Public transit ferried some extra passengers, but highways in the Greater Toronto Area seemed as busy as usual Monday as the city proclaimed its eighth annual Car Free Day.

"Yes, there seems to be more people riding Go trains and buses today," said Ed Shea, manager of corporate communications for Go Transit.

Shea said ridership has increased enough to be noticeable for the past two or three years on Car Free Day, which is held in communities around the world.

The Toronto Transit Commission said it expects to see a bit of a jump in the number of people taking the subway and buses this year.

But TTC spokesman Mike Detoma said there are so many variables on a day-to-day basis that they won't be able to tally the numbers until late next week.

However, Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Dave Woodford said traffic on GTA expressways was just as busy as usual.

Woodford said he doesn't think Car Free Day was well publicized and most drivers were unaware of it.

"I just heard it this morning. I was already in the car," he said, adding that was probably the case for a lot of people.

About 1,500 communities mark the day on Sept. 22 to raise awareness about the environmental hazards of car use. People are encouraged to leave their cars at home and use alternative ways of getting around.

Mayor David Miller kicked off this year's festivities in downtown Toronto, where the Sierra Club's Ontario branch hosted a celebration that featured live music and displays on sustainable and alternative transportation.

In Montreal, commuters were given extra encouragement to leave their cars at home as several downtown streets were closed to traffic.