned this the hard way. In my head, taking the transfer from Line 1 to Line 2 to get to Dundas Station sounded like a faster route, but I came to realize that taking the loop around and staying on the train was way easier and much, much faster.

  • “Shuttle buses are running”

Any time the P.A. system tells you that shuttle buses are running, it’s best you stay home unless you have an exam. I come from Vaughan, which takes me an hour and a half to get to Dundas; if at any point there are shuttle buses, it will take me twice as long. This ultimately means that I will be traveling by subway longer than I would be in class, which, let's be honest, is generally not worth it.

  • The suddenly out-of-service train

This happens to me maybe once a week. Basically, the train that I’m currently riding will all of a sudden go out of service, which means I have to get off the train and then take the next train that comes. It usually takes a while for the next train to board which makes the duration of my travel time longer! My tip for this delay is to take a look at the sign above the subway car that usually says the terminal station. If it says a different station, take the next train. Or look at the map on the train! If the light indicating each station stops glowing at a certain stop, then that means that the train will stop its services there. 

  • Keep to yourself

If you are the type of person, like me, that feels anxious when being downtown or being on the train, try to tune out the people around you. Music, I have found, is a huge help in distracting me from the outside world. Pop in your earbuds and just listen to whatever your heart desires! The TTC also has Wi-Fi at each station and although the service isn’t the best, it can still get the music blasting in your ears. Having earbuds is a great way to avoid people that make you feel uncomfortable. If you would rather still be aware of your surroundings, read a book, which I find is helpful in tuning out the world while still being aware of what’s going on in the train.

  • Be aware of the Wilson Yard

If you are coming from Vaughan like I do, you will come to realize that the travel time from Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station to Shepherd West is very fast. But be aware that as soon as you leave Shepherd West Station, you should expect delays going southbound because of the Wilson Yard. The Wilson Yard is used to add more trains to the tracks during busy hours. It doesn’t help that there is a speed control from Shepherd West to Yorkdale Station. If you are coming from that way, leave a little bit earlier, as these few stations take up 15 minutes of your travel time even though there are only three of them.

Regardless of where you are coming from to get to the city, transit is always going to have delays. We complain about the TTC but at the end of the day, it is what gets us from point A to downtown, so try to enjoy the ride when you can!