August 29, 2017 10:25 am
Updated: August 29, 2017 11:59 am

Toronto moving ahead with plan to expand TTC express bus routes

More express buses are being added to TTC routes following a spike in ridership. Mark Carcasole explains.

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The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is moving ahead with a plan to expand express bus routes across the city.

Mayor John Tory told reporters during a press conference at Victoria Park station on Tuesday that ridership numbers have exceeded expectations after the TTC added new express routes last year.

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“The 24E Victoria Park express was projected to have 4,200 rides in its first year,” Tory said. “The actual ridership was 6,300 rides. It’s performing 160 per cent better than expected.”

The mayor maintains the number one transit priority is to get Toronto residents moving around the city as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

“It is clear that in almost every case, commuters take advantage of express routes when they’re offered,” he said.

READ MORE: TTC eyes new express bus routes, ‘two-tiered’ system to enhance transit service

The TTC began a review of express bus routes in 2015 and in 2016, city officials approved a $95 million investment to enhance the service.

“This plan to expand the network will bring short, medium term, and long-term options to TTC riders,” TTC Chair Josh Colle said on Tuesday.

“The board has now also approved a 10-year strategy to further enhance express bus service… with improvements to existing routes beginning very soon and new routes to come in the coming years.”

Colle said phase one of the plan would include redeploying existing articulated buses on certain express routes, including all-door boarding on the Airport Rocket.

READ MORE: Expanded TTC express bus service promises to make commuting easier

Phase two includes new express routes on Lawrence West, Islington, Weston Road, Dufferin and Markham Road.

Express routes already in operation on Keele, Steeles, Steeles East, Sheppard West, Sheppard East, University of Toronto Scarborough Rocket, Wilson and York Mills, will also be enhanced.

Phase three of the plan will be to add more routes in the coming years.

According to the TTC’s three-year Express Bus Network Study, the net operating cost to implement the express bus network is approximately $13.1 million per year once the plan has been fully implemented and ridership fully matures.

It will cost the city an additional $34.2 million to procure 38 articulated buses to implement the plan.

The TTC currently operates express services on 24 bus routes during peak hours from Monday to Friday.

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

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