Winter in Toronto: Are we better off driving or taking transit?

Probably the biggest complaint of Toronto residents – indeed anyone living in the GTA – is commuting around the city. There are too many cars, too many people driving in from the ‘burbs for work, highways and streets that cannot handle the congestion, and a transit system that is being stretched beyond its limits.

So, the question is, which is the best way to get around? And more specifically, which is the best way to get around in winter when things are even worse? Do you drive or do you take the TTC?

The lesser of two evils in the winter is the TTC. Here is why.

Traffic sucks in winter

Traffic is downright messed up in Toronto. There is too much of it and it’s constant! In the winter you can add unplowed roads, slippery roads, snow, sleet, black ice and a whole lot of people who suddenly forgot how to operate a vehicle. With the TTC, at least if taking the subway, you can pretty much avoid the mess above ground.

An excuse to be late for work

When you’re driving in winter, you not only have to leave yourself extra time to get to work safely (for the reasons mentioned above), but even still, unexpected road work, plows and accidents can eat up that extra time – and more. Bosses are generally unforgiving of drivers who are late for work, but being late due to problems with the TTC usually doesn’t draw the same ire.

It’s really cold

Remember how much time you spend digging out your car after a snow storm? Shovelling the driveway? Pouring hot water on the doors, or hauling a blow dryer and extension cord outside just so you can get them open? Having to go out in your PJs to warm the car up before you brush your teeth? It makes crappy mornings so much worse. The TTC eliminates all of those issues.

Driving is a complete waste of time

Driving a car means being focused on the road the whole time – and some commutes in Toronto are an hour or even two. That’s a ton of time wasted every week, and every month. Then again, you take the TTC and are lucky enough to get a seat, you can actually get work done while you are on your way to and from work. Hello, efficiency!

Winter tires are a pain

Winter tires are definitely recommended for winter driving – they’re so much safer. But hey, they’re also pricey and getting your tires changed twice a year is an added cost and a time-suck you don’t need. Take the TTC and forget the winter tires.

The TTC is cheaper

Sure, it’s not just a winter issue, but it’s still worth mentioning: Cars are expensive. Buying/leasing, insurance, gas and maintenance all add up to make driving a very expensive method of commuting. Meanwhile, monthly Metropass is just $141.50 – significantly cheaper than your car payments.

Ask a hippie

Again, not something specifically winter related, but taking transit absolutely reduces your carbon footprint. Every little bit helps. If you take the TTC you are minimizing the amount of pollution you pump into the atmosphere, and Mother Earth thanks you for that.

Erin Cardone

Born on the Prairies, Erin Cardone grew up knowing there was more to life than canola fields and AAA Alberta Angus. So she escaped, living in Europe and Australia, white-knuckling it through plates of calf brains and raw horse meat, and learning languages she can't remember anymore. After a stint as a jaded, skeptical journalist, she changed tack and began writing rather awesome blogs and showing businesses that advertising is dead, so long live social media, with her businesses Legendary Social Media. She now splits her time between various Canadian cities, Costa Rica and wherever else the wind blows.

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