TTC Transfer System - Toronto Public Transit

Toronto subway
Trains in station on Sheppard subway line, Toronto, Ontario. Peter Mintz / Getty Images
  • 01 of 07

    The TTC Transfer System

    The TTC is the main public transit provider for Toronto, running a subway system, streetcar lines and bus routes across the whole of the amalgamated city. To make use of the system often involves taking more than one vehicle to get where you’re going, which is why understanding the TTC’s transfer system is helpful to anyone who lives in or is going to visit the city.

    The TTC currently issues two kinds of paper transfer. One is distributed by streetcar and bus drivers, while the other is available through machines inside of subway stations. Although the transfers look a little different, they both work the same way.

    Read on for details on how to get and use a transfer on Toronto’s public transit system.

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  • 02 of 07

    Do You Always Need A TTC Transfer?

    The paper transfers issued by the TTC are only intended for passengers who are paying by cash, ticket or token. If you’re using a TTC Day Pass, a weekly pass, or a monthly Metropass, you’ll simply show your pass again if you need to change vehicles, rather than showing a transfer.

    • Tip: One of the benefits of using any of the TTC’s passes is that you can hop on and off vehicles as much as you like, which you can’t do with a transfer except as part of the 512 St. Clair Time-Based Pilot Project.

    Even if you have paid by cash, ticket or token, you don’t always need a transfer to move from one TTC vehicle to another. At some TTC subway stations, the connecting buses and streetcars pull into an area which is inside the fare-paid zone. In these cases, the drivers will assume that you’ve either just paid to enter the station or have gotten off another vehicle to transfer onto theirs. However this isn’t the case at all stations, so until you’re familiar with the route you’re planning on taking,...MORE it’s generally better to get a transfer to be on the safe side.

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  • 03 of 07

    Getting a TTC Transfer

    If you start your TTC trip by boarding a vehicle, you’ll need to get a transfer from the driver when you pay your fare. Most TTC bus and streetcar drivers will offer you one of the paper transfers automatically if you pay using a ticket, token or cash. If the driver doesn’t offer, just ask. Remember to get you transfer as you board the vehicle.

    If you start your trip at a TTC station, you won’t get your transfer from a staff member. Instead, you’ll need to use an automated transfer machine. These red boxes, which have a small digital display showing the current time, are positioned just inside station entrances. Push the button and you’ll get a transfer with the current time stamped on it.

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  • 04 of 07

    Using a TTC Transfer

    A Trip-Based System

    Most of the TTC runs on a trip-based transfer system. That means you can only use a transfer to help you complete one continuous trip. For example, if your destination is to the north-east, you’re expected to pay your fare to get on a northbound route, get a transfer, get off at a station or intersection where you can switch to an eastbound route, then show your transfer to get on the next eastbound vehicle that comes along.

    Good for Any Number of Vehicles During That One Trip

    You may use a transfer more than once as long as the trip is continuous. For example, if you’re taking a trip that involves taking a streetcar to a subway station then taking the subway to another station to catch a bus, you’ll get a transfer when you get on the streetcar which you’ll show both at the subway collector booth and to the bus driver.

    No Getting Back On the Same Route

    You may NOT use a trip-based transfer to get back on the same route where you got the transfer. This means you can’t get...MORE off and spend time in an area before continuing your trip, whether you want to keep going in the same direction or head back the way you came. And even if you are transferring to another route, you may not spend time shopping or doing anything else before you get on the next vehicle.

    Remember, Get Your Transfer When You Pay Your Fare

    You also may NOT use a transfer from a subway station to get on buses outside the same station. You need to get your transfer from the automated machine at the station where you get ON the subway, not where you get off.

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  • 05 of 07

    Exception to the Rules: Walking Transfers

    In general, when you're using a TTC transfer you're not allowed to walk between stops, but must use the transfer at the stop where two transit routes meet. However, there are a few areas where the layout of routes and roads won't allow for such a direct transfer. In these special cases, you are allowed to walk between stops, and the driver from the other route should honor your transfer without a problem.

    Check the TTC's list of "walking transfers" to see if there's just such a transfer point along your route or in your neighborhood.

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  • 06 of 07

    St. Clair Time-Based Transfer Pilot Program

    The exception to the TTC’s trip-based transfer system is the 512 St. Clair streetcar line, where the TTC is running a Time-Based Transfer Pilot Program. When you board a 512 St. Clair streetcar the driver will give you a transfer which will expire two hours later. During those two hours, you can hop on and off the 512 as much as you like traveling in either direction, allowing you to explore and shop along St. Clair Avenue West.

    When you’re done on St. Clair you can use your time-based transfer to get on a connecting route, as long as the transfer’s two-hour window hasn’t yet expired.

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  • 07 of 07

    Transferring to Other Transit Systems

    Even if you are taking one continuous trip, you may not use a TTC transfer to board vehicles which are part of other transit systems, such as Mississauga’s MiWay system or York Region Transit (YRT). If you’re traveling into surrounding municipalities, check the specific fare information for ​public transit options in the Greater Toronto Area.

    If you’ll be traveling by both GO Transit (Government of Ontario Transit) and the TTC, learn about the fare options for riders who are using both systems.