Torontonians, it’s not your imagination — Toronto public transit users may have one of the longest commutes in North America, according to newly released transit figures.
Moovit, a public transit app operated by Mobileye, used aggregated data from millions of trips made through its app in 2022 to create a Transit Trends Report.
The report covers 99 cities in 24 countries, including Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. City data includes the metropolitan areas immediately adjacent to these cities.
The report examines issues such as the duration of a single commute, average commute distance, wait times, and the impact of COVID-19 on those trips.
Toronto’s average commute time using public transit is 56 minutes, just behind Chicago and Washington at 57 minutes and New York City at 58 minutes, the longest commute in North America, according to the data.
However, Canadians appear to be experiencing shorter wait times than some of the other regions included in the data.
The top three shortest wait times are all Canadian cities, with Montreal at 10 minutes, Vancouver at 11 minutes and Toronto at an average of 12 minutes.
By comparison, the top three wait times per commute were Los Angeles at 18 minutes, Chicago at 19 minutes and Miami at 21 minutes.
In terms of absolute distance traveled, Torontonians commute the farthest on average in North America, averaging 12.29 kilometers one way per trip, the report said. This puts Toronto at number seven on the list of cities or countries in terms of kilometers traveled each way during the average commute. Israel has the longest distance traveled, with 19.21 km per trip.
Canadians living in Toronto also had a higher proportion of commutes of two hours or more. In Toronto, just under 7 per cent commute longer than two hours each way, compared with 4.2 per cent in Greater Vancouver and 3.2 per cent in Montreal.
This is classified as a long commute in the report, compared to a moderate commute (1-2 hours) or a short commute (less than 30 minutes).
For all three cities, the proportion of residents enjoying a short commute is higher than the proportion of residents enjoying a medium or long commute. Vancouver tops this category, with nearly 40 per cent of residents experiencing short commutes.
However, a larger share of Canadians in these cities will have a short commute in 2020 than in 2022. In Montreal, 32.6 percent of people have a short commute in 2020, compared to 24 percent in 2022, according to the data.
Commuting times in Canada have increased since 2020, the data shows, including increases in commute times of about four to five minutes between 2020 and 2022 in three Canadian cities.
Although Toronto had the shortest average wait time, the proportion of people who waited less than five minutes for their commute was much higher in Montreal last year, with 36 per cent of Montrealers enjoying such a short wait time compared to 22 per cent of Torontonians and 25% of Vancouverites.
Toronto also has the highest percentage of residents with an average wait time of more than 20 minutes in 2022 at 15 per cent, compared with 11 per cent in Montreal and 9 per cent in Vancouver.
Montreal scored the highest among Canadian cities in terms of the percentage of residents with two or three transfers per commute. More than half of Montrealers have transferred schools twice, while about 21 per cent have transferred three or more times, the data showed. Of the three cities, Toronto residents had the highest average commute time consisting of a single line with no transfers at 29 per cent, compared with 25 per cent in Vancouver and 24 per cent in Montreal.
The report also includes the results of a survey that asked commuters what would induce them to use public transport more.
In Montreal, the most popular answers were shorter travel times, less congestion and cheaper fares, at 24 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.
Cheaper fares were also the most common answer for Toronto and Vancouver, with 25 per cent of Torontonians and 27 per cent of Vancouverites choosing this option.
Despite significant differences between some commute times, wait times and other metrics between 2020 and 2022, when asked how COVID-19 had changed their use of public transit, the majority of Vancouver and Toronto Canadians say it hasn’t affected the frequency of their transportation usage.
About a third of people in Montreal said they now use public transit less often, and about 25 per cent of Canadians in the three cities said they used public transit less.