Transit System: Here vs There

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Thursday, August 16, 2012.


Yesterday was my first 'big girl' day, out of the house, on my own, figuring out the local transit system of the city I grew up in.  Coincidentally, my mom was amazing at always giving me rides everywhere I needed to go, so as a child I used transit pretty rarely (and when I did, it was only for idiotic things like going to and from the mall).

This time I had to go all the way into the next city over.  *gasp* I know. Grown-ups have bigger places to be, too.

Right on time...
So, the transit system here should be way easier, in theory, because all of the buses operate on a timed scheduled.  And for the most part, they actually arrive at 8:37am when they say they will.  The biggest (I guess we'll use the word) flaw, is that the buses of these suburban cities run down streets, not routes.  And I needed to be down some streets, over some streets, and down some more streets.  That means 3 buses.  BOO!

What's not easy about that, Spoiled Grasshopper?

Well it's timing everything so you don't end up waiting for like 25 minutes between each connection! Because now that I know the scheduled times, I know how long my wait will be (UNlike in Brazil) and that kind of takes away from the surprise element of waiting for a bus you're not even sure will arrive in the first place! (It makes waiting for a bus less boring, ok??)

Ta Da! Fancy...
But back in Canada means back on a system of schedules and punctuality (and a lot of people with hot air up their butts! hehe) But! (no pun intended!) it ALSO means back on a system of A1 Customer Service!  So when I approach a bus stop and I'm not sure what time the bus is coming, or if my bus passes along this route, I just call this fancy number and get an easy-to-follow recording OR a REAL LIVE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY HELPS YOU!

So riding the bus answered a few of the nagging questions I had developed about Canada, while living in Brazil.

1) Is there really a better bus pass system in Canada?
Yes. In my area of the Toronto suburbs this card lets you on all the buses in the surrounding cities, including transfers (which are unlimited in a 2 hour period!!!! *GASP*) and discounted fares!

2) How do the buses arrive places if they don't drive like maniacs?
They have a schedule and they actually drive slooow to get to their stops at the scheduled times.(!!) I arrive on time AND alive??

3)Are the bus drivers really friendlier on Canadian buses?
Well, of the 6 buses I took yesterday, every single driver said hi to me and more than one gave me helpful assistance with directions.

So those are my top preferences about buses in Canada.  They still don't have the charm of Brazilian buses, y'know, things like:
  • flagging down your bus like a taxi cab (gets my excitement up)
  • taking one bus to get to my exact destination (only in Zona Sul, however)
  • talking to people at bus stops, asking for directions
  • not needing exact change because the sleeping cashier will make it for you (when he or she is awake - it's all part of the charm!) ;-)
 I still can't come to a final decision about which system I prefer because at the end of the day, while the Canadian system is way more efficient, the Brazilian system has that beautiful view (oh, AND, preferential seating for preggers, which Canada does NOT have). 

The jury is still out on this one....

5 Responses to Transit System: Here vs There

  1. Mexi-can Me.

    Welcome back to Canada! I see you are in Mississauga? Nice, were neighbours! I really feel for your first post about coming back, I felt the same. Hang in there, it will get better. I find that you can find people here with the same outlook you learned in Brazil :) I did and it made everything a lot better for me!

  2. Lindsey

    Hey Mexi-can Me! I wrote you an email to a comment you posted on the other blog but I'm not sure if it actually ever got to you... I'm living in Brampton actually but taking a course in Mississauga... but you know how it is. Brampton/Mississauga, same old suburban life.
    What do you mean about finding people with the same outlook? That they exist? Or did you find people through community groups or anything?
    Thanks for moving over here :)

  3. Mexi-can Me.

    I never got your email! What email did you send it to? its .. I would have responded if I knew! Yes!! Such people exist :) Me and L are two of them, and I have gotten to know many more these past few months! We are in Brampton too! I hope to chat soon. :)

  4. Jim

    Honey - hold on to the rail! Don't risk your newborn. But take a Brazilian bus if you want to get there in time! And welcome home to beautiful Toronto.

  5. Lindsey

    Thanks Jim, lol, you're right. I feel much safer on the buses here, but they really move at a much slower pace!


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