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Scrabbleship

I'm visiting Toronto for the first time and I have some transit related questions

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I'm heading up to Toronto for a few days heading out of Canada Day and I have some questions.

1: I'm arriving midday Tuesday (into YYZ, UP Express fare already bought) and leaving later Friday (from YTZ). Is it worth buying a Presto card for my stay or would buying day passes for the two full days I'll be there be worth it?

2: I'm staying downtown. Is there any logic about which routes are Flexity versus CLRV/ALRV? How hard would it be to get a ride on either of the latter?

3: By the time I arrive, will the assortment of electric buses (XE40/Proterra/BYD) have arrived and if so where should I go to try to get a ride?

4: What's the bus situation downtown?

5: Best stations on the TTC to visit?

Thanks!

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41 minutes ago, Scrabbleship said:

I'm heading up to Toronto for a few days heading out of Canada Day and I have some questions.

1: I'm arriving midday Tuesday (into YYZ, UP Express fare already bought) and leaving later Friday (from YTZ). Is it worth buying a Presto card for my stay or would buying day passes for the two full days I'll be there be worth it?

2: I'm staying downtown. Is there any logic about which routes are Flexity versus CLRV/ALRV? How hard would it be to get a ride on either of the latter?

3: By the time I arrive, will the assortment of electric buses (XE40/Proterra/BYD) have arrived and if so where should I go to try to get a ride?

4: What's the bus situation downtown?

5: Best stations on the TTC to visit?

Thanks!

1. Only Presto allows you to use a 2-hour transfer, so there's a benefit of that. With the recent fare adjustment, Presto only gives you a $0.15 savings per ride over cash, and it costs $6 to purchase the card. If you didn't already pay for your UP fare it may have the potential to be cheaper to use Presto, but if you buy Day Passes it'll give you more flexibility and probably save you more money.

2. TTC prefers to fully convert one route to Flexity before moving onto the next route. So routes 504, 509, 510, 512 should be fully Flexity, and 506 will be fully CLRV. 501 is the current "transitioning" route so it will have a mix of CLRV and Flexity. The ALRVs were just reactivated from storage last week, so if you're very lucky you might find one out as a last-resort spare or a cover vehicle (most likely on 501).

3. No Proterra or BYD buses have been delivered, so chances of finding one around Canada Day are zero. The XE40s will be based out of Arrow Road garage in the north-west end of the city; it's unknown if they will enter service by the time of your visit, so check one of the online trackers.

4. Some of the streetcar routes are being replaced by buses due to construction (505) or lack of available streetcars (502, 503, 511). They also run some bus trippers to provide extra capacity during rush hour. Otherwise there are a number of other bus routes in the downtown core; just look for route numbers that aren't in the 500s.

5. What are you looking for in a station - frequent service, cool/interesting architecture, nice views?

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5.

The stations on the Spadina extension all have unique architecture. This includes stations from Vaughan Metro Center to Downsview Park. The original Downsview station, now called Sheppard West also looks neat. 

Dupont station has an interesting feel that you may like. Rosedale station is outdoors and it’s nice and quiet. 

Spadina station has a tunnel that used to have a moving escalator but doesn’t anymore but signs of it still exist. It also has an entrance that is an old house.

Museum station is one of the best and definitely one to see. St. Patrick and Queen’s Park have stations that have circular tunnels and look interesting. 

Union station is newly renovated and is near the Great Hall, Brookfield Place and Commerce Court which are all places to see with nice architecture. 

Sheppard Line stations (Line 4) all have their own different artwork at each station and overall the line is quite empty relative to the others

Not sure when you’re planning on returning to Toronto, but the Scarborough RT (Line 3) is expected to be closing within 10 years (Maybe) so if you’re not planning to be back by then maybe that’s worth a ride 

The Bloor-Danforth stations aren’t that exciting except for maybe Old Mill which has a nice view and is half underground and half above ground. 

Enjoy your trip !! 

