A U of T Student’s Guide to Taking the Subway in Toronto

If you’re a student of the downtown U of T campus, you’re likely no stranger to the Toronto transit system. It can take some time to get used to where things are, or how to use certain transit systems. Here are some important things you should know about taking the subway in Toronto.

Student discounts

Current students of the University of Toronto are conditionally eligible for discounted rates on a Post-Secondary Monthly Pass. You must be able to verify you’re a student at U of T by providing a valid T-Card. That’s your University of Toronto student identification card.

To qualify, students must be enrolled in a full-time degree or diploma program. The T-Card, Toronto Transit Photo Card, and your new Metropass must be on you in case your fare is inspected. To get your TTC student card, you must have another photo taken by TTC.

Show your proof of enrolment and your student identification. It also helps to have another form of government issued identification. It sounds like a lot, but it will be worth the discount in the end. 

Pass or pay-as-you-go?

Make sure that you evaluate whether you’ll need to buy the pass, as well as your routes to school. The subway is one of the fastest ways to get around, since there are no traffic interruptions. Calculate how often that you’ll expect to be using the subway, and the distance you are travelling to get to campus from the point of entry. If it’a once in a while, a Presto Card that you can load up as you need it could work. Factor the days you need to be on campus into the equation as well.

Subway maps

When on the subway platform, make sure you read the station signs. Are you travelling northbound or southbound? You can access many maps online if you need a quick reference.

Stations near U of T

There are a few important subway stations that you should know about when travelling to and from U of T. The main subway line that passes by the University of Toronto is known as Line One, or the Yonge-University Line. Queen’s Park station will place you directly at the south end of U of T. St. George station will place you directly at the north end of campus, near Bloor and Varsity Stadium.

Museum station will put you near the Royal Ontario Museum, which is closer to the north side of the U of T grounds. When travelling from the Vaughan\Eglinton West side of Line One, you can hop off the train at Spadina, St. George or the Museum stations to start walking onto the campus. When travelling from the Finch\St. Clair side of the Line One route, your trip might take a bit longer.

If you don’t mind taking a shortcut, you can hop off at College station and dart east towards campus. Otherwise, you’ll just have to wait until the train reaches Queen’s Park station, and then Museum station, and so on. 

Rush hours

The subway can be hectic during morning and afternoon rush hour, especially when it’s cold and rainy. It’s important to wear a good pair of shoes that can save you from slipping at some of the stations.

The stairs at most stations seem to be covered in the slipperiest tiles possible. Watch your step, and walk on the right hand side each time, especially during rush hour. If you can avoid taking the escalators, walk down the rest of the stairs. This will save you time.

Subway etiquette

When entering the train, be patient with people. The general rule you should allow passengers on the train to exit before you start boarding the train. Some people don’t care for this rule, and when they don’t, it creates an atmosphere for more pushing, shoving, and general unpleasant congestion.

If you have a backpack, take it off your back and put in on the floor between your legs. This is so it doesn’t take up space and whack people in the face every time you turn around. Keeping a large backpack on during rush hour will guarantee you dirty looks.

We all have somewhere important to go, so let’s be decent and respectful to one another at least.

Hold on tight

Once you’re on the train, be prepared for a variety of situations when it comes to seating. During rush hour, it may be difficult to find a seat. You will likely end up preferring to stand anyway, so it’s easier to get off.

Hold onto the railings tightly and make sure you do so before the train starts moving. This is because the train suddenly jolts forward as it begins to move. You also want to hold onto the railing bars because of the bumps and turns that the train has to navigate. You will feel the swaying motion and might even stumble a few times.

Even the folks who try their best to balance without holding onto anything are sometimes hit with a surprise bump or the effects of the train turning or braking.

Mind the gap

When it comes to general platform safety, stay far away from the yellow lines. Do not stand or walk or sit anywhere near the train tracks nor edge of the platform.

Be on alert and watch your surroundings. If there are a lot of people on the platform, there’s a greater risk of someone being pushed or tripping. Keep your distance and keep your eyes on your surroundings, because looking at your phone can be a dangerous distraction.

Enjoy your travels on the train to U of T.

Published on June 23, 2020

About Campus Guides Team

Our student-written campus guides help students who want to get a sense of what life at their new school and city will really be like by avoiding embellishment and focusing on what actual students think.