Art · Commuting · Toronto · Transportation

Art meets transportation

Using public transportation to get school, work and everything in between is often time-consuming, especially if you are commuting a long distance. Many commuters bring a book (what I’m currently reading), newspaper, or tablet to occupy time during their commute, however, I’m sure we’ve all experienced that one time when we forgot our headphones  or our most recent reading materials. For me, this happens more often than not. I am repeatedly in a rush to get to the GO Bus, which I take to go to Seneca. If I miss the bus I’m late for class! During this rushing process, I often forget my headphones or a book, making my commute boring. This is where transportation art comes in. Many of us, including myself, find our eyes wandering during our commute – watching people, reading the cover of someone else’s book or looking at advertisements above us. Recently on my commute from downtown, I stumbled upon posters of drawings depicting people on their commute on public transportation. As I walked along the subway cart I saw several more posters. These posters intrigued me to visit the website posted on the footer of the poster, artintransit.ca. The poster campaign, Sketching the Line, allows individual artists to capture moments on buses, subways and streetcars throughout the GTA.

Photo taken by myself.
Photo taken by myself.

Another video that went viral recently was the TTC sponsored We Move You campaign, partnering with The National Ballet of Canada. This series shows ballet dancers in and around subways and TTC stations. While both above campaigns are initiated, sponsored and promoted by the TTC, it’s nice to see that the TTC values arts and culture in Toronto.

While frowned upon in most cities, street art, sometimes considered graffiti, also holds an important place on public transportation. While Toronto and other cities in Canada lack street art on their public transportation fleet, during a trip to western Europe in the fall I noticed a lot of street art on subways. Specifically, in Berlin, which is known for its vast street art. Below are pictures from the @graffitibln Twitter handle.

Photo credit @graffitibln Twitter handle.
Photo credit @graffitibln Twitter handle.

I really enjoy these unique art displays on public transportation. It makes me feel like the bus or subway is more than just a ‘people mover’, but also a place where you can view art. It should be noted however that some transportation agencies in the GTA, limit the use of advertisements and art, making some fleet completely bare inside and outside of fleet, GO Transit being one example.

Expand your horizons! This weekend I found this informative Twitter account @beyonddc. The user is a transportation planner in Virginia, USA, and a professor in Washington. He tweets about urbanism and public transportation in North America. One of his recent tweets was from a trip to the GTA. Give it a look!

That’s all for now,

Amina

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