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2. 506 is the only all CLRV route. 501 is mixed, and the rest are all Flexity now. 505/511/502/503 are currently running with buses, and you can catch the oldest buses in the fleet on these routes.

4. The busiest bus route in the downtown core is 6 Bay, keep it mind that since it mostly serves M-F commuter traffic it's very frequent during the day but not on evenings and weekends. South of Bloor the 29 Dufferin (which has Novabus artics) and 63 Ossington are busiest and most frequent bus routes, but they are a bit outside downtown. Everything else downtown is either peak only (the 14X express routes) or lower frequency services like the 121, 75, and 72A routes).

You'll also be able to catch GO transit buses (MCI D4500 and Enviro500 double decker) coming in and out of the Union Station bus terminal, generally north on Bay and south on Yonge from the Gardiner Expressway.

5. My favourite stations are Davisville (outdoors and next to the Davisville Yard) and St. Clair West (1970s brutalist architecture and a pretty big underground bus and streetcar terminal). You also might want to check out Finch, it serves the Finch and Steeles bus routes, some of the busiest and most frequent in the system (Finch East has <2 minute headways in rush hour) and suburban YRT and GO buses. Also, technically not a station, but the Queen/King/Roncesvalles intersection and Roncesvalles carhouse (try to go in the early afternoon when the PM rush runs leave the carhouse).

If you have the time, you might also want to visit Humber loop (where the Long Branch section of the 501 meets the main section) and ride all the way to the end of the line at Long Branch loop. This is part of an old interurban route, it takes you all the way to the city boundary and has a very different feeling (almost like a small town main street) than the rest of the streetcar system.

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11 hours ago, CLRV4002 said:

5.

The stations on the Spadina extension all have unique architecture. This includes stations from Vaughan Metro Center to Downsview Park. The original Downsview station, now called Sheppard West also looks neat. 

Dupont station has an interesting feel that you may like. Rosedale station is outdoors and it’s nice and quiet. 

Spadina station has a tunnel that used to have a moving escalator but doesn’t anymore but signs of it still exist. It also has an entrance that is an old house.

Museum station is one of the best and definitely one to see. St. Patrick and Queen’s Park have stations that have circular tunnels and look interesting. 

Union station is newly renovated and is near the Great Hall, Brookfield Place and Commerce Court which are all places to see with nice architecture. 

Sheppard Line stations (Line 4) all have their own different artwork at each station and overall the line is quite empty relative to the others

Not sure when you’re planning on returning to Toronto, but the Scarborough RT (Line 3) is expected to be closing within 10 years (Maybe) so if you’re not planning to be back by then maybe that’s worth a ride 

The Bloor-Danforth stations aren’t that exciting except for maybe Old Mill which has a nice view and is half underground and half above ground. 

Enjoy your trip !! 

Dupont is on my list since we're probably going to Casa Loma. Possibly Spadina since I'd like to see how the corridor that never ends stacks up to similar examples in NYC and Boston.

The main reason why I might ride on the Bloor-Danforth is to get a ride on the T1's while they're still around. Old Mill might be interesting to see how it stacks up to Fort Totten lower in DC.

I think a ride of 506 is in order, if anything to see where part of the genesis of the Type 7's in Boston came from. A shame that the CLRV's that were lent to Boston nearly 40 years ago as a demonstrator have met their retirement.

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If you're lucky you may spot the last remaining Boston CLRV (4029) being shuffled around the Russell yard over at Queen and Greenwood, assuming that by the time you arrive it hasn't been scrapped yet. With the fleet being in a transitional state right now the yard is full of dead cars, so if that's something you're interested in I'd recommend a trip over.

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1 hour ago, Scrabbleship said:

Dupont is on my list since we're probably going to Casa Loma. Possibly Spadina since I'd like to see how the corridor that never ends stacks up to similar examples in NYC and Boston.

