Just how busy are the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) subway stations?
Based on the TTC’s latest available statistics for annual ridership in 2018, Toronto’s busiest subway stations rival the ridership of the busiest stations on the New York City (NYC) subway, while a number of stations see just a trickle in ridership.
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Unsurprisingly, most of the busiest stations are along Line 1 Yonge-University, with the two Bloor-Yonge platforms — the interchange between Line 1 and Line 2 Bloor-Danforth — being the busiest on the entire subway system, if boardings generated by transfers are included.
With 204,630 average weekday boardings for the Line 1 platform and 196,460 average weekday boardings for the Line 2 platform at Bloor-Yonge, both stations rival the average weekday boardings of the NYC subway’s Grand Central Station (155,345) and Times Square (204,017), according to MTA data.
In contrast, the busiest stations on the Montreal Metro and Vancouver SkyTrain are Berri-Uqam Station (37,000 average per weekday) and Waterfront Station (39,000 average per weekday), respectively.
Based on a Metrolinx report, in 2015, Line 1 was running with a maximum peak hour capacity of 28,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd), which is at least 11% below the capacity of 31,200 pphpd needed to meet demand.
The recent introduction of new larger trains and automatic train control, which allows trains to safely run more frequently, will allow the TTC to increase Line 1’s capacity to 36,000 pphpd by 2021.
The new train fleet and automation will provide much-needed relief, but a long-term solution for Line 1 still depends on a relief rail transit route, whether it be the Relief Line or the recently-announced Ontario Line by the Doug Ford government.
Based on the initial business case for the Ontario Line, it is estimated the Relief Line as an extension of existing TTC subway infrastructure could create a practical capacity of 33,000 to 44,000 pphpd, while a separate, fully-automated subway system — similar to SkyTrain — could generate a capacity of between 29,300 and 34,000 pphpd.
But the Ontario Line has far more ridership potential than the Relief Line, with an estimated 389,000 boardings per day versus 206,000 boardings per day by 2041.
The Relief Line was envisioned to be a 7.5-km-long, eight-station extension of the subway, while the Ontario Line’s concept stretches a length of 15.5 kms with 15 stations reaching new and larger service areas.
The construction cost of the Relief Line is estimated at between $6.2 billion and $7.5 billion, and the cost for the Ontario Line is between $9.5 billion and $11.4 billion.
Here is the full rundown of the busiest and least busiest TTC subway stations for average weekday ridership (Note: Line 3 Scarborough RT is classified separately):
Top 10 busiest TTC subway stations in 2018
- Bloor-Yonge (Line 1 Yonge-University): 204,630
- Bloor-Yonge (Line 2 Bloor-Danforth): 196,460
- Union (Line 1 Yonge-University): 143,640
- St. George (Line 1 Yonge-University): 130,850
- St. George (Line 2 Bloor-Danforth): 125,180
- Finch (Line 1 Yonge-University): 99,350
- Kennedy (Line 2 Bloor-Danforth): 80,070
- Sheppard-Yonge (Line 1 Yonge-University): 79,720
- Dundas (Line 1 Yonge-University): 73,560
- Eglinton (Line 1 Yonge-University): 68,520
- St. Andrew (Line 1 Yonge-University): 57,480
- Kipling (Line 2 Bloor-Danforth): 49,340
- Queen’s (Line 1 Yonge-University): 48,700
- Queen’s Park (Line 1 Yonge-University): 46,470
- Sheppard West (Line 1 Yonge-University): 41,600
Top 10 least used TTC subway stations in 2018
- Downsview Park (Line 1 Yonge-University): 2,520
- Bessarion (Line 4 Sheppard): 2,990
- Highway 407 (Line 1 Yonge-University): 3,440
- Summerhill (Line 1 Yonge-University): 5,710
- Chester (Line 2 Bloor-Danforth): 5,800
- Leslie (Line 4 Sheppard): 5,990
- Glencairn (Line 1 Yonge-University): 6,940
- Old Mill )Line 2 Bloor-Danforth): 7,750
- Rosedale (Line 1 Yonge-University): 7,770
- Dupont (Line 1 Yonge-University): 8,500
- Bayview (Line 4 Sheppard): 8,530
- Castle Frank (Line 2 Bloor-Danforth): 9,760
- Greenwood (Line 2 Bloor-Danforth): 11,080
- Donlands (Line 2 Bloor-Danforth): 11,250
- Museum (Line 1 Yonge-University): 11,840
Line 3 Scarborough (Scarborough RT) station ridership in 2018
- Kennedy: 31,120
- Scarborough Centre: 23,050
- Lawrence East: 7,930
- McCowan: 3,860
- Midland: 2,440
- Ellesmere: 1,770
Combined average weekday station ridership usage in 2018
- Line 1 Yonge-University: 799,680
- Line 2 Bloor-Danforth: 527,640
- Line 3 Scarborough: 35,090
- Line 4 Sheppard: 50,150