Toronto Transit Commission

Toronto Transit Commission
Toronto Transit Commission
Montage of TTC.jpg
From top-left: An Orion VII TTC bus, a T-series TTC subway train, an ICTS Mark I train, a CLRV streetcar, a Wheel-Trans bus, a TTC community bus, platform wall signage at Eglinton Station featuring the Toronto Subway Font
Owner City of Toronto
Locale Toronto, Mississauga, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham
Transit type Bus, rapid transit, streetcar
Number of lines 149+ bus routes, 4 rapid transit lines, 11 streetcar routes
Number of stations 69
Daily ridership 1.71 million[1]
Chief executive Karen Stintz
Headquarters William McBrien Building
1900 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Began operation 1954
Number of vehicles 2031 buses, 706 rapid transit cars, 248 streetcars, 129 Wheel-Trans buses

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is a public transport agency that operates transit bus, streetcar, and rapid transit services in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Established in 1954, the TTC has grown to comprise four rapid transit lines with a total of 69 stations, as well as over 149 bus routes and 11 streetcar lines, of which 148 routes make 243 connections with a rapid transit station during weekday rush hours.

The TTC operates the third most heavily used urban mass transit system in North America, after the New York City Transit Authority and Mexico City Metro.[2] As of 2010, the average daily ridership is 2.497 million passengers: 1,254,600 by bus, 285,600 by streetcar, and 948,100 by rapid transit.[3] The TTC also provides door-to-door services for persons with physical disabilities known as Wheel-Trans; in first quarter, 2010, 8,900 trips were made through this service daily. The TTC employed 11,861 personnel in 2008.[4]

Colloquially, the subway cars were known as "red rockets", a nickname originally given to Gloucester subway cars, which were painted bright red and which have since been retired. The name lives on as the TTC uses the phrase to advertise the service, such as "Ride the Rocket" in advertising material, "Rocket" in the names of some express buses, and the new "Toronto Rocket" subway cars, which began revenue operation July 21, 2011.[5] Another common slogan is "The Better Way".



Yonge Subway Construction 1949

Privately operated transit services in Toronto began in 1850. In later years, a few routes were operated by the city, but it was 1921 when the city took over all routes and formed the Toronto Transportation Commission to operate them. During this period service was mainly provided by streetcars. In 1954, the TTC adopted its present name, opened the first subway line, and greatly expanded its service area to cover the newly formed municipality of Metropolitan Toronto (which eventually became the enlarged city of Toronto). The system has evolved to feature a wide network of surface routes with the subway lines as the backbone. On February 17, 2008, the TTC made many service improvements, finally reversing more than a decade of service reductions and only minor improvements.[6]


Historically, the TTC recovered its operating costs from the fare box. This was especially true during the Great Depression and The Second World War, when it accumulated the considerable wealth which allowed it to expand widely after the war. It was not until the late 1950s that the newly formed Metro government was forced to provide operational subsidies, required primarily due to the TTC being required to provide bus service to the low-density suburbs in Metro Toronto.[citation needed]

Until the mid-1990s, the TTC received operational subsidies from both the municipal level of government, and the provincial level. When the Harris Conservatives in Ontario ended those subsidies, the TTC was forced to cut-back service, with a significant curtailment put into effect on February 18, 1996, and an increased financial burden was placed on the Municipal government. Since then, the TTC has consistently been in financial difficulties. Service cuts were averted in 2007 though when Toronto City Council voted to introduce new taxes to help pay for city services, including the TTC. As a result, the TTC became the largest transit operator in Anglo-America not to receive provincial/state funding.[7]

Past transit operators

P u b l i c   ▶
Toronto Street Railway
◀   P r i v a t e

Island Ferry

The ferry service to the Toronto Islands was operated by the TTC from 1927 until 1962, when it was transferred to the Metro Parks and Culture department. Since 1998, the ferry service is run by Toronto Parks and Recreation.

