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Canada’s Public Transportation System Is it good

Canada’s Public Transportation System: Is it good?

Canada, the second-largest country in the world by land mass, has a population of 40 million people. Of course, not everyone is inclined to navigate through congested rush hour traffic by driving a car!

The country provides various modal transportation that its citizens, permanent residents, and visitors can use. Government funding allows for development, expansion, and modernization, resulting in a comprehensive system—especially in major cities.

Does Canada possess a good public transit system?

Canada boasts a good public transportation system that’s well-connected, interlinking various cities. There’s a comprehensive network of buses, trains, and ferries that seamlessly facilitates travel between different destinations. 

Canada has earned top places in public transit rankings. Oliver Wyman Forum published Urban Mobility Readiness Index in 2022, ranking 60 major cities worldwide based on their ability to address future mobility challenges.

Vancouver earned the 22nd spot, just behind Sydney. Meanwhile, Toronto (Things To Do In Toronto) and Montreal took the 25th and 26th places, respectively.

Sure, we’re not in the top ten, but the country’s continuous massive expansions in the public transit system address major hurdles that the growing number of commuters face.

Reasons Behind Canada’s Good Public Transportation System

The Canadian Government invests in public transportation

It’s no secret that Canada has so much construction—it’s never ending! The country is vast and welcomes many immigrants every year, leading to a need for more infrastructure—the population reached 40 million on June 16, 2023.

Many of these new constructions result from the Government of Canada’s investment in public transportation. In fact, they have funded $24.8 billion since 2015 to fund transit projects across the country for more reliable commuting choices.

Over the next eight years, the government has also allocated $14.9 billion to establish fast, clean, and inexpensive modes of transportation for the commuting public. 

Canada has various modes of transportation

A considerable number of Canadians rely on public transportation, as indicated by Statista’s survey results. Among the 1,578 respondents, 23% reported using public transit.

Thanks to Canada’s various modes of transportation, commuters have several options to get from point A to point B, such as buses, trains, light rails, streetcars, and ferries. Most of these, particularly in major cities, allow for easy transfers.

For instance, travelling from Toronto to Montreal is possible via rail—with an average time of five hours. Another example is going from Toronto to Ottawa via bus, which takes four hours and a half.

Additionally, these rail stations will usually have shuttle services to airports, downtown areas, and major tourist spots, making the commute easy for both locals and tourists.

Canada is also notable for providing network solutions in major cities, particularly in dense areas. Downtown cores are packed with buses and subways for affordable and easy ways to get to and from their workplace.

The public transit system is well-connected

The public transit system is well-connected
Photo by LinedPhoto

The public transportation system in the country is intricately linked with various modes of getting from city to city. Urban areas, in particular, have different types of transportation due to having a densely packed population.

Furthermore, certain cities (mainly major ones) have subway systems within malls, sheltering commuters during severe weather conditions and a means to reach home or work.

An example is Toronto’s PATH, an extensive underground mall spanning 30 kilometres in the downtown area. It has many shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Moreover, this complex network connects office buildings and has links with public transportation, giving commuters easy access from a safe space underground.

The rail system in the country is also well-connected, allowing commuters to visit another province by land (with several stops in various cities) instead of a more expensive option via air.

For instance, taking the rail from Toronto to Vancouver will have station stops in Winnipeg and Edmonton. Train tickets are also cheaper when bought in advance.

Canada provides city bikes in its major cities

Major cities in Canada are bike-friendly with dedicated bike paths. Most will also have city bikes for commuters who prefer the more affordable cycling option.

Toronto, a highly frequented tourist destination within the country, is a bike-friendly city boasting 680 stations with round-the-clock access to more than 7,100 bikes through Bike Share Toronto.

Other major cities provide easy access to city bikes as well, including Montreal via BIXI and Vancouver’s Mobi. This transportation mode is also open for monthly memberships for residents and one-time payments for visitors.

Many transportation modes are accessible for persons with disabilities

Many transportation modes are accessible for persons with disabilities
Photo by Jon Tyson

Many forms of transportation are wheelchair-accessible in Canada, but the problem lies if the mobility device will fit the doors or if there are available ramps for safe access.

Canada still has a long way to go in making the public transit system highly accessible for persons with disabilities. However, numerous prominent cities are actively integrating better and easier accessibility measures.

Metro Vancouver was the first in the country to implement a policy providing entirely accessible transit services. TransLink, the Vancouver metropolitan area’s transportation network, aims for 100% accessible public transit.

Additionally, Greater Golden Horseshoe in Southern Ontario provides accessible features for all their train coaches via GO Transit, such as priority seating, grab bars, handholds, and door opening and closing chimes for the convenience of all passengers.


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