The main reason why I might ride on the Bloor-Danforth is to get a ride on the T1's while they're still around. Old Mill might be interesting to see how it stacks up to Fort Totten lower in DC.

 I think a ride of 506 is in order, if anything to see where part of the genesis of the Type 7's in Boston came from. A shame that the CLRV's that were lent to Boston nearly 40 years ago as a demonstrator have met their retirement.

If you want to ride the 506 you should try to ride the whole line, it runs through lots of different and interesting neighbourhoods.

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14 hours ago, Scrabbleship said:

I'm heading up to Toronto for a few days heading out of Canada Day and I have some questions.

1: I'm arriving midday Tuesday (into YYZ, UP Express fare already bought) and leaving later Friday (from YTZ). Is it worth buying a Presto card for my stay or would buying day passes for the two full days I'll be there be worth it?

2: I'm staying downtown. Is there any logic about which routes are Flexity versus CLRV/ALRV? How hard would it be to get a ride on either of the latter?

3: By the time I arrive, will the assortment of electric buses (XE40/Proterra/BYD) have arrived and if so where should I go to try to get a ride?

4: What's the bus situation downtown?

5: Best stations on the TTC to visit?

Thanks!

The best stations I would suggest visiting is stations that aren't that busy. Such as Rosedale, Glancarin and Davisville 

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18 hours ago, The Queensway said:

The best stations I would suggest visiting is stations that aren't that busy. Such as Rosedale, Glancarin and Davisville 

At least spell it right. GLENCAIRN. 

 

As for the original question, I recommend possibly the new stations (Downsview Park - Vaughn Metropolitan Centre) on the Line 1 Expansion. Also, I highly recommend traveling, at the end of your journey, to Kipling  as riding the 900 Airport Express is a cool trip. A possible great way to end your trip, @Scrabbleship

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A Day Pass is definitely the way to go if you are planning on travelling all over the system. A Presto card has the two hour transfer but no daily capping. It's not worth trying to figure out ways to use Presto which work out cheaper than just getting a day pass. Basically you can get on anything and go anywhere, except on a premium fare express (as opposed to the regular 900 series expresses), or on an extra fare route that goes beyond the city limits (except for the 900, that's city fare).

There are several points on the system where you can see Flexity and CLRV routes cross each other, for example Queen and Broadview (501 with turning 504), Gerrard and Broadview (506 crossing 504),  Queen and Roncesvalles (501/504) and Howard Park and Roncesvalles (506/504). If you like to see streetcars turning from one street to another, Queen/Broadview is good, as are King/Dufferin.

If you asked me which one streetcar route you should ride end-to-end, I'd say 506 Carlton. If you asked which two routes, I'd say 506 and 512 St. Clair.

Stations, here are some suggestions:

  1. To fully appreciate rush hour loading, hang out at Bloor/Yonge, on the upper platforms, in morning rush hour (8 AM) or evening rush hour (5 PM)
  2. Only station with mostly original trim from 1954 is the platform level of Eglinton
  3. Chester station strikes me as being the closest to what the original Bloor line stations looked like in 1966
  4. Finch station bus terminal is interesting to hang out in rush hours for the sheer busyness; 7:30 AM is good

For buses downtown, there's the 6 Bay bus, and 505 Dundas is bustituted so there will be a variety of buses crossing at Dundas and Bay. The premium fare express buses use Richmond and Adelaide in the AM and PM rushes. Then there's the 121 Fort York Esplanade, which is kind of a toonertown trolley.

 

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On 5/18/2019 at 9:16 AM, Ed T. said:

A Day Pass is definitely the way to go if you are planning on travelling all over the system. A Presto card has the two hour transfer but no daily capping. It's not worth trying to figure out ways to use Presto which work out cheaper than just getting a day pass. Basically you can get on anything and go anywhere, except on a premium fare express (as opposed to the regular 900 series expresses), or on an extra fare route that goes beyond the city limits (except for the 900, that's city fare).

