Photo cred - Dylan Passmore
Everyone knows the TTC is a dramatic mess. It's best to avoid it at all costs, but occasionally you actually have to go places, so you might as well try and make it your friend. Now, there's still going to be occasions when you get trapped next to a creepy dude who won't stop "accidentally" touching your hair. And there's no way to avoid delays completely, or never get stuck in traffic. But if you put in a little bit of extra effort, you can reduce the headache significantly.
Get The Transit Now Toronto App
Everyone should already have this app, but if you somehow don't install it right now. Knowing exactly how long you have before the bus near your house is showing up will cut down on the amount of time you have to spend waiting for it in the cold. This is going to be key over the next few months. Get it hurr.
Get On The Queen And Dundas Streetcars on Victoria Street
If you're getting off the subway and planning on heading east on either of these streets, it's often better to quickly walk one street east and grab the streetcar there. You'll beat the crowd at Yonge street, and might even be able to grab yourself a seat!
Metropass' Aren't Always Worth It
Tokens suck, but if you aren't planning on commuting at least twice a day, five days a week, a Metropass will be a complete waste of money. And that's only if you buy them on the first of the month. You basically have to use them twice a day, seven days a week for them to be worth it otherwise. There is something to be said about their convenience, but if you're not really rolling in it, you're better off without one.
Photo cred - gbalogh
Always Take A Transfer
If you're a token user, make sure to take a transfer every time you get on a bus or streetcar, or enter the subway. Even if you're not going to end up at a transfer station, bus and streetcar drivers often just randomly make you show them your transfer as you get in for the lulz. And you don't want to waste another $2.70.
Get Efficient TTC
If you have an iPhone, this app can often be the difference between catching your bus and missing it. It lets you know where the exits are on any given subway station, so you know exactly where to stand when waiting for your train. This way, you make sure to get off right where you need to be to get to the bus bay quickly. Download it here.
Minimize Your Streetcar Usage During Rush Hour
Streetcars can be slow as fuck, especially when there's a lot of cars on the road. Even if your streetcar gets you straight to where you need to go, it might be worth it to just take the subway to a nearer station and then streetcar north or south from there.
Always Be Aware Of Alternative Routes
Has your train decided to take a snooze at Ossington station for an hour? Get off that shit and grab a bus. You're not married to it.
Sometimes, It's Good To Get In Last
Everyone's impulse is always to try to be the first person on the subway car, but it's not always worth it. If you're getting on the Westbound train at Spadina station, try to be the last person getting in. You're probably not going to get a seat anyway, but the train starts using the opposite door for pretty much the entirety of the rest of the ride, so you'll get a better chance at the much coveted door spot. Everyone else will be holding on to those gross poles like a bunch of suckers, but you'll be comfortably leaning for the rest of your trip.
Bike To Your Nearest Subway Station
Unless you're a winter cyclist, this is really only good for the warmer months of the year, but it'll save on time. Biking is often a lot faster than being on the bus, especially if your bus goes on a major street. Save yourself the heartache of being on a bus that's stuck in traffic for five minutes right in front of the subway station you need to get to.
Get Comfortable With The 97
If you're going north on Yonge, this bus can often be less of a pain in the ass than the subway. It doesn't run too frequently, but as long as you have the app on you, you can time yourself so you meet it as it arrives. At night it becomes 320, and it'll save you a lot of money on cab fare.
Be Friends with TTC's Trip Planner
On the TTC website, there's a page that'll figure out your best possible route for you more efficiently than Google Maps. The TTC has access to information about bus and train arrival times, and will let you know what subway station to go to in order to catch the bus most quickly. Get into it.