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Toronto Transportation

Getting There

Airport
Toronto has a duo of airports. Bustling Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)—known as Pearson or YYZ—is Canada’s busiest airport. Located 17 miles to the northwest of downtown Toronto, it’s grown exponentially since opening in 1939 with a terminal building created out of a farmhouse. Most Terminal 1 departures are Air Canada. The airport is a hub for WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing, and a major destination for U.S. and international carriers. Local Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) bus service 192—the “Airport Rocket”—links Pearson to Kipling subway station. Subway trains to downtown Toronto leave every few minutes. Allow around an hour if you’re driving from downtown to Pearson or taking a cab. Budget an hour and a half if opting for transit.

Tiny Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ)—more frequently referred to as Toronto Island Airport—sits in Lake Ontario just 400 feet from the city proper. Open since 1939, it’s the home of Canada’s Porter Airlines and is an easy way to arrange your Toronto travel. Porter passengers must catch a small ferry to the island. Schedule an extra 20 minutes in case you miss a ferry. Streetcar number 509 stops at Bathurst Street and Queen’s Quay—one block from the dock. Porter flies to and from Boston, Chicago, Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Mont-Tremblant, Myrtle Beach, Newark, Ottawa, Quebec City, St. John's, Sudbury and Thunder Bay.  
Train
Via Rail is the Canadian national rail network, linking Toronto to cities from Halifax in the east to Prince Rupert in the west. Via Rail links up to cities with Amtrak service at Windsor/Detroit and at Niagara Falls. Amtrak’s Maple Leaf route connects New York and Toronto, while the Adirondack travels from New York to Montreal via Albany. Closer to Toronto, regional GO trains shuttle commuters between Toronto and the suburbs, towns and cities to the north, east and west.  
Bus
The city is easy to reach by bus with Greyhound service from around the U.S. and Canada. Toronto Coach Terminal is in downtown Toronto at Bay and Edward, just one block from the Dundas streetcar route and two blocks from Dundas subway station at Yonge-Dundas Square. Megabus service reaches Toronto from New York, Rochester, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Montreal. Megabuses depart from Toronto Coach Terminal and Toronto Airport. Trailways of New York offers scheduled service to Toronto from Buffalo with connections to New York and the Northeast.  

Getting Around

Driving
Unless you have a lot to carry or have day trips out of the city in mind, you’ll get more out of Toronto without a car. Recent reports put Toronto traffic in the top 12 cities worldwide for the worst commute—alongside Johannesburg and Moscow. Avoid major roads between 4PM and 6:30PM on weekdays and Sundays, when people stream back into the city after weekends in cottage country.  
Taxis
There are set flat fares for taxis from Pearson International to most downtown locations—$53 plus tip—and less for destinations on the west side of the city. The island airport is less than a $10 cab ride from the heart of the city. Beck Taxi and Diamond Taxicab are two prominent cab operators. Initial drop rate is $2.75, with another dollar per extra kilometer. You’ll rarely be waiting more than a minute for a cab—Toronto is well supplied with them and you can hail a taxi on all downtown street corners and on most main roads at any time of day or night.  
Public Transit
Toronto transportation is straightforward. The Toronto Transit Commission is responsible for the city’s bus, streetcar and subway network. Toronto has two main subway lines—the east-west Bloor-Danforth line and the looped Yonge-University-Spadina line. Although sometimes untidy, trains are safe and efficient. Look for the guard’s car—marked with a white or orange light—if traveling alone late at night. Buses are mostly used for commuting. They offer request stops between official stops for women traveling between 9PM and 5AM. Toronto’s elderly streetcars have been on city streets since 1921. They’re often slow but provide an excellent transport option for visitors. Streetcars sail east-west along King, Queen, Dundas and College streets, and north-south on Spadina and Bathurst. Southbound 510 and 511 Spadina and Bathurst cars turn east when they reach the lake and stop at Queen’s Quay ferry docks before going into Union Station. Look for traffic before boarding—streetcars stop in the outer lane of traffic, and autos must stop behind the vehicle. Four city ferry routes leave from Queen’s Quay—all destined for the Toronto Islands.  

Useful information about TTC services:

Buses and streetcars accept exact fares, passes and TTC tokens.

Buy five or 10 discounted TTC tokens—valid on bus, streetcar and subway—from subway station staff, station vending machines and many convenience stores.

Tickets are valid for one continuous journey including all changes.

If your journey has more than one leg, ask for a transfer on buses and streetcars and look for the red transfer machines in the subway station your journey originates at.

Seniors can travel on reduced price seniors’ tickets—available at staffed subway stations and in many convenience stores.

If traveling to the eastern, western or northern suburbs and neighboring cities, TTC services link up with the GO trains at Union Station.

If catching the northbound subway train at downtown stops during rush hour, it’s often faster to catch the southbound train to stations farther down the line and then transfer to a northbound train. sportation.
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