The Metropass: Your Gateway to the City

Forget IDs and phones, as a Torontonian, my most prized possession is my metropass (dark lipsticks are still a close runner up though). I feel like Taylor Swift, like I’m “that girl for a month” because I change my pass monthly. As much as I hate to admit this, she is right in a sense: why waste time on humans who eventually stop texting you “good morning” when you can date your city which wakes you up abruptly with the wrong coffee orders? Wait, does that mean I’m paying $108 for a boyfriend… okay, that’s an issue for my therapist and I. Anyways, if you feel me, keep reading.

Meet Sidrah Khatoon: a second year Creative Industries student here at Ryerson. If there is anyone I can name who lives life to the fullest, it’s Sidrah. She’s a commuter from Markham (that’s 2 hours in the 5pm rush, one way), which is weird because, for someone who is on the TTC for that long, she is always smiling. To get to the bottom of her happiness, I decided to investigate. In the end what I learned from Sidrah was it’s not about having a metropass or not, it’s about finding yourself in a metropolitan you can easily get lost in.


Why do you think it’s important to have a metropass?

It’s just more convenient than picking out tokens in a herd of people from your backpack at rush hour. I live in this dull place called Markham and coming to Ryerson evokes travelling to another city because the commute is so long. Visiting downtown is my tourism, I want to take advantage and explore it and my metropass enables me to do exactly that.

How do you find the time to explore the city?

The beginning of the year is ideal for abusing your pass. It’s the time you don’t have so much work and haven’t made many friends yet. It’s perfectly ideal for indulging in your city and yourself. It’s so cute when you pay for your own coffee and laugh at your own jokes. But, jokes aside, you just have to make the time. It’s like therapy for me in my four hour breaks. I’ve noticed I’m on campus a lot more than the people who live in downtown even are. I try not to take this for granted. I just hop on the subway, even on Fridays, which is my day off. I organize between my work, my classes and my social life.

What kinds of places do you explore?

I go to the places I have never been in the 19 years I’ve been here. It’s easy to think “yeah, it’s close by so I’ll go there eventually.” Last term, I went to High Park for the first time and just walked and relaxed for four hours. It was nice to feel like a tourist and appreciate my city as travelers do. I also go to art exhibitions and curations because that’s what I see myself doing in my future. It’s something that interests me and I can take something away from. I also have a TIFF Bell LightBox membership, so I get free or discounted tickets as student passes give you the upper hand.

Where do you learn about these places?

You mean besides the layers and layers of posters on campus walls? I use BlogTO, Ryerson accounts that send out event alerts, best lists, Instagram, and Twitter if you follow people and events you like. The perks of this is that they often link a student discounts or coupons for movies or parks.

Who do you take with you?

I think it’s very important to distinguish between your social life and your “me time”. I go alone usually, not because I’m a loner but because it’s university, everyone is busy and schedules don’t always coordinate. Not everything fun has to be with friends. You can have fun on your own too. The art of being alone and satisfied with your own company is essential. Subway travel does exactly that and gives you a chance to reflect and relax. If you can’t travel by yourself, how can you share that experience with others?

Why do you think it’s important to “date” your metropass? For yourself and your city?

You have to become a tourist and a traveler in your city before you decide to do it internationally. This way you have a sense of comparison and contrast. I bought my metropass so I have the full access to take advantage of it! It’s expensive, especially on a student budget, so I might as well make the most of it. I like to experiment and get lost on purpose. And when it happens, I just retrace my steps and come back with the same metropass. There is no reason to be scared.


Cover photo by Gregory Allan (@Swatchtime)