Riding the Rocket and York Region Transit with Indy Zhao

By: Samantha Maurice

Commuting from downtown Toronto to York Region may not always be an easy task. However, for Indy Zhao, shifting from driving to riding the Toronto Rocket and York Region Transit has proved to be a seamless transition, and a great way to get to work. 

As an employee of AMD, Indy has commuted by public transit from downtown Toronto every day for the past 16 months … unless he has made the decision to telework. By choosing public transit, Indy has noticed the positive benefits associated with taking transit - namely, avoiding sitting in traffic:


“Living in downtown Toronto, driving a car every day is a big mistake. With simply too much traffic going in and out of the city, I looked for other options to get to my workplace.

Planning is everything … this means that your plans need to be well thought out. What's the plan if your bus is late and you miss your transfer? I always have a backup route at any point in my journey.

[When I planned my route], I start with a 2-minute walk to the nearest subway station. I ride the Yonge line all the way North to Finch station, then board the YRT bus that drops me off a 2 minute walk away from my workplace.”


Choosing public transit is a smart alternative to driving; you can relax and let someone else take care of the driving. The Smart Commute Workplace Program offers workplaces a variety of commute-related workshops and outreach events, which provide assistance to employees with sustainable commute route planning through the Smart Commute Tool, transit related information and resources. Smart Commute also help with advocacy with local transit agency in improving transit schedules and routes for workplaces to provide a better transit experience for their employees. For Indy, taking transit means catching up on his latest reads:


“I read a book. A 45-minute subway ride with little-to-no cell signal means that books are a huge lifesaver for passing the time. I didn't use to be an avid reader, but bringing my Kindle with me every day on the subway gives me the opportunity to go through all the books I've been meaning to read.

Kindle is a lifesaver.”


Indy embodies all the qualities of a sustainable superstar, and his workplace AMD, is a Smart Commute MRH Workplace with excellent programs, amenities, and infrastructure nearby that is supportive of sustainable commuting. 

With 1,700 employees, interns and contractors, AMD was awarded the Platinum Designation in the 2017 Smart Commute Workplace Designation Program, illustrating their commitment to sustainable transportation and creating lasting commuter behaviour change with their employees. Some of the great amenities AMD offers s that encourage workplace employees to commute sustainably include electric vehicle charging stations, underground designated carpool spots, mobile and flex work hours, and cycling facilities. A bus stop serviced by York Region Transit is also located nearby, a mere 2-minute walk from the office. Additionally, AMD offers Smart Commute resources, such as the Emergency Ride Home Program and Smart Commute Tool information, to their workplace community. 

Having an encouraging workplace culture and the willingness to try a sustainable mode of transportation can make all the difference in creating lasting commuter behaviour change. Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill would like to thank Indy Zhao for submitting his story, and AMD for continuing to champion a strong Smart Commute Workplace program to encourage sustainable commute options.