Expect the holiday rush to crowd the TTC, as well - Metro US

Expect the holiday rush to crowd the TTC, as well

The economy may be weak but that won’t stop GTA residents from flocking to streets and malls in the hunt for bargains and last-minute gifts. Consider this your reminder to expect crowded buses, streetcars and trains.

Now is also an opportune time to enjoy Toronto’s huge array of attractions — particularly museums, galleries and live shows. Metropass holders should visit ttc.ca because the TTC has added a bunch of discount offers to a list that already includes the zoo and the CN Tower.

A few new deals are the King Tut exhibit, Raptors basketball and some popular theatre productions.

Those who don’t have a Metropass can still save money by taking advantage of extended dates for the TTC day pass. For $9, up to six people (including two adults) can have unlimited one-day travel until Jan. 1. See the ttc.ca home page for the specifics, as well as holiday service hours.

It’s probably a good idea to buy your day passes in advance and keep them handy. The TTC tells me unused passes sold before the Jan. 3 fare hike will have to be exchanged — at no added cost — for new day passes. Stay tuned for details.

Just weeks after the TTC opened its new express bus lanes to York University, another transit-only route has begun service. Exclusive streetcar lanes are now open on St. Clair between Yonge St. and Lansdowne Ave.

Merchants along this wide boulevard have suffered during a prolonged construction period — not only have the tracks and roadway been replaced, but there has been a lot of utility work.
This is our cue to go explore the great variety of shops, restaurants and cafés that line St. Clair. It would be an excellent gesture for Torontonians to recognize the sacrifice of local business owners by visiting the street and spending some holiday cash there.

Keep in mind special transfers are issued along the 512 St. Clair route that allow unlimited use for two hours. Look up “Time-Based Transfers” at ttc.ca for an explanation. This deal should remain in effect at least until the entire 512 line reopens to streetcars past Keele St. some time in 2010.

My last shopping tip? I’ve added new items to the list of transit-related merchandise at eddrass.com — see the Trinkets page for links and descriptions. Geek alert: Spacing has more subway buttons — in 1954 colours.

Toronto-based transport writer Ed Drass covers transit issues every Monday; transit@eddrass.com.

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