TTC Cell Service Map

TTC Cell Service MapWhen I was a kid, the frustration when riding the subway was that I couldn't get the radio on my Sony Walkman. There was no signal.

Today that frustration has morphed into the sad fact we can't get a cell signal on the subway in Toronto. Most of my life has been spent on the Bloor line which, as you'll see in the handy TTC cell service map below, has very few mobile-friendly pockets.


[via Reddit]

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So what. We never had cellphones in the old days. What is so important that can't wait until you get off the subway. I have no idea.

September 20, 2013 @ 10:49 AM


This makes it more amusing to watch people using their cellphones on the subway. They'd like you to think they're engaged in something profoundly important. Nope... Candy Crush.

September 20, 2013 @ 10:57 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I don't buy the "we never had that in the old days" argument.

I'm no kid... I'm about to hit 40... so I was in university when the Internet showed up. But if I'm sitting on a subway it would be awfully nice if I could use my smartphone. It would help pass the time, make me more productive and make the ride a far better experience.

September 20, 2013 @ 10:57 AM


Overlay an "above ground sections of the subway" map. Highly correlated. Anyone who cannot live without cell phone connectivity for a (brief) subway ride needs to re-evaluate their priorities.

September 20, 2013 @ 10:59 AM



September 20, 2013 @ 11:01 AM


Man dentistry was so much better before the invention of Novacaine.

Do you ride the TTC? It's analogous to having your teeth pulled without anesthetic most days.

September 20, 2013 @ 11:03 AM


I completely agree with Cheryl. What is so important that it can't until you get off the subway?

If you need to be productive, why are you on the subway? Take a taxi, you'll get coverage then, and you may get to your destination quicker.

Talk about 1st world problems.

September 20, 2013 @ 11:28 AM


I don't see how mobile access on the subway would negatively influence your life enough to even have an opinion on how others use their time.

September 20, 2013 @ 11:43 AM


Opening up the subway to cellphone service would make riding the TTC worse due to ridiculous inane conversations. Really, how often to you overhear an urgent conversation versus an annoying inane one?

Also, it could potentially be a security risk, seeing as a cell phone could be used as a trigger. I wouldn't have considered this relevant 10 years ago but now its an open question.

September 20, 2013 @ 12:12 PM


You're right. While we're at it, let's ban wires, nails, matches, canisters, gasoline, fertilizer, circuit boards, electronic timers, etc. too.

Give me a break.

September 20, 2013 @ 12:23 PM


Put me in Cheryl's camp on this one. We're really at the point where we can't stand to be disconnected for 20 minutes? How about just being alone with your thoughts? I actually welcome those forced interludes. Now if they would only screen out cell signals from movie theatres I'd be a happy man.

September 20, 2013 @ 12:35 PM


As a daily rider, I find LOUD chats between people annoying. I can't imagine if you have a few hundred people on a car, all making calls !! Forget it! That said, I think having data access would be a wonderful thing - checking emails, web surfing, etc ... but then are stuck with apps like skype. I'm against voice calls in any shape or form !

September 20, 2013 @ 12:42 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Guys, I'm not saying I'd boycott the subway because there's no data, but it would be better if there was.

I can survive 30 minutes without data... hell, when I go to Europe, I stay in Airplane mode the entire time... but having data is better than not having data.

I'd like to be able to use my smart phone on the subway in the same way I would have liked to have continued listening to the radio on the subway back in the 80s and 90s.

September 20, 2013 @ 12:42 PM


And we're saying it would not be better if there was data because as passengers we would have to put up with listening to other passengers conversations while on the phone.

The TTC's purpose is to safely, efficiently, comfortably and with as little hassle as possible move large numbers of people from one destination to another. As a user of their service I don't expect them to provide me with wi-fi because that is not their business nor purpose.

The TTC has enough issues to address. This is not one of them.

September 20, 2013 @ 12:50 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@ Derrick

We disagree, which is good because if we all agreed on everything this would be an awfully boring blog.

September 20, 2013 @ 12:58 PM


Hey Mike,


September 20, 2013 @ 1:47 PM


It's probably inevitable but I think it must be a subscription service.

September 20, 2013 @ 1:51 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

New York has been installing cell service in its subway stations...

The TTC will have service on platforms soon, but not in tunnels.... although it will bleed into tunnels from platforms so there will be far few deadzones.

September 20, 2013 @ 1:59 PM


I hear you Mike. It would be a nice service to have. Even when I travel on the Subway (even pre cellphone era) very few people like to talk to each (outside of friends travelling together). The subways is not a restaurant or a bar, it ain't a social outing. It would be a nice luxury to have access to the device that increases your productivity and entertains you.

I went to a convention in Toronto and forgot which entrance I had to use. Yes I could wait till I am off the Subway to check but on the subway I have dead time to occupy, be nice to have simple luxuries like that.

Keep in mind I just got through 10 days with no internet and phone on vacation. I can live with out it, it just makes life a lot easier and saves me loads of time.

September 20, 2013 @ 3:05 PM


"we never had that in the old days" Is a terrible argument. We do overuse phones now and texting/e-mailing have destroyed many people's social skills. That being said, there was time we didn't have wheels or fire. Every generation before us complained about the generation after and their over reliance on new technology. Every pieces of literature from the last 1000 years mentions that time old "we never had that in the old days".