Gray Coach

Gray Coach Lines was a suburban and regional inter-city bus operator founded in 1927 by the TTC. Gray Coach used inter-urban coaches to link Toronto to points throughout Southern Ontario. In addition, Gray Coach operated tour buses in association with Gray Line Tours. The main terminal was the Metropolitan Toronto Bus Terminal on Elizabeth Street, downtown. In 1954, Gray Coach expanded further when it acquired suburban routes from independent bus operators not merged with the TTC as it expanded to cover Metro Toronto. By the 1980s, Gray Coach faced fierce competition in the inter-urban service in the GTA. The TTC sold Gray Coach Lines in 1990.

Transit modes


A bus during service on the 102 Markham Rd route

Buses are a large part of TTC operations today, but before about 1960, they played a minor role compared to streetcars. Buses began to operate in the city in 1921 and became necessary for areas without streetcar service. After an earlier experiment in the 1920s, trolley buses were used on a number of routes starting in 1947, but all trolley bus routes were converted to bus operation between 1991 and 1993. The TTC always used the term trolley coach to refer to its trackless electric vehicles. Hundreds of old buses were recently replaced with the new, low-floor Orion VII, and the TTC has recently[when?] acquired many hybrid electric buses. A new order will bring the total of hybrids to over 500, second only to New York City. Older (2001–2006) TTC Orion VIIs feature the standard, "bread-box" style, whereas newer (2007- ) buses feature Orion's new, more stylish body.[8] Although most of the bus fleet has already been replaced, a number of lift-equipped, high floor buses are reaching the end of their useful lifespan, and another order of buses may be needed around 2012. With a total of 2031 buses, the TTC is the third largest transit bus operator in North America, behind the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City (6263) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (2911).

The TTC also runs Wheel-Trans, a paratransit service for the physically disabled with special low-floor buses designed to accommodate wheelchairs and to make boarding easier for ambulatory customers with limited mobility.

Rapid transit

A northbound subway train at Spadina station on the Yonge–University–Spadina line

The Toronto subway and RT is a basic system consisting of the Yonge–University–Spadina line, a U-shaped line opened in 1954 and was last extended in 1996; the Bloor–Danforth line, an east-west line opened in 1966 and was last extended in 1980; the Scarborough RT, a partly elevated light metro line opened in 1985 which continues from the Bloor-Danforth Line's eastern terminus; and the Sheppard line, opened in 2002. The three subway lines are serviced by 678 cars grouped in trains of 4 cars (Sheppard Line) or 6 cars (Yonge-University-Spadina, Bloor-Danforth Lines), with all three sharing non-revenue track connections and using the same technology. The Scarborough RT has a fleet of 28 cars grouped into trains of 4 cars each; it is not compatible with the subway system whatsoever, and therefore shares no track connections or equipment.

All subway lines provide service seven days a week from approximately 6:00 a.m. until 1:30 a.m. (the following day) (last train runs at approximately 1:45 in each direction) except for Sundays in which the opening is delayed until approximately 9:00 a.m. During the overnight periods the subway and its stations are closed in order for maintenance at track level and in the stations themselves. Overnight service is provided by buses operating above ground. These special overnight routes are issued numbers in the 300 series and referred to as Blue Night routes, indicated by a typical TTC bus stop sign with a blue band added.

Plans were made for a streetcar subway along Queen Street, which were upgraded to a full subway in 1964, from the Humber loop to Greenwood, curving north to connect to the Bloor-Danforth Subway. All that ever materialized of this line was an incomplete east-west station structure under Queen station at Yonge, which remains in existence today, and structural provisions for an east-west station under Osgoode Station at Queen and University Avenue. The Queen Subway plan was cancelled in 1974 in favour of new lines in North York, however plans from Toronto and Ontario now necessitate its construction within the next 20 years to relieve pressure from the growing ridership on the Yonge subway line.

