Toronto city council makes King Street Pilot permanent in landslide vote

Apr 16 2019, 3:27 pm

It’s official, the King Street Pilot is becoming a permanent addition in the city.

City council voted 22-3 Tuesday to make the King Street Pilot project permanent, giving streetcars priority along the stretch of Bathurst Street to Jarvis Street.

The pilot project, which launched November 2017, aims to improve transit reliability, speed, and capacity.

Mayor John Tory said, “today’s decision by council will ensure we can further build up and improve King Street into the excellent dedicated transit corridor that our city needs.”

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A previous report from the City found the neighbourhoods along King Street have experienced tremendous growth in the past ten years and will continue to grow in the future.

The project boosted weekday ridership by 16%, from 72,000 to 84,000 streetcar boardings per day.

The City report says the pilot resulted in faster and more predictable transit times, more people taking transit, along with improved efficiency and reliability of streetcar operations.

It also says that more people are now cycling on King, but that customer spending in the neighbourhoods has slightly decreased (0.8%) after the pilot was installed, with reductions primarily affecting the restaurant sector.

But overall, the City said that the King Street Pilot “has demonstrated, relatively quickly and cost-effectively, its ability to move people more efficiently on transit without compromising the broader transportation road network.”

Toronto transit advocates said this is a big win for TTC riders who have been waiting a long time for faster more reliable transit on King.