CORALS ZHENG/THE VARSITY

Over the summer, the TTC was awarded Outstanding Public Transportation System of 2017 by the American Public Transportation Association, the first time it had won since 1986. Given the train delays, missing buses, and grimy seats, many of us who use the TTC regularly disagree with this judgment. Here, our contributors share some of their stand-out TTC horror stories.


I sat in my seat on the subway, ready to begin my late Tuesday commute. Being a first-year at the time, I was still getting used to using the TTC and still learning its nuances.

That night, I experienced the classic random stop in the middle of a tunnel for the first time. Stuck in the same car was a man in a large, inflatable dinosaur costume, who was clearly not a fan of the random stop.

He leaped out of his seat, loudly complaining about the current state of affairs. As his tirade reached its crescendo, the train started moving again, causing the man in the large, inflatable dinosaur costume to fall over.

— Sarim Irfan

It was a hot August day, and I was heading down to Kipling to my friend’s pool. After I grabbed a seat in the subway car, a man in construction gear sat down beside me. He seemed totally dazed and unaware of his surroundings. As the car got moving, he started leaning closer and closer toward me until eventually he was asleep, practically on top of me.

Commuters around me began to notice and yell words of encouragement — “you don’t have to put up with that, girl!” One offered me their seat. When I stood up, the man fell forward, completely unresponsive. Chaos ensued.

One woman pushed the emergency button, and another produced a fan from her purse. People were yelling, asking me if I smelled alcohol on his breath. When the train came to a stop at the next station, it took 15 minutes for paramedics to arrive.

Meanwhile, several people, including a young nurse with shaky hands and a doctor who spoke little English apart from “I’m a doctor,”  tried to help. On the platform, one man yelled, “I have places to be!” followed by profanities. A woman shouted how selfish he was, and then a brawl broke out. The man was still unconscious. Someone began videotaping, but the woman then turned on him, too. More profanities.

Others joined in, momentarily forgetting the unconscious man. Paramedics arrived and the man seemed to briefly regain consciousness while they carried him out.

— Leah Kuperman

This summer, right at St. George station, I was harassed by a middle-aged woman for the sole reason that I was wearing a dress and heels. It was a friend’s birthday party, so I was appropriately dressed for the occasion, or so I thought.

As my friends and I entered the subway station we noticed the woman looking at us, but we paid it no mind because she was exiting the subway. As we waited for the subway, the same lady we had seen before came back down to where we were and started to yell at me about my clothing choices. She called me a slut, a whore, and a whole slew of other things that were completely disrespectful.

There was no one in sight at the station who could have come over to make sure I was safe or comfortable. I’m thankful my friends were there, but what if they hadn’t been? Harassment like I experienced continues to occur on the subway, and until everyone can feel safe on their commute, the TTC will still be a frightening place.

— Aryana Munsamy

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