Toronto’s Transit Rollercoaster


Ever since I lived in Toronto back in 2003, I’ve always kept an eye on transit developments in the GTA. In the early days, there was David Miller’s Transit City, which promised to criss-cross the city with light rail. Then Rob Ford rumbled into office and promised the gravy train along with the light rail trains. Instead, Rob Ford planned on fewer lines, but with all of them being heavy rail subway lines. Then most recently came John Tory and his SmartTrack which was a vaunted “surface subway” that would start moving Toronto in a new way.

Three mayors with three very different visions over the past 13 years. It’s enough to make any transit follower’s eyes spin.

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Getting Around Sapporo – The Sapporo Subway

Sapporo, just like other Japanese cities, is well serviced by rail transportation. The subway system serves most of the inner city. The Japan Rail Hokkaido (hereby referred to as JR) trains connect Sapporo to the surrounding towns, the New Chitose Airport, and other major destinations throughout Hokkaido.

The System

The Sapporo Subway system is made up of 3 lines and is very simple to use.  Rides on the subway range from ¥200-360 depending on how far one travels through the system. The blue Toho Line runs north-south and serves the northeast and southeast of Sapporo. Major destinations accessible on the Toho Line include Toyohiro Park (Toyohiro Koen station), and the Sapporo Dome (Fukuzumi station). The green Namboku Line runs north-south as well, but serve the areas directly north and south of the city centre. Major destinations along the line include Nakajima Park (Nakajima Koen station) and Hokkaido University (Kita 12 Jo station). The orange Tozai Line runs mainly east-west and serves the city’s northwest and part of the southeast.  Famous attractions on the Tozai Line include the Shiroi Koibito Park (Miyanosawa station) and Maruyama Park (Maruyama Koen station). All three lines feed into Odori Station. Like most Japanese subway systems, all stations in the system have a letter and number combo to identify the station. Because you know it’s a lot easier to say station H-05 than saying Higashi Kuyakusho Mae station for us foreigners.

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Getting Around Boston – the T Subway System

T is the 20th letter of the English alphabet.  It’s a seemingly innocuous letter.  But in Boston, you better know that T refers to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).  T is just so much simpler and faster to say. During most of my stay in Boston, I was at a conference for work.  We were staying at the Marriott Copley Place Boston .  It … Continue reading Getting Around Boston – the T Subway System

Fun Subways/Metros of the World Graphic

Here’s a fun not-so-little graphic from the folks at GOOD.  It takes the top five rapid transit systems in the US and compares them to five of the most well-known metro systems in the world.  The American systems have comparable miles of track laid, but don’t have the ridership of other systems worldwide.  It just seems that systems in the US are not able to … Continue reading Fun Subways/Metros of the World Graphic

James: TTC teeters on the brink of expansion –

James: TTC teeters on the brink of expansion – It pains me to see what has happened in Toronto.  In the previous municipal government, there was the Transit City plan, which would have spread light rail across the city proper.  There would have been 8 light rail lines, running on surface, that would have covered most of Toronto. Now with the new Rob Ford … Continue reading James: TTC teeters on the brink of expansion –

Subways, smartphones, and grocery shopping – all in one?

A friend shared this video about a different kind of shopping experience in Korea. It involves putting up giant posters with photos of supermarket shelves in the subway system.  Then you add thousands of daily subway commuters with ubiquitous smartphones that can scan QR codes.  Basically, you can go grocery shopping while waiting for your train to arrive.  What an ingenious idea. I always appreciate … Continue reading Subways, smartphones, and grocery shopping – all in one?

Now that is totally different

Steeles West subway station gets hip, downtown facade – 10 for creativity and being different.  I have no idea what number I’d give for liking it.  One thing for sure – it is different.  I wonder if folks out along Steeles Avenue will appreciate this one.  The new Steeles West Station is designed by Will Alsop.  The same British architect that came up with … Continue reading Now that is totally different

My top transit experiences of the decade (2000-2009)

Here’s a break from my Japan and Kansai travel posts.  This post is inspired by Jhen over at the Buzzer Blog.  In a recent post, she asked us to share our top transit moments over the past decade.  Thanks to Jhen for a great job over the past year.  The Buzzer Blog has really become a regular read for me. I rang in the new … Continue reading My top transit experiences of the decade (2000-2009)

Getting around Kansai – the Subway and JR

Update October 11, 2013: The outgoing links have all been updated.  This post is by far the most popular.  So I should try to keep this post up-to-date.  However, I haven’t been to Kansai since the Fall of 2009.  Happy transit travels to all you Kansai travellers. When one thinks about public transit in Japan, one often will think first about trains.  There are just … Continue reading Getting around Kansai – the Subway and JR