A non-profit Toronto transit advocacy group is mobilizing its followers in the hopes of convincing three levels of government to fund a Line 1 subway relief line to tackle overcrowding.
TTCRiders will distribute “Overcrowding Relief Kits” to commuters at King Station on Thursday morning which will not only include a crossword puzzle and a snack, but step-by-step instructions on how a rider can help their push for a new line to be completed by 2031.
“We know that transit riders are being sardined on the Yonge line and so we want to do something nice for folks but also to take action.” TTCRiders executive director Shelagh Pizey-Allen told 640 Toronto, “The Yonge line is already dangerously overcrowded as it is and it’s only gonna get worse.”
LISTEN: TTCRiders Executive director Shelagh Pizey-Allen talks with Global News Radio 640 Toronto
The action comes on the same day the TTC board will assemble for a regular January meeting which acknowledges crowding issues on the Yonge-University line.
A report from the TTC chief Mike Palmer, to be presented on Thursday, confirms Line 1 as the busiest of any transit line carrying around 450,000 customers per day, and that number continues to grow, “and exceeds scheduled capacity south of Bloor Station.”
It points to an additional 50,000 residents residing within a 10-minute walk of Yonge subway stations north of Bloor since 2001 and a 40 per cent increase in population in the downtown core as primary causes for capacity issues.
Since the implementation of the open-gangway cars in 2014, the TTC has added two additional trains during the morning rush, multiple schedule adjustments, and the installation of an aging signal system to improve service.
At present, the TTC says a customer awareness campaign has reduced incidents involving emergency alarms, while the use of gap trains which are called into action during northbound service disruptions have alleviated many southbound trips.
Further options, like “congestion fare” pricing offering a reduced fair outside of peak hours, short-turning trains north of Yonge and adding buses will require additional investment from governments.
TTCRiders is also planning another demonstration on the Jan. 30, characterized as a “Transit Day of Action.” The event is set to address overcrowding, unaffordable fares and unreliable service.