In the mid-1990s, work began on an Eglinton West subway line, but the project was cancelled before significant progress was made. Construction of this line is no longer a priority for the TTC, but in early 2007 Eglinton Crosstown LRT revisited the idea. The LRT would run underground in the central part of the line between Keele Street and Laird Drive, with the remainder a surface LRT route which would span almost the entire length of the city from Pearson Airport to Scarborough. It was eventually relaunched as the Eglinton–Scarborough Crosstown line after Transit City was cancelled, now being completely underground and incorporating the Scarborough RT.

A current focus for the TTC's rapid-transit expansion is a short extension bringing the western branch of the Yonge-University-Spadina Line north-west to York University, Steeles Avenue and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre in York Region. The Government of Ontario announced on March 23, 2006, that it will provide $670 million for this extension, about one-third of the expected cost. A northerly extension on the Yonge branch is being lobbied by York Region and the Province of Ontario, and is being investigated by the TTC. This project would bring the Yonge line north to the existing Richmond Hill Centre transit terminal in Richmond Hill at Highway 7, and would be possible when a new signal system allows headways on the Yonge line to decrease from the current 150 seconds to as little as 90. Another project long considered to be financially beneficial to the commission is the extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line 1-2 kilometres westbound beside the CP rail line to The East Mall (major artery) near Cloverdale Mall (shopping centre), however this is unlikely to be built in the near future given the recent plans for a regional bus terminal at Kipling Station, the current terminus.[9][10][11]

In September 2006, Toronto City Council approved a contract for 234 new state-of-the-art cars from Bombardier Transportation, based upon the company's Movia trains. Much controversy surrounded this purchase, as Bombardier was awarded a non-bid contract. Competitor Siemens AG stated that it could fulfil the contract for up to $100,000,000 less by assembling the trains outside of Canada, whereas the Bombardier trains will be built in the plant that has assembled most of Toronto's subways in Thunder Bay.[12][13] These trains arrived in late 2010, with the first train entering revenue operation on July 21, 2011.


Streetcar exiting Neville Park Loop at the eastern end of the 501 Queen Streetcar Line

Toronto's streetcar system is one of the few in North America still operating along street-running tracks and has been operating since the mid-19th century (horsecar service started in 1861 and 600 V DC overhead electric service in 1892). Streetcar service dates back to the Toronto Street Railway horse-drawn cars and continues today with the current electric cars. New TTC routes since the 1940s have generally been operated by other modes, and the less-busy streetcar routes have also been converted. Streetcar routes are now focused on the downtown area, with none running farther north than St. Clair Avenue, about 5 km from Lake Ontario.

A great expansion of the streetcar network (as "Light Rapid Transit" on private rights-of-way) was proposed by the City of Toronto and the TTC on March 16, 2007, in the Transit City report. As of November 2007 streetcars are equipped with the Surface Vehicle Automatic Stop Announcement System (SVASAS) which is called out over the P.A. system which dictates the name of the next stop. In addition, an L.E.D. board on the streetcar displays the name of the street and changes each time it passes a stop which is mounted behind the operator's shield. Now, almost all TTC vehicles have the SVASAS. In October 2007 the Ontario Human Rights Commission introduced a new legislation that will require all transit operators in Ontario to call out all stops for the visually impaired passengers.

Prior to the introduction of the Canadian Light Rail Vehicle and the Articulated Light Rail Vehicle, the TTC operated a fleet of 765 PCC-type streetcars - 540 which they purchased new, the rest of which were purchased as other cities sold off their PCC streetcar fleets.

The TTC's current fleet of 248 streetcars is nearing the end of its useful life, and the TTC will be buying at least 204 new LRVs. The commission has stated that potential bidders for the new contract must propose a 100% low-floor vehicle. These new vehicles will likely be costly, as the TTC's network has unique challenges such as steep grades on hills (up to 8%), many extremely sharp curves (as little as 10 973 mm / 36.0 ft in radius), and a unique track gauge (1495 mm / 4 ft 10⅞ in). The commission intends to customize a model that meets approximately 75% of its criteria. Bombardier won the bidding with its Bombardier Flexity Outlook model. The new streetcars, customized Bombardier Flexity Outlooks, are set to be built and in service as soon as 2013.

