Montreal and Vancouver came second and third, while other GTA and Ontario cities failed to impress.
Public transit may be a frequent gripe for Torontonians, but a new ranking of Canadian cities based on transit availability puts the city in the top spot, just beating out Montreal and Vancouver, while other GTA and Ontario cities failed to crack the top 10.
Thirty-four Canadian cities were given a number between 0 and 100 that took into account variety of services (bus, light rail, subway), frequency of routes and number of stops. Toronto scored a 78, Montreal notched a 77, while Vancouver rounded out the top three at 74.
The list was compiled by Walk Score, a Seattle-based company that aims to help people find places to live based on walkability. The online service branched into transit scores for U.S. cities earlier this year, and Tuesday marked the first time such numbers are available north of the border.
“To have a great transit score you usually need to have a mix of rail and bus nearby,” said Walk Score co-founder Matt Lerner.
“Toronto has a lot of neighbourhoods with a great transit score,” he said, noting the city has about 25 neighbourhoods that score more than 90, earning them the title “riders’ paradise.”
“Being able to walk out your door and be at your destination quickly via transit is beneficial for a number of reasons,” added CEO Josh Herst. “Whether that’s your job, or school or restaurants or friends, it’s good for your wallet and your overall happiness” — nobody likes to be stuck in traffic.
Herst and Lerner were also quick to point out how well Toronto fared compared to the U.S., outscoring every city except New York and San Francisco.
“The city really just has excellent transit,” said Herst.
Despite Toronto’s success, others in the GTA failed to impress. The next highest was Brampton with a 48, a score Herst said correlates to “some transit, but you really need a car to accomplish your daily errands.”
Richmond Hill earned a 45, while the lowest ranked city was Milton at 15.
Scores between 0 and 24 come with the title: “it is possible to get on a bus.”
Mississauga was originally on the list at 16.5, but that score was withdrawn because some of the city’s transit agencies were not accounted for.
Herst said they hope to release a new score, as well as scores for other Canadian cities, as more data becomes available.
Top three Canadian cities and others in Ontario:
1. Toronto 78
2. Montreal 77
3. Vancouver 74
12. Ottawa 49
13. Brampton 48
18. Richmond Hill 45
20. Kitchener 44
22. Waterloo 44
24. Hamilton 42
25. Guelph 40
27. Thunder Bay 34
29. Cambridge 33
34. Milton 15