Hi, guys! How are you? Hope everything is fine wherever you are!
Today, after a long time, I decided to come back with more differences – Brazil vs Canada: the second round. Yeah, I know it was a long time since I wrote the first one but today I felt very inspired to do so (and I kinda need to get back to this because I’m getting very settle down here, so I need to remind things I don’t have here and I loved back in Toronto).
(Before we start:
- Keep in mind I’m from an emergent country and I went to a developed one, so clearly there are plenty of things that work in a better way there than here in Brazil.
- I’m trying to be super careful here. I don’t want to give you the wrong idea but at the same time I want stick to reality.)
Everyone knows Brazil isn’t known as the best place in the world when it comes to security, but it isn’t the worst (don’t overthink it. I can talk about it later). And when it comes to public transportation, it wouldn’t be different, if you have other option, prefer it (but it doesn’t mean you’ll die the moment you use it. I even say in other texts I like to try public transportation form others cities I get to visit).
As a citizen, people have a different perspective from those who come only for a short visit or something. With my quick-Toronto-living-experience, I’ll explain it through my views. TTC, the Toronto Transit Commission is the company that represents the biggest part of public transportation in Toronto and the way it works is very nice: it has buses, subways and streetcars. It isn’t cheap, I have to admit, but considering how much I used it, it seemed fair to me. There are three ways to pay for it: Metropass, tokens or money.
Money is the easiest one to talk about: since they only have the driver, you have to pay the exact amount of money because if you give more, they won’t return it to you. They have a system to check if everybody using the transport paid for it: it is the Proof-of-payment (POP), basically is a piece of paper called transfer, keep it with you, it is the only way you have to proof you paid for it.
Metropass is my favourite of all times: a card that gives you unlimited access to
any kind of transport. Yeah, it can be more expensive, but for me it was totally worth because I used it so so so so much. And it’s also the only payment method you don’t have to take a transfer to proof you paid because your POP is the card itself. You can buy it for a day, a week or a month (again, for me, the monthly one was the best option ever). They change periodically, so if yours expire, you have to buy a new one. Check conditions to see if the discount applies to you.
Tokens are the only one I don’t like. You buy a certain amount of them (they sell only more than three or five, if I remember correctly) and you use it as you would use your money: deposit it near to the driver and take your transfer. I think I hate them because they are so small that I can easily lose them (and I’m pretty sure I did).
But how it works is also a good thing to talk about. Divided in three sections, TTC provides you buses, subways and streetcars, as I said before. It’s obvious that TTC has its problems, but I assure you it doesn’t compare a bit with Brazilian public transportation.
Buses are always on time and sometimes even earlier, I lost so many buses because of this. You don’t have to make any signal for them to stop for you, if you’re on the bus stop, they automatically will stop for you. Always say ‘hi’ to the driver, they are so sweet and polite. I remember sometimes when I got late on my station they used to say “take care” to me whenever I left the bus, which is so cool. Oh!, and besides that, they have the amazing Blue Night, which is a special kind of bus that workings during the night, when the subway is closed.
The subways are a dream for me. Sometimes really hot, sometimes full of people (if you can, avoid 8/9am or 4/5pm), sometimes someone pushes the emergency alarm and everything stops, but always useful. A station in every corner. It stops working at 2am, but since the city slows down a little bit, makes senses to me. I remember many times I went to parties and made my make up on the subway, it is an experience I’ll never get over and -most important- I’ll never have it in my city (this also motivates me of moving from here) and I miss it so much. Another thing I miss is the subway voice, I even recorded some of the “Arriving at _______ Station” for example, but I can’t find it anymore. (Guess I have to go back there and record some more hahahaha)
The only one I don’t think it’s very useful is the streetcar. They are slow and old. It kinda gives the city a “classy” look, something from the 40’s, you know? But they aren’t as functional as the other ones, I used to take it only when I wasn’t on a hurry (almost never) or when it was my last option, but if you’re looking for a romantic scenario or if you want to appreciate the views of the city, it’s your best option.
Oh, I found out that public transport is a nice place to meet new people, to hear you they have to say to you, to get lots of “No way! From Brazil? What are you doing here?”. I meet people with cool histories, with passion for life and this is so good. Of course I saw people doing bad things too, as I said it isn’t perfect, but that made me I decided I didn’t want a car anymore, it costs you a lot and consumes the time you could use for another things if you were on a subway for example.
That’s all for now guys, hope to see you soon!