The TTC has retained two PCC streetcars (#4500 and #4549) and one Peter Witt streetcar (#2766, primarily for charter service.

However, during the summer of 2009 and 2010, the TTC ran one of its two PCC cars on the 509 Harbourfront route on Sundays between May and the Labour Day weekend of that year. In previous years, one of the PCC cars would run along the Harbourfront route on holidays during the summer.



Obverse and reverse of Toronto Transit Commission single-ride token

The TTC fare system accepts cash, tickets (for Students and Seniors), tokens, and transit passes. As of January 3, 2010, adult cash fares are $3.00 for a single trip, or $2.50 each for trips using tokens (customer must purchase in increments of four from token vending machines (TVMs) or from collector booths). Adult passes are available by the day $10, week $36, or month $121, with a 12-month subscription option for $111/month. Student or senior cash fares are $2.00 for a single trip, or $1.65 each using tickets which are sold in groups of 5. Student/senior weekly passes are sold for $28 and monthly passes for $99. Child cash fare is $.75 or 10 tickets for $5.50. The $10 day pass is valid for one adult and 5 youths (up to age of 19) or 2 adults and up to 4 youths on the weekends or holidays. Transfers are free (for trips in one direction), and are encouraged by the grid system of routes and by transfer terminals at many subway stations. Transfers must be picked up at the point of entry, as outgoing buses and streetcars will not accept transfers from the closest subway station.

There are more than 1,200 vendors licensed to sell TTC fares in Toronto.

The provincial Minister of Transportation has announced plans to introduce the Presto card, a unified smart card-based payment system for the entire Greater Toronto Area. Union railway station will be first Toronto location to use the card in 2007 and four other stations (Don Mills, Downsview, Finch, and Islington) by 2010. There are no plans for the TTC to actually adopt the Presto card yet, rather the surrounding transit systems. This is why only stations connecting to other systems will be equipped- Don Mills (YRT), Finch (YRT, GO, Brampton Transit), Downsview (YRT), Union (GO Trains, buses) and Islington (Mississauga Transit). The TTC has indicated that it is not yet willing to invest the required capital to convert to the Presto card. According to the director of corporate communications for the TTC the presto system is at least 5 years away from full implementation.[14]

The TTC hopes to install a new fare box designed to catch counterfeit tokens and passes on all city buses, streetcars and subway stops by the end of 2011. The system is being introduced to combat $1 million per year of fare fraud. With the new system costing about $5.3 million by current estimates it would take at least five years to pay for itself. The new system is incompatible with the Presto card and is only a stopgap measure which would require an upgrade or replacement to make it compatible. It is being trialled on limited bus lines.[15]

Schedules and route information

Route information can be accessed through the TTC Info number 416-393-INFO. Individual route schedules are available online at Google Maps supports the TTC since October 2010. Schedules for particular route are also usually posted at TTC transfer points, and trip planning services are available by phone.

Additional TTC information is circulated by "What's On" and "Rocket Rider/TTC Customer News" pamphlets located on some vehicles. Information can be accessed in person at the TTC head office (Davisville Station 1900 Yonge St.), but the TTC Info Centre at the Bloor-Yonge Station has been closed.

On December 15, 2008, the TTC launched a new Next Vehicle Information System (NVIS) to indicate the time of arrival of the next vehicle along a given route. The Spadina and Harbourfont streetcar lines were the first equipped with the NVIS system, with time-to-arrival information displayed on LED systems at Union and Spadina stations. Spadina also features a flat-screen television showing all of the cars on the 510 Spadina route. All TTC streetcars have been upgraded with GPS receivers and now operate with NVIS. Most subway stations are equipped with OneStop media screens displaying time until the next train, time of day, and other useful information, replacing the older and years-derelict "Subway Online" system. Streetcar and bus stops do not yet have informational displays; customers can receive this information through a SMS-based information system by texting station codes to the NVIS service.[16] The TTC is still in the process to expand the system to all routes, and will be in place in all 69 subway stations by 2010.[17]

Online trip planner

On February 3, 2010, the TTC launched an online trip planner, which allows commuters to plan their routes and transfers by typing in an address, main intersection or landmark as a starting point or destination from TTC's official website. However, since its launch, the trip planner has remained in beta mode. There are still a few bugs to be fixed.[18] On October 2010, the TTC officially integrated its trip planner with Google Maps.