You can also use a Presto card  on GO Transit and all other neighboring GTHA systems from Durham Region to Hamilton. In the 6 years since I got it, I've used my Ottawa Presto card on TTC, YRT, UP Express, and GO.

TTC has also introduced Presto tickets for single-ride, 2-ride, and day pass. Those are sold at subway stations from VMC south to Lawrence West, and at several Shoppers Drug Mart stores in that part of the city. The only downtown sales point for those so far is the Shoppers at Eaton Centre.

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On 6/12/2019 at 7:16 PM, Mark Walton said:

You can also use a Presto card  on GO Transit and all other neighboring GTHA systems from Durham Region to Hamilton. In the 6 years since I got it, I've used my Ottawa Presto card on TTC, YRT, UP Express, and GO.

TTC has also introduced Presto tickets for single-ride, 2-ride, and day pass. Those are sold at subway stations from VMC south to Lawrence West, and at several Shoppers Drug Mart stores in that part of the city. The only downtown sales point for those so far is the Shoppers at Eaton Centre.

I'm bumping this on the request of my spouse. We're staying downtown near the CN Tower and they're wondering if the Shoppers at Eaton Centre (which I've always wanted to go to) is really the closest place to get a Presto card. We may be doing more riding than originally intended, they really want to go to the Zoo even given how much of a pain it is to get there via transit.

On 5/18/2019 at 5:52 AM, Orion VI said:

As for the original question, I recommend possibly the new stations (Downsview Park - Vaughn Metropolitan Centre) on the Line 1 Expansion. Also, I highly recommend traveling, at the end of your journey, to Kipling  as riding the 900 Airport Express is a cool trip. A possible great way to end your trip, @Scrabbleship

This is a no-go as our flights are into YYZ heading there, out of YTZ on the way home. That said, is Porter still running a free shuttle from downtown? I know they were before the pedestrian tunnel to YTZ was opened but is this still the case?

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Here is some information on a Day Pass: http://ttc.ca/Fares_and_passes/Passes/Day_Pass/index.jsp

Note that if you are travelling to the zoo, or anywhere on the system, on a Saturday or Sunday, one Day Pass can cover two adults and a combination of kids. But you have to stay together. This functionality is not available with Presto. (Note, the TTC is really deprecating the Day Passes....I'm going to check if I can still actually get one.)

You can buy Presto cards in Union Station, and at any GO station: https://www.gotransit.com/en/faq/faq (scroll down).

You might as well visit Eaton Centre, although Eaton's is long gone. :lol: To my mind, in the scheme of distances and times, the Eaton Centre is a pretty trivial (and interesting) walk from the CN Tower area.

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23 minutes ago, Scrabbleship said:

This is a no-go as our flights are into YYZ heading there, out of YTZ on the way home. That said, is Porter still running a free shuttle from downtown? I know they were before the pedestrian tunnel to YTZ was opened but is this still the case?

Not necessarily. You could entertain the 900 Airport Express from the airport when you land. The UP Express takes the fun out of the ride, and is a bit more than the local transit ride. The complimentary shuttle is still being run by Porter. The shuttle runs to the foot of Bathurst St, then the foot mission begins from there to the terminal via the pedestrian tunnel. 

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The haul out to the zoo isn’t as bad as it seems. The loop for the 86 (or the 85 on weekends) is literally 200 feet from the admission gates. I’m biased, but I really think it’s one of the top zoos in the world. In North America only San Diego does a better job, IMHO.

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1 hour ago, bus_7246 said:

Not necessarily. You could entertain the 900 Airport Express from the airport when you land. The UP Express takes the fun out of the ride, and is a bit more than the local transit ride. The complimentary shuttle is still being run by Porter. The shuttle runs to the foot of Bathurst St, then the foot mission begins from there to the terminal via the pedestrian tunnel. 

The issue is the Expedia package my partner bought included UP Express fare. If it's paid for why not ride it?

