My summer without a metropass

This summer, in an effort to save some money, I decided that I wouldn’t buy a metropass. In Toronto, it costs $3 to take the subway, or TTC, one way. The metropass costs $135. To make it worth your while, you would have to use it 1.5 times per day. And that’s to break even. (I note here that metropasses in Montreal are only $80.)

Let’s face it, if you’re from Toronto, you know that the TTC is terrible. It’s overcrowded, it’s almost always delayed because of “signal problems,” and if you’re going south at all during rush hour, forget about getting a seat.

As I’m sure you can imagine, it wasn’t a tough sell to force myself to find alternative methods of transport come months with nicer weather. I don’t think anyone really expected the rainy, chilly summer that we had, but hey – it wasn’t “feels like 45 C” like it was last summer.

The Beltline – trail that runs through urban Toronto, as part of my walk to work.

I didn’t buy a metropass for June, July or August. In that time, I would allocate myself $40/month for TTC fare, in case of evening work or social events, rain, etc., but I wouldn’t necessarily use all of it. The distance between my place and work is exactly 7KM. I walked most often, but also biked (until my bike broke in August) and occasionally ran. During this time, I was also training for some trail races and my half marathon in October.

Here is my end of summer total:

Walk: 281 KM
Bike: 180 KM
Run: 319 KM

I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it! Sure, there were times when I needed to get somewhere quickly and walking wasn’t an option (the walk takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes), but most often I really liked it. The morning I found to be the best. I started listening to a few new podcasts (if you like This American Life, check out Love and Radio), and even found a new coffee shop that I’d never had a chance to visit before as it was approximately half way through the walk. (Boxcar Social – they also have microbrews in the afternoon/evening and a killer patio out back.)

Boxcar Social’s patio

I loved the commuting so much, in fact, that I haven’t bought a pass for September, either, and I don’t know whether I will for October. The mornings are chillier than the afternoons, and if it’s a bright, blue sky with a slowly rising sun, there’s not much better than a walk to stretch your legs in the morning and get your mind working.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. dixoncordell says:

    Allegra! This is a fantastic project and an extremely well written piece. Simple, bright, and we’ll laid out. I really enjoyed reading about your adventure. Well done!

    1. ayoungvoice says:

      Thanks so much! Adventure it was, and continues to be. Now to fix my bike…

  2. Steph says:

    This is so beautiful! Even I felt liberated, just reading your post. What a difference between the subway photo and the trail photo. TRAIL any day. That subway photo makes me want to vomit.

    Good for you for making the choice! Not only did you save money, but you got even fitter and even healthier mentally and emotionally too, and you got sunshine and fresh air and found new things! I’d choose what you did in a second.

    Enjoy the crisp fall weather and warm colours!

    PS. Those kms are impressive! Do you ever listen to Shelagh Rogers or your own centre’s music?

    1. ayoungvoice says:

      I certainly do listen to Shelagh Rogers! You know me too well 🙂 I think that though it was about saving money, it certainly turned out to be something more. The mental health boost from walking made such a difference in my day. Thanks for reading, Steph! 🙂

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