The TTC makes connections with other transit systems of the Greater Toronto Area. GO Transit, MiWay, York Region Transit, Viva, Brampton Transit and Durham Region Transit are connected to the TTC via some of Toronto's subway stations and GO Transit's commuter rail stations. Some of their bus routes also coincide or intercept some of that of TTC's as well. Via Rail and Amtrak connect with the TTC at Union Station while Greyhound intercity buses also connect with the TTC at the Toronto Coach Terminal, as well as Scarborough Centre and Yorkdale terminals.


A flip up seat wheelchair position on a T1 subway train

Although the Wheel-Trans door-to-door service has been available since the mid-1970s, since the 1990s, the TTC has focused in providing accessible services on conventional bus routes, the RT and subway. While only 29 of the 68 stations on the Scarborough RT and the Yonge–University–Spadina and Bloor–Danforth subway lines are wheel-chair accessible, all stations on the Sheppard line are fully accessible. As of August 2, 2011, only two bus routes (52 Lawrence West and 352 Lawrence West) are not accessible. The TTC's streetcar network is not accessible, but the TTC plans to replace the fleet gradually with modern, low-floor vehicles, specifically Bombardier's Flexity Outlook, by 2020.

All surface vehicles are equipped with the Surface Vehicle Automatic Stop Announcement System (SVASAS) as of February 2008 which is operated over the loudspeakers dictating the name of the next stop (e.g., "Next Stop: Yonge Street, Queen Subway Station.") along with an LED board on the streetcar/bus displaying the name of the street and changes each time when a streetcar/bus passes a stop. As of October 25, 2007, the Ontario Human Rights Commission urges all public transit operations in Ontario including GO Transit to call out all stops for the visually impaired passengers. Transit operations who do not announce all stops could be violating rider's rights according to the OHRC.[19]



A shot looking west of TTC's Long Branch Loop.

Most TTC surface routes terminate at loops, side streets or subway station complexes. The TTC system is one of the few mass transit systems in Canada where many surface routes can be accessed inside a paid-fare zone common to other routes or subway lines. This feature allows boarding via the back doors at terminals, reduces the usage of paper transfers, and the need of operators to check for proof-of-payment. However, offenders caught by an authorized TTC employee, or Toronto Police officers face a $500 fine for fare evasion.

There are some larger loops at terminal buildings other than subway stations:

Other loops include:

Stops and shelters

A typical TTC bus stop

The shelters used by the systems are split between CBS Outdoor (formerly Viacom Media) (with ads) and Toronto Transportation Services. A total of 4,100 shelters are managed by Toronto Transportation and most from the former transportation departments of the municipalities that make up the City of Toronto.

The Otter Loop Shelter on Avenue Road south of Lawrence Avenue West is the only remaining bus shelter from the 1940s and 1950s. The loop and shelter are not in regular revenue service and not owned by the TTC.

The transit system is introducing shelters with solar panels and ones with next stop broadcast. The latter will appear along streetcar lines.


TTC buses and streetcars are operated out of a number of garages and carhouses located around the city and are serviced at several other facilities. The surface routes are divided into several divisions. Individual divisions have a superintendent, an on-duty mobile supervisor, a CIS communications centre, and a garage facility tasked with managing the division's vehicle fleet and routes.


TTC Head Office is located at 1900 Yonge Street at Davisville Avenue. Known as the William C. McBrien Building, it was opened in 1957. The previous TTC Headquarters was at Yonge Street and Front Street in the Toronto Board of Trade Building.

