Toronto recently took the top spot on a transit score ranking, which compared major cities’ transit networks across Canada. The study was conducted by real estate brokerage, Redfin.
Redfin analyzed Canadian cities with a population of more than 300,000, and looked at the convenience and frequency of public transit. Toronto came in first with a Transit Score of 78, followed by Vancouver (74), and then Montreal (67).
We’ll be honest - we weren’t going to write about this ranking. Mostly because the results aren’t that surprising; the three largest cities in Canada scored the highest for public transit, that just makes sense to us. But then we noticed a couple things...
First of all, coming in first with 78 seems like a problem. According to Redfin’s Walk Score website, a 78 Transit Score means the city offers “Excellent Transit” and that “transit is convenient for most trips.” This applies to any score up to 89. To be considered a “Rider’s Paradise” with “world-class public transportation,” the score has to be 90-100, which no major Canadian city received.
Montreal came in third with a 67, which means the transit is just “Good” and that there are “many nearby public transportation options.” A score of 50 to 69 is considered Good. Calgary, Ottawa, and Winnipeg all hovered around the bottom of having “Good Transit” and Edmonton, Markham, Quebec, Surrey, Laval, Hamilton and London scored under 50, meaning they simply have “Some Transit.”
Toronto may pat itself on the back for being ranked number one on this list, but it kind of seems like the city should be striving for Rider’s Paradise scoring.
The other thing that caught our eye was that Blair Anderson, broker of record and market manager for Redfin in Toronto, acknowledged that people in Toronto complain about the public transit:
"Significant growth requires major transit infrastructure, and the city has recognized that and is investing in transit. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates in the city, and plans to expand the light rail and subway service. GO train, our commuter rail system, is also undergoing a significant expansion, to make it even more accessible to those living farther out. Some people moan and complain about public transit, but Toronto's system is one of the better transit systems in the world. It's highly ranked, runs well on a timely basis, and doesn't have many problems. And without it, the city would shut down."
He’s right - people do complain about things like delays and crowded streetcars, but he’s also right about how the city would shut down without its transit. So to all those who just missed a streetcar or ran towards subway doors only to have them close in your face, just remember that there’s another one coming in a few minutes, and without this transit, getting to work would be even more of a slog.
That said, we can’t help but try to think of ways that Toronto can score higher on the next Transit Score ranking. The city is growing, people are moving from around the world to live in Toronto, and many people already consider it a world-class city. How can transit keep up?