Some Ryerson students who take the bus during rush hour face long wait times, increasing the risk of missing class.

According to rider counts that the TTC provided to the Toronto Star, students commuting to school are also being stuffed like sardines on the city’s transit system. The numbers reveal overcrowding on 50 TTC buses and streetcar routes.

For second-year environment and urban sustainability student, Jina Rew, getting caught in the rush can be uncomfortable.

“I find that sometimes I get anxiety when people have to get out and there’s a lot of shuffling,” Rew said. “I personally don’t enjoy the whole crowded environment.”

Out of the 50 routes that exceed crowd standards, 13 were during the morning or afternoon rush, while 30 were sometime during the weekday. The rest of the exceeded targets occurred on weekends.

Overcrowding that exceeds TTC standards does not necessarily mean a packed vehicle. According to TTC senior communication specialist, Stuart Green, having one person standing on a vehicle could also be considered crowding by their standard.

However, Green acknowledges that the TTC can work towards bringing relief to commuters.

“We will have 800 to 900 buses within the next two to three years,” Green said. “Within that time, customers will see a real significant improvement to the reliability of our vehicles and reliability of our service.”

Riders board the 505 westbound streetcar on Friday afternoon at Dundas and Yonge. (Photo by Jenny Zhen)

The problem also extends to the TTC’s streetcar service. According to its contract with Bombardier some 145 newly designed streetcars should have been in service on Toronto’s streets. But only 48 have made it out onto the rails.

Commuting from Etobicoke, first-year sociology student Sarah Paparo can’t always afford to be late.

“If I really need to, I’ll shove myself on, but you have to stand behind the yellow line or they’ll kick you off,” she said.

It can be stressful and dangerous, but Paparo adds she has become used to it. She said the answer to overcrowding on vehicles is adding more buses on the road.

“It’s inevitable that there’s going to be overcrowding, especially at those times, but maybe if they could get more buses to run through those areas that they know are going to be overpopulated, it’ll be easier to make it on time.”

Meanwhile, the TTC is awaiting delivery of new streetcars, each of which can hold up to three times as many people. Bombardier is scheduled to deliver 204 new vehicles onto the rails by the end of 2019.  

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