As the TTC continues to field complaints about overcrowding on many of its routes, the transit agency has begun implementing its $3 million plan to increase service on key corridors and to rebrand its express bus network.
“It’s about speeding up trips on the surface routes, so speeding up the trip times on buses, and reducing the overcrowding,” TTC spokesperson Stuart Green told Global News.
“Those are the two most common things that we hear about: more frequent service and less crowded vehicles. This allows us to address both of those.”
READ MORE: Overcrowding relief coming to TTC bus routes
As of the first week of September, the 23 Dawes, 29 Dufferin, 36 Finch West, 37 Islington, 43 Kennedy, 54 Lawrence East, 63 Ossington, 72 Pape, 79 Scarlett Road, 84 Sheppard West, 85 Sheppard East, 88 South Leaside, 100 Flemindon Park, 102 Markham, 113 Danforth, 134 and 134C Progress, and 165 Weston Road North routes will see boosts in service.
In October, the 11 Bayview, 24 Victoria Park, 25 Don Mills, 29 Dufferin, 39 Finch East, 52 Lawrence West, 54 Lawrence East, 63 Ossington, 89 Weston, 95 York Mills, 102 Markham Road, 109 Ranee, 112 West Mall, 129 McCowan North and 131 Nugget will receive additional service.
With the introduction of six new express routes (902 Markham Road, 913 Progress and 937 Islington in September and 929 Dufferin, 952 Lawrence West and 989 Weston in October), the TTC said it will be changing all of its remaining express routes to be branded as a part of a 900-series.
“There are about 30 surface routes that will see increased capacity through additional buses in the peak periods. Then we’ve got the express routes which will sort of speed up your trip by virtue of stopping at fewer stops. Some of these are routes that already exist, but there are new routes,” Green said.
“The express network becomes sort of its own brand. So you’ll see on the bus poles and in the system maps green lines indicating where an express route runs and where the stops are.”
Green said riders on the Line 1 subway should see changes with the addition of two trains during peak periods, added service in northwest Toronto in the evenings and nights, and redeployed crowd management staff at Bloor-Yonge and St. George stations.
Streetcar riders along King Street will see streamlined service in the fall. Green said the TTC is discontinuing its 514 Cherry line in favour of creating two new branches. One branch will run between Broadview Station and Dufferin Loop and the second will run between Dundas West station and Cherry Street. He said the move increases use of 504 King streetcars and should help reduce short turns.
“It means better service for people on King Street without eliminating any service to the Distillery District and Dufferin,” he said.
Earlier this year after multiple high-profile incidents, Forum Research polled 977 Toronto voters over several days and found that while 66 per cent of respondents said they are satisfied with the transit system, that number went down when riders used the service more frequently. The poll found 91 per cent of respondents experienced some form of overcrowding.
— With files from Erica Vella