There’s some relief coming to selected transit routes in Toronto.
The TTC is recommending more express bus routes at its upcoming board meeting on June 15.
According to the TTC, the Board will consider recommendations from a 2014 motion moved by Chair Josh Colle to find ways to provide faster, more reliable, and reasonably priced transit options.
“Given increasing wait times and crowding on many regular TTC bus routes, the implementation of new express routes along major arterial roads during the peak periods could provide an excellent option for riders at a fraction of the cost of building new transit infrastructure,” said Chair Colle in a release. “The more rapid and reliable service offered by an express route could also address our City’s congestion issues, attract more riders to the system and act as a bridge solution while other rapid transit solutions are developed.”
Express bus service operates during peak periods on weekdays along 24 bus routes, and 10 routes operate at off-peak times. The TTC says that these bus services are popular because of reduced travel times.
In the report heading to the TTC board next week, staff is recommending a 10-year, three-phase approach to enhancing express service.
First Phase: This would begin in 2018, and would re-deploy existing buses on certain express routes as vehicles become available, implementing all-door boarding on 192 Airport Rocket on a trial basis and continuing to work with City departments to install transit priority measures such as transit signal priority and queue jump lanes.
Second Phase: This would roll out in 2019 to 2021 and would see new and enhanced express bus routes from 24 to as many as 28 routes by the end of 2021. The improvements are scheduled to be made on 5 new and 8 existing routes, which include:
New Express Routes
Enhanced Express Routes
Sheppard West, west of Sheppard West Stn
Sheppard East, east of Midland Avenue
University of Toronto Scarborough Rocket
Third Phase: This would be looked at between 2022 and 2026, and would include 8 more routes pending further review to the first two phases.
The TTC says that once completely rolled out and ridership fully matures, the service will benefit nearly 70 million customer trips annually. As well, the annual net operating cost for the enhanced and expanded express bus network will be approximately $13.1 million by 2023.
TTC estimates that one in every six bus customers would use the expanded express bus network. Next year’s capital budget would call for the purchase of 38 buses, 17 buses in 2020 and 21 buses in 2021, costing $34.2 million in the 2018-2027 TTC Bus Fleet Plan.