With the back-to-school season around the corner, students and parents can count on the TTC for improved safety and service.
"We are doing everything we can as a City government to help kids go back to school safely this September and that includes increasing TTC service across Toronto ahead of expected demand," said Toronto Mayor John Tory. "I want to thank our frontline TTC workers for all they do to help students get to and from school safely."
"As students and parents prepare for the back-to-school season, they can rely on the TTC to provide a safe and reliable experience," said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson. "We ask that students continue to follow COVID safety guidelines, including wearing a mask while on transit."
To accommodate anticipated increased service demand in September, the TTC is:
- Increasing service system-wide to support the expected increase in ridership, including 25 per cent more subway trains on Line 1 and Line 2 at peak times on weekdays.
- Deploying an additional 180 special school trips to manage anticipated high school student ridership and communicating with school boards to determine hot spots, student volumes and start and dismissal times.
- Increasing or restoring service on nearly 30 bus routes that serve post-secondary institutions and other major transit corridors, and implementing new periods of express service on four routes.
- Restoring service on nearly all 900 series express routes and introducing new service on the 938 Highland Creek Express, adding new weekday midday and early evening service on 960 Steeles West Express, and new weekday midday express service on 941 Keele Express. Additional express routes are planned for October.
- Maintaining service flexibility, adjusting service to meet demand and continuing to operate demand-responsive bus service to supplement scheduled service.
Because of the potential for increased demand, some service will need to be deployed in real-time and will not appear on schedules or on transit apps.
"With schools in Toronto opening for in-person learning, we know that students and parents who have been away from transit for some time may not be aware of the changes we've made to enhance comfort and safety," said TTC CEO Rick Leary. "We're making sure our service is ready to meet the changing demand, while ensuring that customers remain safe while travelling on our vehicles."
In addition, the following COVID-related safety measures remain in place across the system:
- Face coverings remain mandatory on the TTC. Persons who require a mask in a subway station can get a disposable mask from a Customer Service Agent, Collector or Fare Inspector.
- The TTC is continuing enhanced cleaning and disinfection of all public places and vehicles with a focus on touch and grab points, such as buttons, railings, handles and straps. Hand sanitizer is also available at the main entrance of all subway stations.
- Seats on buses, streetcars and subways have been blocked off, reminding customers to continue practice physical distancing, when possible.
- To help with avoiding busy buses, customers can use the RocketMan or Transit apps to view bus occupancy levels in real-time.
- The TTC has made it mandatory for all its employees, contractors and students to be fully vaccinated by October 30.
The TTC reminds students and parents of the following:
Children 12 and under ride the TTC for free. All other students can pay their TTC fare using several methods of payment, including:
PRESTO single fares
- $2.25 for youth 13-19
PRESTO Monthly Pass
- $128.15 for youth 13-19
- $2.30 for youth 13-19
- $3.25 for post-secondary students
Students and parents are reminded that PRESTO cards are set to deduct an adult fare. If a youth fare is required, the PRESTO card, along with government-issued identification, should be taken to a Shoppers Drug Mart store or to the TTC Customer Service Centre, above Davisville Station, to change the setting.
Post-secondary students enrolled full-time at a recognized institution in Toronto are eligible for a discounted monthly pass on PRESTO. They will be required to have a TTC post-secondary student photo ID in order to set their PRESTO fare type, purchase, and use their post-secondary monthly pass on PRESTO. The TTC Post-Secondary Photo ID can only be obtained at the TTC Photo ID Office at Bathurst Station. The post-secondary fare type can be set at any Shoppers Drug Mart location or at the TTC Customer Service Centre above Davisville Station.
While the TTC continues to see record-low ridership due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, ridership analysis indicates an increase in customers over the last several weeks. Currently, customer boardings across the system are at roughly 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels with bus boardings at 48 per cent, streetcar boardings at 38 per cent and subway boardings at 32 per cent, respectively.
Finally, the TTC would like to remind everyone about some important safety tips as the school year begins:
- Drivers: As the streets, sidewalks and crosswalks get busier for back-to-school, please be extra vigilant while commuting. Please yield the right-of-way to TTC vehicles and make sure to slow down to allow buses to re-enter traffic after servicing stops.
- Pedestrians: Please don't run alongside or in front of a bus or streetcar. It's always safer to wait for the next vehicle, which will be along soon.
- Cyclists: Sometimes streetcar tracks can be slippery. When cycling near streetcar rails, be aware of the track conditions and always cross streetcar tracks at an angle to avoid tires getting caught.
- Subway riders: Always stand behind the yellow line on the platform when waiting for a subway train. Never descend to track level for any reason. If you drop something, such as your cell phone, leave it and tell a TTC uniformed employee who will make arrangements to retrieve it.
- Streetcar riders: Be sure to check to make certain that traffic has stopped before exiting a streetcar.
- Bus/streetcar riders: When on board, always be sure to stand behind the white line at the front of the vehicle and stand clear of the doors.
- Backpacks: Customers are asked to be mindful of those around them when wearing large backpacks as they can pose a safety risk.
Customers looking for more information about the TTC's back-to-school plans are encouraged to visit ttc.ca.