Public transport

Trains, busses and flights in Canada

Public transport

Depending on the distances you are traveling, there are many ways to get around. For local travel there are subways, buses, taxis or even by foot, bicycle or dogsled. Intercity travel implies much larger distances, for which there are planes, trains and buses/coaches.

Toronto: In Toronto, the public transportation service is called the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). This service covers the entire city of Toronto and uses a subway (metro) and a bus network. Regular fares effective July 2007 are as follows:

  • Metropass - Transferable (MonthlyPass): $99.75
  • Metropass - Discount Plan (Annual per month): $91.50
  • Five Tickets: $10.50
  • Ten Tickets: $21.00
  • Cash Fare (1 trip): $2.75
  • Day Pass: $8.50

Student/Senior and Child tickets are available at different prices. There is also a free ‘transfer’ ticket, which is used to move from the subway to the bus and vice versa without paying an extra fare for a continuous trip. This transfer must be obtained from red machine dispensers on the subway stations, and/or from the bus driver. If you do not obtain the transfer ticket you will be required to pay another fare.

Toronto’s subway consists of 3 lines. The Bloor-Danforth line goes from east to the west across the city. This line has an extension in the Scarborough area of the City of Toronto, operated with LRT (Light Rapid Transit) trains and it operates in the easternmost part of Toronto. Yonge-University line is a U shaped line that operates from Ontario Lake to the northern parts of Toronto in the north-south directions. Sheppard line is the latest addition to the Toronto subway system and it goes in the east direction from Yonge Street along the Sheppard Avenue. Full schedules and maps can be found on the TTC website . Get familiar with the TTC service in your area as it will be a big help for getting around the city.

Montreal: In Montreal, the public transportation authority is called the Société de transport de Montréal (STM  ). The subway network has 4 lines with pretty comprehensive coverage of the city. Regular fares effective July 2007 are as follows:

  • CAM (MonthlyPass): $65.00
  • CAM (WeeklyPass): $19.00
  • Six Ticket Strip: $11.75
  • Cash Fare (1 trip): $2.75
  • Tourist Card (1 day): $9.00
  • Tourist Card (3 day): $17.00

Children and students get discounts to ride the Montreal public transportation network.

Rules for Reduced Fares

  • Children aged 5 and under ride for free.
  • Children aged 6 to 11 pay reduced fare.
  • Children aged 12 to 18 can pay reduced fare upon presentation of their Reduced Fare Access Card.
  • Students aged 18 to 25 can travel with a reduced fare CAM (monthly pass) upon presentation of their carte Privilege.
  • Senior Citizens (65 and over) can pay reduced fare upon presentation of their Reduced Fare Access Card.

Regional Trains

GO train ” is the most used railway system in the southern part of the province of Ontario. This transportation system, connects many cities around the Greater Toronto Area such as Mississauga, Oakville, Woodbridge, etc. This system is separate from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), so you need a separate ticket. One of the cities adjacent to Toronto is Mississauga, which has its own network of buses called Mississauga transit. There is currently an initiative to try and make the all of the public transportation entities in the Greater Toronto Area (Toronto and surrounding cities) unite their charges. In the near future, it may be possible to travel from Toronto to say Woodbridge (which is 45 minutes north of the Toronto center), with one pass for all the transportation service you use to get there.

National Trains

Nationally, trains are operated by VIA Rail. You can travel from the easternmost to the westernmost coasts of Canada. Prices differ significantly depending on the time of year and the length of the trip. To get a notion of the time and distance the national train network might cover, take into account that a train ride from Toronto to Vancouver takes approximately three days and three nights for the distance of 2800 miles (4500 kilometres). See 

Buses / Coaches

In Canada, the national bus network is extensive. There are connections to Canadian and US destinations. Different bus/coach operators exist, there a couple of big players and a number of smaller regional and national operators.


Most cities have at least three different taxi companies, so it can help to familiarize yourself with them. Metered fares are usually regulated at the city level and are not negotiable. If you want a “flat rate” to your destination, you must agree one with the driver prior to the start of your trip. Taxi drivers in all major cities need to have an identification that issued by the city that certifies that their activity is legal and that the unit complies with safety regulations.

Flights - Airlines in Canada

The airline industry in Canada has changed noticeably in the last 10 years. After a hostile takeover bid for Canadian Airlines in 1999-2000, Air Canada became the largest airline in the country followed by WestJet and a series of smaller and charter airlines including CanJet, SkyService, etc.

To fly within the country you need a piece of government issued photo identification, or your passport if you are a foreigner. If you are a landed immigrant or a Canadian Citizen, you can show your drivers license or provincial health card. To fly in and out of the country you must have a valid passport and may be required to have a visa.

You may be eligible for certain guarantees regarding refunds due to cancellations originated by the airline’s fault (i.e. bankruptcy of the carrier), only if you purchased your travel through an agent/portal covered by the Travel Insurance Council. Not all merchants/airlines offer such coverage, however if you are flying with a discount airline the price of your ticket may be so cheap that the word ‘insurance’ may overrated. In Ontario, coverage is offered by the Travel Insurance Council of Ontario (an organization that seeks to protect travelers’ rights).

Further reading

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