Heck my father used to mock me for using a dish washer. Despite the dishwasher cleaning better than hand washing and saving me time. I also read a study that said dishwasher use less water than hand washing (but never really followed up with that).

All my teachers complained about calculators yet I bet the vast majority of people here rely on them.

September 20, 2013 @ 3:10 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

There was once an uproar because the printing press enabled people to get their news from newspapers.

Society feared this would stop us from assembling in groups to share news.

There was also an uproar when telephones appeared... that was going to make us all anti-social.

Embrace science and new technology!

September 20, 2013 @ 3:14 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

But, I must add, I would never use something simply because it was more "modern".

For example, I have no interest in a Kuerig coffee system with barcode reader because I enjoy the process and taste of my French Press coffee.

Also, I enjoy using a push mower for my lawn.

And I rarely use the dishwasher preferring to save energy and wash by hand.

And finally, since we're talking about smartphones, I thoroughly enjoy my Samsung Galaxy S phone, but I've never felt compelled to upgrade to the Galaxy S 4, or 3 or even 2. I was given a Samsung Galaxy S 3 and gave it to my wife because mine satisfies my needs.

So don't be a luddite, but don't switch merely because it's easier. Sometimes it's fun and better to do thing the old way.

September 20, 2013 @ 3:26 PM


My one and only issue with TTC focusing on making the entire subway cell-and-data friendly is that they have a ton of better things to do with what little money they have.

Seriously, I literally can't go a day without hearing about how cash-strapped the TTC is. (Internet "literally", not "literally" literally). How they can barely meet operating costs, how they're one turnstile-jumper away from just going completely bankrupt.

If that's true, then if they try to wireup the tunnel, they'll just do a half-assed job. And when it comes to data coverage, no data is better than a half-assed job. When there's no data, you expect no data. Otherwise you're just frustrated with it not working. Things don't connect when they should. Or you manage to stand on your head on eggshells just the right way-- and it lasts for three seconds then drops.

If they have a budget surplus that allows them to undertake such a large project like this, maybe they should bank it in a long-term investment account, and put it towards building new routes. (I know, a government entity that plans for the future-- ha ha ha).

Some rough numbers: it cost NYC aboot $200 million to put cell service in about a dozen stations. That's about on par with the scope of a similar project on the TTC. Factor in more stations, the fact that EVERYTHING cell related is more expensive here, interference from Rogers and Bell, and the general inefficiencies that plague the TTC-- you can easily see it ballooning to $500 mil.

The TTC's trying to scape together $2 billion or more to pay for the subway extensions. That project is 10-25% of the proposed budget.

Now if any of the wireless companies want to come along and say "We'll slap data nodes in the tunnels, manage them, provide free service, and hey here's some cash, just let us slap some more ads all over the place and have vulture boothes at some stops to hand out company propaganda"-- fine, do that project.

But not at the cost of future expansion.

September 20, 2013 @ 3:35 PM


I agree that doing something because it's "modern" is stupid, but so is holding onto something solely because it's "tradition".

It's a case-by-case basis. I would argue, at least for small lawns, a push mower is vastly superior. Hardly anymore effort, easier to sharpen/service, no operating costs, etc.

Keurig's make shitty coffee, but it's a personal preference.

I shave with a double-edged razor and lather shaving cream or soap with a badger-haired brush. It takes a bit longer, but it's WAY cheaper than using Gillette cartridge shit, (10 cents for a premium blade vs. $4 for a cartridge), a bit of a pampered experience, and a much better quality of shave. No more irritation or in-growns. Also a much closer shave than electronic.

Not that I much excuse to write anymore these days, but I even use a fountain pen when I do. I wish I'd known about them while going through school. My left-handed chicken scratch suddenly became flowy and "fancy". The difference is that the nib just writes without any pressure required. A leftie has to shove a ballpoint pen into the page at a bad angle, instead of dragging it across like a right-hander. I also enjoy the ritual of filling the pen ... though I seldom have any reason to, except perhaps when writing Christmas cards.

September 20, 2013 @ 3:37 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I'm pretty sure the deal in place won't cost the TTC money but will make the TTC money.

September 20, 2013 @ 3:45 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Yep... here's the report from the TTC:


September 20, 2013 @ 3:47 PM


@Mike: Thanks for that link. Glad it's being paid for, but my god, that RFP-- does the TTC have no self-worth or sense of the value of their infrastructure at all?

The value of that contract is $25mil-- paid over TWENTY years. $1.25M / year. And according to the document, $250k of that is "to cover the TTC's project management costs related to the project". So the TTC will only realize a $1M profit per year (assuming no management cost overruns).

Again, the estimated cost of a similar project in NYC was $200M. :| So given how lucrative this project must be, that the TTC is only getting, at most, $1M/year from it-- wow.

September 20, 2013 @ 10:12 PM


Well, at least some people agree with me. I wouldn't want to hear tons of phone conversations on a subway either. I just think what actually can't wait.

September 21, 2013 @ 10:03 AM


Singapore has full cell service in their subways. It's brilliant.

September 22, 2013 @ 9:19 AM

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