July 13, 2017 7:24 pm
Updated: July 14, 2017 2:13 pm

St. Clair next Toronto transit route to get new streetcars; time-based transfers axed

The TTC's Bombardier Flexity low-floor light rail vehicle is pictured riding along Spadina Avenue, in Toronto on August 29, 2015.

Stephen C. Host / File / The Canadian Press

St. Clair is the next route to receive some of Toronto’s long-awaited new streetcars, the Toronto Transit Commission says.

The TTC says that the low-floor, air-conditioned light-rail transit vehicles will be introduced on the 512 St. Clair line on Sept. 3.

The route, which runs along St. Clair Avenue from Yonge Street to west of Keele Street, is expected to be exclusively serviced by the higher-capacity trains by early next year.

WATCH: Part of the TTC’s new streetcar fleet experiencing technical failures

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The TTC says the launch of new streetcars on St. Clair will mean the discontinuation of a long-running special transfer program exclusive to the route.

Unlike the one-way transfer system in place throughout the network, St. Clair streetcar riders are able to make multiple trips on one fare within a two-hour window.

“The time-based transfer was introduced on the 512 St. Clair route as a temporary measure in 2005 for customers and businesses during construction of the right-of-way,” the transit agency explained in a news release.

LISTEN: TTC spokesman Brad Ross joins the Morning Show on AM640

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To date, the TTC says it has received 40 of the 204 low-floor “Flexity” trains it agreed to purchase from Bombardier in a $1.2-billion deal struck in 2009.

Their rollout to replace the TTC’s aging streetcar fleet began in 2014 with the Spadina line and has been subject to years of delays and schedule revisions.

READ MORE: TTC board to do business with other rail providers in light of Bombardier delays

The system’s busiest streetcar route, the 504 King, is next in line to make the switch. The new trains are currently in use on King during weekends only.

TTC CEO Andy Byford’s July report said Bombardier “remains on track” to deliver the 70 vehicles the TTC was promised by the end of this year.

READ MORE: New TTC streetcars could be delayed again, missing 2019 deadline

“They (Bombardier) have confirmed with me that 70 is still the year-end target as per previous commitments but they have said to me that that figure is now challenging so I will keep you closely posted,” Byford said at a board meeting Wednesday.

At that meeting, the TTC board voted in favour of a motion to consider other companies for future contracts to build light-rail vehicles, “given the less-than-outstanding delivery record of our current supplier.”

With a file from Don Mitchell

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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