‘Relief kits’ to be handed out amid TTC board meeting to address crowding on subway

Click to play video: 'TTC board looks for ways to ease overcrowded Line 1 subway commutes' TTC board looks for ways to ease overcrowded Line 1 subway commutes
WATCH ABOVE: The TTC board took a closer look at ways to fix the overcrowding Line 1 users are confronted with daily. It falls on the same day transit advocates doled out overcrowding kits to bring awareness to the issue. Shallima Maharaj has the story – Jan 18, 2018

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

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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.”

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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