the interior of Scarborough Centre station, by the fare gates

๐Ÿš† My Experience As a Commuter Student (Plus Tips)! ๐Ÿš

As a full-time commuter student living in Scarborough, getting to campus can sometimes feel like a chore. On cold weather days, there are transit delays and interruptions to consider. On warmer days, the chance of sitting on a bus or subway car without air conditioning is unfathomable. And on days when I feel tired, the weather is no matter in swaying my deterrence to the hour-long commute that awaits me between home and class.

The front of Old Vic.
Museum Station is closest to Victoria College (pictured above), and also to St. Michaels College.

For reference, I use both the bus and subway services provided by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to commute. But there are also students who use other services such as Missisauguaโ€™s MiWay transit and the Go Train, which has a large network of regular trains and buses taking passengers from places as far as Brampton. 

For new and prospective students unfamiliar with Torontoโ€™s transit network, the TTC is the dominant option. It spans across the city, and costs only about $3.20 a tripโ€”which can be paid for using a reloadable PRESTO card. As well, there is a two-hour transfer with each trip made, meaning you can take as many trips as you please for the price of one, for as long as all โ€˜tapsโ€™ you make (e.g. at a subway fare gate, or at the front of a bus) are within two hours.

This is a fairly cost-effective option for those who do not use the TTC daily. Frequent users may wish to consider purchasing a monthly pass at the price of $128.15 per month. This enables you to take unlimited rides on transit. Since I usually have only three or four in-person courses most semesters, I opt for the single-fare option. Do the math to see whatโ€™s best for you.

Goldring Student Centre's entrance under clear blue skies
The Goldring Student Centre is not only close to Museum station (and is therefore a great place to wait), it is also a great place to hang out when you are on campus. Commuter Dons often host events here.

I have a few favourite pastimes during my commute. One of them being reading, but of the print-outs assigned by my course syllabi. Though it can be too bumpy a bus ride to read and annotate on occasion, I find the subway is reliably smooth. I prefer napping on the bus, or listening to a podcast. Among my favourite podcasts (as a political science major) is the New Yorker Radio Hour, which often includes interviews from journalists at large. 

The TTC is fairly reliable. I do my trip planning using Google Maps, which displays real-time information into service interruptions and bus arrival times. I know there are also apps like Rocketman that are helpful for tracking where the next bus or streetcar is. 

Finally, there is wifi available in each TTC subway station. This is especially helpful for submitting weekly assignments on time (at the last minute) or for loading an article you might want to read on the train. As well, there is wifi available throughout campus, enabling those without data plans to use apps like Rocketman to view transit updates.

I hope this post was helpful, especially if you were feeling confused about commuting. As we prepare for a new term ahead, there are especially many considerations for students commuting back to their respective campuses for in-person classes. Good luck!

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