TTC set to begin service on Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension Sunday

Click to play video: 'Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension ready to open Sunday' Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension ready to open Sunday
WATCH ABOVE: Officials gathered for a grand opening Friday morning to celebrate the opening of six new stations on Line 1 this weekend – Dec 15, 2017

After more than a decade of debate, planning and construction, the TTC is ready to open the new six-stop Line 1 subway extension that will see trains go to Vaughan from north-end Toronto.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Kathleen Wynne were among the high-profile dignitaries participating in a formal ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning, two days before trains begin servicing the new Downsview Park, Finch West, York University, Pioneer Village, Highway 407 and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre subway stations.

READ MORE: Behind-the-scenes look at the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension

The $3.18-billion, 8.6-kilometre Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) into York Region marks the first time a TTC rapid transit line extends beyond the City of Toronto’s borders.

LISTEN: Rhonda Lenton, president of York University joins The Morning Show on 640 Toronto

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However, getting to finish line hasn’t been smooth.

TTC staff and contractors had to work in overdrive after issues with contractors and design changes necessitated a project reset back in March 2015. The TYSSE was two years behind schedule at that point and it needed an extra $150 million to get the job done. TTC CEO Andy Byford committed to opening the extension by the end of 2017.

READ MORE: $150M needed to finish delayed Spadina subway extension by end of 2017

Joanna Kervin, director of third party, planning and property for the TTC, has been working on the TYSSE project since the early years. She told Global News Thursday afternoon the countdown to the opening has been a combination of “excitement and anxiety.”

“It’s almost unreal in some ways that we’re finally here, but it’s so much better than I could have imagine since I started working here,” Kervin said, adding the station architecture and design has been a highlight.

“The product that we’re delivering to the public on Sunday is a tribute to the collective talent of those thousands of people who have been able to make their contributions and create this amazing product.”

READ MORE: TTC’s Downsview station to be renamed Sheppard West, Line 1 subway extension work continues

Over the past few weeks, Kervin said the TTC has been operating “ghost trains” on the extension in preparation of service and making minor adjustments.

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She also said final fire and building inspections have recently occurred. Kervin said the final safety approvals allowing passengers to use the stations were signed on Tuesday by Byford.

So what’s left to be done? Kervin said over the next two days, cleaners and maintenance workers are at each of the stations doing final clean-up, checking to ensure all signs are in place and inspecting for minor deficiencies.

Changes coming to station operations, bus routes

Kervin said one of the things riders using the TYSSE will notice is the presence of customer service agents, a TTC modernization initiative that will see collector booths across the subway system closed over the next year. The agents, armed with tablet computers, will be walking throughout the stations and liaising with customers.

The shifting of collectors in booths to agents in the station means customers will need to pay with cash or a PRESTO fare card. The TTC said riders will not be able to buy Metropasses, tickets or tokens at any of the TYSSE stations. Kervin noted the stations will have new PRESTO card dispensing machines for those who don’t have a card.

With the introduction of subway service, several bus routes will see changes. For those travelling to York University, the TTC will be eliminating the 196 York University Rocket and buses will no longer service the York University Commons. Click here to see if your route will be impacted.

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TTC hosting open house before new service begins

For those looking to get a sneak peak before service begins, the TTC will be hosting an open house at Finch West station on Saturday between 1 and 5 p.m.

The TTC said the first northbound and southbound trains on Sunday will leave Sheppard West and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station at around 8 a.m.

TYSSE by the numbers

– 1.75 million cubic metres of materials excavated (enough to fill the Rogers Centre)
– 400,000 cubic metres of concrete used (equal to 10 CN Towers)
– 70,000 tonnes of rebar used
– approximately 14 minutes to travel between Sheppard West and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre stations
Source: Toronto Transit Commission

New TTC subway station locations

Downsview Park
Address: 80 Carl Hall Rd., Toronto (vehicular access via. west entrance off of Sheppard Avenue West)
Nearest major intersection: Chesswood Drive and Sheppard Avenue West
On-site vehicle parking?: No
Transit connections: GO train platforms open on Dec. 30, Bus service accessible on Sheppard Avenue West via. sidewalk

Finch West
Address: 3950 Keele St., Toronto
Nearest major intersection: Keele Street and Finch Avenue West
On-site vehicle parking?: Yes (347 spaces)
Transit connections: TTC buses servicing inside and outside of station

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York University
Address: 120 Ian Macdonald Blvd., Toronto
Nearest major intersection: Keele Street and The Pond Road
On-site vehicle parking?: No
Transit connections: GO Transit, YRT, Viva and Brampton Zum buses

Pioneer Village
Address: 2800 Steeles Ave. W., Vaughan (north entrance, vehicle parking) and 185 Northwest Gate, Toronto (south entrance, bus terminal)
Nearest major intersection: Jane Street and Steeles Avenue West
On-site vehicle parking?: Yes (1,881 spaces)
Transit connections: TTC and YRT/Viva buses, Wheel-Trans, and YRT Mobility Plus servicing bus terminal

Highway 407
Address: 7332 Jane St., Vaughan
Nearest major intersection: Jane Street and Highway 407
On-site vehicle parking?: Yes (583 spaces)
Transit connections: GO Transit and YRT buses

Vaughan Metropolitan Centre
Address: 3150 Highway 7, Vaughan
Nearest major intersection: Jane Street and Highway 7
On-site vehicle parking?: No
Transit connections: YRT and Viva buses, YRT Mobility Plus servicing outside of station

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