There are plans to relocate the HQ to a yet to be built site at 4050 Yonge Street near York Mills Road. The site is a commuter parking lot with a TTC entrance to York Mills Subway Station. Build Toronto is charged with helping the commission relocate, but it is facing political opposition from many mayoral candidates.[20]

Commuter parking lots

The TTC operates 30 commuter parking lots, all at subway stations, with a total of 13,981 parking spaces. Effective April 1, 2009, free parking for Metropass holders was eliminated. All passengers using parking facilities during peak hours must now pay for the service. The rates vary from lot to lot but are in the range of $2.00 - $6.00 from 5:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on weekdays, and free at other times.[21] Certain lots can only be used by commuters with a valid metropass. All TTC lots are open (uncovered) parking lots.


There are 10 sets (men and women) of public washrooms located on the TTC system, all at subway stations and most at stations that are major transfer points or at the end of rapid transit lines.[22] All are located within the paid fare area, thus accessible only after fare has been paid.


Safety programs

Safety features provided by the TTC include:

TTC By-law No. 1

The TTC's By-law No. 1 is a by-law governing the actions of passengers and employees while on Commission property. It can be enforced by a "proper authority" which is defined in the by-law as: "an employee or agent of the TTC wearing a TTC uniform; an employee or agent of the TTC carrying an identification card issued by the TTC; or a municipal police officer."[25] The by-law covers rules regarding, fare payment and conduct while in the system. Effective 12 October 2009, a revised version of the by-law has been issued. Revisions include the restriction of placing feet or "any object that may soil" on seats, the prohibition of using offensive language, and the provision that one must give up their seat to a person with a disability in priority seating areas.

An online version of the by-law is available here.

Special Constable Services

From 1997 to 2011 the TTC employed Special Constables that were responsible for safety and security and had similar policing powers to Toronto Police Service officers. During the phase out of the Special Constables the Toronto Police reinstated its Transit Patrol Unit which had originally been canceled in the mid 1990s. The Special Constables are now Bylaw enforcement officers referred to as Transit Enforcement Officers. The Enforcement Officers now deal primarily with fare evasion and trespass to property act infractions.

OneStop media system

OneStop Sign located on Subway Platform at Dundas Station.

The TTC, in partnership with OneStop Media Group, have rolled out large LCD television screens in major stations throughout the system. The new media system replaced the old "Subway Online" system, which has been decommissioned.

The signs feature advertising, news headlines and weather information from CP24, as well as TTC-specific information regarding service changes, service delays and information pertaining to using the system.

On June 12, 2007, the TTC, in partnership with the Toronto Crime Stoppers and OneStop, launched the Underground Alert system at the Toronto Police Headquarters. The new Underground Alert system allows authorities to post pictures and details of wanted suspects on the screens throughout the subway system. Subway passengers will be encouraged to call police if they have any information.[26][27][28]

The system can also be used when an Amber Alert is issued which also may include announcements via the P.A. system. In addition, the "Amber Alert" signs may also appear on many TTC buses.

In September 2008, Dundas Station was the first to feature a “Next Train” announcement integrated into the signage. The system has been expanded to numerous other stations since its initial roll out.[29] Since mid-July 2009, the majority of stations have been equipped with this service.


The TTC utilizes several types of voice and data communications. There are three main systems. The first is the system used by Operations, Security and Maintenance. This system operates on five UHF conventional frequencies. Channels 1, 3, 4 and 5 are used for day to day operations, while Channel 2 is reserved for the Wheel-Trans service.

Buses and streetcars use the CIS (Communications and Information System). This system is spread out city wide with transmit facilities throughout the city. Each bus and streetcar has a Transit Radio Unified Microprocessor (TRUMP) set onboard. This is attached to a transponder receiver which allows CIS operators to track the location of the vehicle using an older computational system known as dead reckoning. The TRUMP also allows the operators and CIS operators to send and receive text messages for such things as short turns and route adjustments. There is also the option of voice communications between the operator and the CIS operator. The CIS was conceived in the late 1970s and was fully implemented in 1991.