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5 hours ago, Scrabbleship said:

I'm bumping this on the request of my spouse. We're staying downtown near the CN Tower and they're wondering if the Shoppers at Eaton Centre (which I've always wanted to go to) is really the closest place to get a Presto card.

There's probably a dozen Shoppers closer to the CN Tower than the Eaton Centre. 

But that also puts you close to Union Station. Probably the simplest thing if you want to buy Presto is to go Union from your UP train - as they are far more competent/pragmatic than the staff at Shoppers. On the other hand, the walk to the CN Tower is the opposite direction - so might want to take luggage to hotel first.

Just go to the main GO ticket counter at Union Station (York Concourse, just south of Front street) - it's open from about 6 AM to almost 1 AM.

You should also be able to get a Presto card at the UP station at the airport - so if you just miss a train, then why not. I guess you can get one at the ticket counter for UP at Union as well as you get off that train - though I've never tried. And it might confuse them if you aren't planning to use Presto on the UP train.

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1 hour ago, nfitz said:

There's probably a dozen Shoppers closer to the CN Tower than the Eaton Centre. 

But that also puts you close to Union Station. Probably the simplest thing if you want to buy Presto is to go Union from your UP train - as they are far more competent/pragmatic than the staff at Shoppers. On the other hand, the walk to the CN Tower is the opposite direction - so might want to take luggage to hotel first.

Just go to the main GO ticket counter at Union Station (York Concourse, just south of Front street) - it's open from about 6 AM to almost 1 AM.

You should also be able to get a Presto card at the UP station at the airport - so if you just miss a train, then why not. I guess you can get one at the ticket counter for UP at Union as well as you get off that train - though I've never tried. And it might confuse them if you aren't planning to use Presto on the UP train.

The nearest Shoppers to Union Station is in RBC Plaza across Front Street. You can get there via the PATH,  it keeps pretty much mall hours 7AM - 6:30 PM, closed Sundays.

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1 hour ago, Mark Walton said:

The nearest Shoppers to Union Station is in RBC Plaza across Front Street. You can get there via the PATH,  it keeps pretty much mall hours 7AM - 6:30 PM, closed Sundays.

No point detouring there from the  Union UP terminal west of York Street en route to the CN Tower. Might as well go the the GO ticket counter with much more competent staff, and only about 1/4 the distance. Especially with all the construction.

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12 hours ago, Scrabbleship said:

I'm bumping this on the request of my spouse. We're staying downtown near the CN Tower and they're wondering if the Shoppers at Eaton Centre (which I've always wanted to go to) is really the closest place to get a Presto card. We may be doing more riding than originally intended, they really want to go to the Zoo even given how much of a pain it is to get there via transit.

The best place to get a presto card near the CN Tower is the GO ticket desk at Union Station.

Some of the presto vending machines take cash, all take cards but AFAIK they will only accept Chip and PIN cards so plan around that.

The zoo is a pain to get to on transit, but from a transitfan perspective it lets you ride some of the major suburban trunk routes that tourists never generally go near.

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I checked with the station attendant at Osgoode and paper Day Passes are still available for sale. (It's always safest to ask.)

Note that Presto isn't transferrable, so if two people are travelling, each needs their own Presto card (you can't just tap twice with one card).

Honestly, I'd go with a day pass (especially on Saturday/Sunday/stat holiday [Canada Day Monday this year]) or cash if you want simplicity and try to play the transfer game. But if you want a souvenir of a technology that isn't all that great, go ahead with Presto.

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3 hours ago, Ed T. said:

INote that Presto isn't transferrable, so if two people are travelling, each needs their own Presto card (you can't just tap twice with one card).

You need two cards for two riders (at least using TTC, some of the smaller transit systems have other options).

But that's not what transferable normally means. My wife and I transfer Presto cards back and forth all the time - but obviously we don't both use the same one at the same time (but really useful if someone get's home, and the next user leaves shortly after with a free transfer to start their trip!)

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