Commuting: A Summary

As the last of my high school buddies said their farewells and moved into the residences of their respective universities all around the world, it hit me that, maybe, I should use the time I saved from not having to pack to research the possible savings of commuting.

York Region Transit (YRT): “You’re an adult now”

In high school, the joke was that, four years ago, for a pack of 10 tickets you paid with a $20 and got change back. Now it’s the same $20, but you’ll be forking over additional change to make up for the price increase.

Now that I’ve left high school it hits me that there’s a price to being treated as an adult. Trading the square* green high school student tickets for the longer, bluer adult tickets, I’ll be forking over a twenty plus another ten. Hopefully the inflation in YRT prices won’t be as bad as it’s been the last four years, or I’ll have a considerable amount less in pocket money for snacking.

Depending on how frequently I plan on taking the YRT buses down to Finch Station, it’ll either be $28.00 for a pack of ten tickets or $115.00 for a monthly pass.**

For months with fewer than 21 days, I’ve decided it’s cheaper to just buy packets of tickets, because if it’s just the commute to and from Finch Station that I’m making each month on school days, the break-even point is somewhere between 20 and 21 days.

The math:

A packet of ten tickets cost $28.00, meaning each ticket is worth $2.80. The pass itself costs $115.00 per month.

Month with 20 days = 40 trips = $112.00 spent on tickets vs. $115.00 for the pass.

Month with 21 days = 42 trips = $117.60 spent on tickets vs. $115.00 for the pass.

The difference is only $3, but you can buy two coffees with that ♥

For more information about YRT fares, click here.

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC):

Metropass! Whether bought at Hart House or elsewhere, the post-secondary student metropasses are discounted to $104.00; the adult metropasses are $126.00. For a post-secondary student metropass you’ll need the TTC Student Photo ID  at the Sherbourne Station; to get that, don’t forget to bring $5.25, an acceptance/enrolment letter or current timetable, and your TCard (“a piece of photo identification, e.g. Student Activity Card”)!

Regular Hours of operation:

  • Monday – Friday: 3:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Sundays and Statutory Holidays: Closed
  • First and last business day of each month (Monday to Friday, only): 10:00am – 7:00pm
You can also get the TTC Student Photo ID at Hart House on September 29 and October 5, but at the price of $7.00 (you’ll only need your TCard for this). Information about this can be found here.***

If you’re planning on only using TTC services twice a day (so, commute there and commute home), for months that you’re at school for less than 20 days, it’s cheaper to just use tokens.

The math:

For the tokens, each token is worth $2.60 whether you buy in threes or in sevens. Considering a month where you commute to school and back for 20 days – 40 trips – you’ll spend exactly $104.00 for tokens. (Leftover tokens that you bought can always be used next month, right? That’s why I’m not considering the arbitrary packs of three or seven in which we have to buy them.) In this scenario, it won’t cost you a penny more to buy the post-secondary student pass (provided that you already have the photo ID). In fact, if the machine decides to eat your token, which does happen from time to time, you’re probably safer off with the pass for months with 20+ days.

The full price list:

  • CASH FARE: $3.00
  • Tickets/Tokens: 3 for $7.80; 7 for $18.20
  • Weekly Pass: $37.50
  • Post-Secondary Student Metropass: $104.00


I’m personally not taking the GOTransit, but I did come across the information here while searching. If I understand correctly, the GOtransit student card is of no extra cost to you; just bring your TCard to the TCard office on campus to get it.

For the cost of your trip, use the Fare Calculator here.


*In case you were wondering, they’re not perfect squares.

**These calculations are for one-zone commuting only.

***For the longest time I believed that if you bought metropasses at Hart House, they were sold for only $99 (save $5!) but they discontinued this service a couple years back. It’d be nice if they brought this back though… wink wink, nudge nudge.

[Last Words: You might want to double check my math; please comment below if there are any mistakes so I can fix them!]


3 Replies to “Commuting: A Summary”

  1. Good advice, thanks! I’m not directly from Toronto so this helps a lot. Here’s a little advice of my own for anyone who lives in Mississauga and commutes to UofT!

    I live at home with my parents in Mississauga and started my sophomore year today, with a pretty, pristine, Presto card! I used it this summer to commute between Mississauga, Oakville, and Toronto. Figured I may as well use it during the year! Since I have Fridays off, I save money by loading the Presto card with up to $70 as opposed to buying the $101 student monthly pass.

    Also, if I ever have to go home late at night via GO bus it is a bit cheaper (Mississauga Transit costs me $0.70 when I connect with GO, regardless whether it happens before or after).

    I bought the PSS Metropass earlier today because I’m not confident every TTC location/vehicle recognizes Presto yet, but the minute they do I’ll probably just use that!

    If you live in Mississauga and commute to UofT, look into the Presto card… It might just work for you too!

    p.s. I still use the Presto card in Mississauga sometimes to get to work and/or meet up with friends, and it fits into my $70 estimation.

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