The third system is used by the subway system. This is called the Wayside system. Replacing the old devices which communicated by the third rail are new UHF MPT-1327 Trunking radio sets. The Subway system is divided into 3 separate systems, each representing its respective subway line. This new trunking system allows Transit Control to communicate directly with a single train, a zone encompassing several trains, or the entire line. The Scarborough RT is not included in this system. They continue to use a single channel UHF system, much the same as the system used by operations staff.

All of these systems can be monitored by a scanner capable of the UHF Low band (406–430 MHz).[30] Numeric codes - often referring to people or positions (299 Bloor - Subway Line mechanic at Bloor) are also announced through the radio and/or the overhead paging system. The TTC also has Several "Plans" ('Plan A' through 'Plan G')[31] that are used in emergencies but are not announced on the P.A. system and only referred to on the radio.[32]


The TTC has a team of over 12,000 employees. Most are operators, however the Commission also employs supervisors, custodians and a wide range of skilled trades people who work on vehicles and critical subway and surface infrastructure.

In October 2008, TTC was named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc., which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.[33]

Labour disputes

Unionized workers of the TTC workers have performed strike actions eight times since 1952:

On March 30, 2011 the Province of Ontario passed legislation classifying the TTC an essential service, removing the employees right to strike, and the employers right to lock-out.[34]


Shuttle buses are often deployed to replace service during an emergency subway closure that is expected to last more than 15 minutes

Although it is a generally safe system, the TTC has experienced several major accidents and incidents since 1954:


The TTC has long maintained a policy of not releasing suicide information and statistics to the public or the media for fear of the possibility of "copycat suicides". In 2008, the Toronto Sun launched a year-long appeal before Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner to have the TTC release information relating to the number of suicides and attempts between 1998 and 2007. The Information and Privacy Commissioner subsequently ordered the statistics be made available and they were released to the public on 26 November 2009.[52]

From 1998 to 2007, 150 people died committing suicide by coming into contact with a TTC subway train. Since 1954, when the Yonge subway line first opened, there have been more than 1,200 suicide incidents on the TTC including both fatalities and attempts, according to the TTC.[53]

After being forced to make the information public the TTC ensured that they also released information demonstrating efforts being undertaken to intervene and prevent such incidents in the future.[54] The TTC's "Gatekeeper Program" is an internal course available for front line staff to learn and identify the warning signs of someone who may be suicidal and help them, or at least try and prevent them from doing so on the transit system. The TTC also has partnerships with St. Michael's Hospital and other institutions to assist with both prevention programs and counselling programs for staff who have witnessed such incidents.[55] The TTC maintains that it will continue its policy of not reporting suicides and suicide related statistics in years to come,[52] however in February 2010, statistics from 2008 and 2009 were released in a public report to the Commission regarding suicide and suicide prevention.[56]

Crisis Link

In June 2011, the TTC announced a new suicide prevention program called "Crisis Link" aimed at people who are in a station and in immediate danger of performing self harm. Special speed dial buttons have been installed on pay phones in station designated waiting areas that "link" the caller to a 24 hour crisis councillor service provided by Distress Centres of Toronto. Signage has also been placed in high risk areas of the station platform directing those at risk to utilize the service. Once fully implemented by the end of July modifications will be made to 141 of the system's payphones and 200 posters will be placed on stations platforms. [57]


The below statistics are the subway suicide incidents and attempts from 1998 through 2009:

 Year   Suicides   Attempts  Total Incidents
1998 12 13 25
1999 22 4 26
2000 21 12 33
2001 12 17 29
2002 16 11 27
2003 17 9 26
2004 15 8 23
2005 14 6 20
2006 8 11 19
2007 13 9 22
2008 N/A ♦ N/A ♦ 19[56]
2009 N/A ♦ N/A ♦ 18[56]

♦ Data obtained from Toronto Transit Commission Report that does not specify a distinction between attempted and completed suicides.


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