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Play Toronto's Transfer Game!

Rules by James Bow.

The Rules

The goal of this game is fairly simple: you are to try to ride the TTC's surface network, using as many routes as possible, and taking as long as possible, all while legally using one token, and no paper transfers. Here's how to start:

  1. Pick a point on Toronto's subway network -- any point. The goal of the game requires that you do not take the subway during your trip, but as you will see, you will be tied closely to it. All but one of the TTC's surface routes connect with the subway, but only a few offer a direct connection between subway and surface vehicles, where transfers are not required. You will start your trip at one of these stations.
  2. Starting at the station of your choice, get on a surface vehicle and ride it. The object is to transfer to another surface route, but you can only do this in places where paper transfers are not required. When you reach such a point, you can choose to continue on the surface vehicle you are on, or you may change to another vehicle. Ride that vehicle until you reach another such point and continue your journey.
  3. Your journey ends if you reach the end of a route and can not transfer to another route, or require a paper transfer to do so. You may not double back on a specific surface route, nor can you ride a particular portion of a route twice. For example, if you ride the Lawrence West bus from Lawrence West station to Lawrence Station, you can not turn back using the Lawrence West bus. You can continue your journey back to Lawrence West station, however, using the Maple Leaf bus. Also, you can ride different portions of the same surface route, (e.g. Route 512 from St. Clair Station to St. Clair West and 512 from St. Clair West Station westward) and count that as two separate routes, assuming that you've transfered onto and travelled other routes between the time you stepped off of a 512 vehicle and the time you got back on a 512 vehicle to ride it further west).
  4. You can only change surface routes at legal transfer points where no paper transfers are required, and you can only choose routes which are operating on a particular day or time that you have chosen to travel. In other words, you can not use rush-hour buses to make a connection outside of rush-hour. Consult timetables to assure that connections are possible under the time and date listed by the players. In cases of a dispute, the timetables stored online at the TTC's Official Web Site are considered to be the official timetables.
  5. If you have to wait over 30 minutes in order to make your connection, your journey is deemed to have stopped there. As this game is a game of maps and timetables and not physical running (although it could be fun), we'll assume that the TTC is operating with a 100% on-time performance.


Here's how to calculate how many points you get for your trip:

  1. Pick a day of the week and a time at which you start your journey. Note this down, as well as which subway station your surface journey starts at.
  2. Choose a route to 'board'. Consult a timetable to see when the next route departs. For your first route, the time that the next vehicle departs is the time that we assume your journey starts. For riding on that route, add five points to your score. Also note down how many minutes the route is scheduled to take in order to reach your next change point; this is your travel time.
  3. At the next change point, if you are changing vehicles, consult your timetable and see how long you will have to wait before your next vehicle leaves. Note this time down, as this is your waiting time. In cases where you are boarding a streetcar route, whose frequencies are such that few timetables are actually printed, assume a wait of five minutes. The TTC's online timetables do list how long a streetcar trip takes, however, so you must add that to your travel time; alternately, you can consult the trip times given on the transfers.
  4. When your journey ends, either because you have run out of routes to change to, or you've had to wait more than 30 minutes in order to make a connection, tally up your score. Add five points for every route you have ridden on. Add together the time you've spent travelling on board a surface vehicle, and add five points to your score for every quarter hour, or portion of a quarter hour that you've spent travelling. Add together the time you've spent waiting at the connection points for your bus to leave and subtract one point from your score for every quarter hour, or portion of a quarter hour that you've spent waiting. This is the TTC, we want to be moving!
  5. If all or some of your trip took place during rush hours on weekdays (6-9 a.m. and 2:30 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday), add nothing to your score. If your trip took place exclusively during any other time on a weekday, multiply your score by 1.25. If your trip took place exclusively on a Saturday, multiply your score by 1.25. If your trip took place exclusively on a Sunday, multiply your score by 1.5. Now, divide your score by the total number of routes entering into the subway station where you started your trip. Finally, multiply your number by two.
  6. Remember, although some night buses do make direct connections with the subway, for the most part, no direct transfers are offered. Consult your night-bus timetables to be sure that a transfer-free connection can take place. If you can legitimately add a Night Bus route to your itinerary, count that route as 10 points.

An Example

The rules are so complicated, here's an example to help you along. Please note that the times given here are unofficial, and you should always consult official timetables in order to craft accurate travel and waiting times.

  1. Trip took place on a Monday and starts at St. Clair West Station.
  2. 18:05 - Route 512 departs St. Clair West Station eastbound for St. Clair Station. 5 points. Travel time: 10 minutes.
  3. 18:20 - Waiting time: 5 Minutes. Board Route 97D Yonge at St. Clair Station northbound for York Mills Station. 5 points. Travel time: 30 minutes.
  4. 19:00 - Waiting time: 10 Minutes. Board Route 96 Wilson at York Mills Station westbound for Wilson Station. 5 points. Travel time: 15 minutes.
  5. 19:30 - Waiting time: 15 Minutes. Board Route 29 Dufferin at Wilson Station southbound for Exhibition. 5 points. Travel time: 60 minutes.
  6. Total routes taken: 4 20 points). Total travel time: 115 minutes (40 points). Total waiting time: 30 minutes (-2 points). Subtotal: 58 points
  7. Trip was taken on a Monday during rush-hour - no bonus.
  8. St. Clair West Station is served by 5 surface routes in total: 58/5 = 11.6. Multply by 2: 23.2
  9. Total score on the trip: 23.2 points. Think you can do better?

The person with the highest score is considered to have found the cheapest method to legally tour the City of Toronto on the TTC. Happy riding!

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