TTC marks its 31 billionth ride since it was established in 1921

Long-time rider James White of Toronto was randomly selected to represent the customer who made the 31 billionth trip on the TTC.

Long-time rider James White gets a year's worth of complimentary monthly passes

Long-time rider James White, right, seen here with TTC Chair Josh Colle and CEO Andy Byford, was randomly selected to represent TTC's 31 billionth customer. (Keith Burgess/CBC News)

James White is just one of hundreds of thousands of people who ride the TTC every day, but he'll be able to use it for free for the next year, now that the city's transit system has designated him as its 31 billionth rider.

White was given a year's worth of complimentary passes at a ceremony in Osgoode Station Wednesday, after the TTC randomly selected him for the honour. 

TTC Chair Josh Colle and CEO Andy Byford presented White were there to present him with the gift.

White, who went to university in London, England, thinks the TTC compares favourably to the British capital's transit system.

"As in London, the TTC here helps us get around to important places, to all the attractions, so it's great," he said.

"I am pleased to celebrate this milestone in TTC's history as we surpass the 31 billion ride mark," Colle said during the ceremony.

The TTC, which has the third largest ridership rate of any transit system in all of North America — after Mexico City and New York City — estimates it carries 500 million riders a year.

The system had a record 538 million rides in 2016, although that was 15 million trips fewer than its target.

The TTC expects 2017 to be another record-breaking year.