The TTC’S Downtown Express bus routes have seen a seven per cent increase in ridership over the last two years.
The Downtown Express routes make fewer stops and have limited service during peak periods in the morning and afternoon.
There are five downtown express bus routes:
- 141 Downtown/Mt Pleasant Express
- 142 Downtown/Avenue Road Express
- 143 Downtown/Beach Express
- 144 Downtown/Don Valley Express
- 145 Downtown/Humber Bay Express
But the rides cost an extra $2.70 on top of the regular fare – for a total of $5.70 per ride.
Is the extra bus fare worth it? Global News crews tested some of the downtown express routes during the morning rush hour.
I boarded the 95 westbound at Parkwoods Village Drive and Combermere Drive en route to York Mills Station. At the same stop, Global News intern, Jen Mulrine, hopped on the 144 Don Valley Downtown Express.
Our destination: Osgoode station at Queen Street and University Avenue.
Ten minutes into the commute, my bus had made it to Leslie and York Mills; just 3.6 kilometres away from Parkwoods Village.
Jen’s express bus however was heading onto the Don Valley Parkway – with fewer stops on her route, she had travelled 5 kilometres.
Watch video (May 29): Jennifer Palisoc tested two other express routes.
While Jen rode the highway, I was fighting through crowds at York Mills Station and crossing my fingers that I would be able to squeeze onboard the subway.
All the subway cars were full but I managed to squeak in. When riders say they feel like they’re packed in like sardines, they’re not kidding.
“It just gets packed,” one man said. “You suck in when you get on in the morning and it’s just crazy but there’s only one way to get down here so you got to do what you got to do.”
As my subway made stops along the Yonge-University-Spadina line, Jen was already getting off the 144 Don Valley Downtown Express at the bus stop at University Avenue and Richmond Street and walking to Osgoode Station.
By the time I arrived at Osgoode station and walked up the steps to meet her, Jen had been there awhile.
“I’ve been here half an hour” she said.
So was it worth it for her?
“It took me only 40 minutes to get here. 40 minutes on the dot. It went super smooth. Not busy at all…I would definitely pay the money,” Mulrine said.
In the end it took me an hour and ten minutes to get downtown using the regular route and subway compared to her 40 minutes, which was a direct bus ride.
However, commuter, Alecia Brown, points out the express bus isn’t always faster.
“If there’s traffic on the DVP you may get stuck.”
Some commuters say spending the extra bus fare makes a big difference in their day and can save an hour each day.
“It’s totally worth it,” Kay Singh Semper said. “It’s very efficient and convenient. I look for convenience because I have a very busy schedule.”