I hadn’t been on the Toronto Subway for, well, as long as it took for the fares to go from around $0.50 to the current $3.00; probably a couple of decades.
It was pretty familiar, given the number of times I’d ridden the Rocket from my pre-teen years until I relocated out of Toronto. Mostly, there were cosmetic changes to the stations, something called “Designating Waiting Areas” (security?) and way more people than I remembered, particularly since it wasn’t during rush hour that I was travelling.
One of my passive pleasures on the subway used to be people watching, so I fell easily back into that. Of course, I noticed the large number of folks absorbed in their “devices” (newspaper readership appears way down). I had to stand all the way downtown so I got a bird’s eye view of a young woman as she furiously tapped and clicked away on her smartphone. (She must have checked her Facebook account at least 6 times in the time we traveled from Keele to Yonge Street.)
Getting on and off has become a strategic exercise in dodging, weaving and slipping; must be hell early in the morning or after 4:00 p.m. There’s now a service announcement of each upcoming stop, probably as a “get ready” warning.
I was unexpectedly treated to a domestic ‘interlude’ outside one of the downtown stops. A couple was screaming obscenities at each other at incredible volume, surrounded by either bystanders or friends, while subway security staff lounged some distance off, seemingly oblivious. Curious. I guess they figured fisticuffs weren’t imminent, so it wasn’t worth intervening. (In this day and age, in a male/female confrontation, I’d expect lockdown and flak vests.)
The best part of the trip turned out to be simply the ease of it all; no fighting traffic or locating scarce downtown parking. For less than what I would have paid to park at City Hall, I got to ride the Rocket and down memory lane.