Five new or enhanced express buses are expected to attract about 400,000 new riders this year and 1.1 million annually when they mature.
By: Tess Kalinowski Transportation reporter, Published Mon Jan 25 2016
The TTC is applying a traditional transit solution to speed trip times along some of its busiest routes while Toronto commuters set in for the long waits it’s going to take to build the new subways and LRTs promised by politicians. Five new or enhanced express buses are expected to attract about 400,000 new riders this year and 1.1 million annually when they mature.
The mostly suburban services will hit the streets March 27 and trim some trip times by about 20 per cent, says TTC chief customer officer Chris Upfold.
The five selected routes aren’t necessarily the busiest in the city. But they make sense because of the destinations they feed and the volume of riders.
In some cases busier routes don’t lend themselves to express service because there’s no room on the road.
“Dufferin is a much narrower road than the other roads we’re talking about. It is hard to get buses passing each other and that’s one of the reasons you get bunching on Dufferin. They can’t really leapfrog each other,” said Upfold. Whereas you can have a local service passed by an express bus without too much difficulty on Kipling or Victoria Park Aves.
The new express buses won’t cost the double fare that the TTC charges on its five existing downtown express routes, the 140 series of buses.
“Somebody could get on the local bus, go to an exchange point and get on an express bus,” said Upfold.
– 188 Kipling South Rocket: The service will operate Monday to Friday during the day to expedite trips between Kipling Station and the Lakeshore Campus of Humber College.
The $3.4 million net cost for the 5 new express bus routes is part of the TTC’s base budget, covered among $95 million in annual TTC service improvements announced last year. The TTC needed new vehicles to provide it.
Although TTC staff are doing a broader review of express service, it’s not clear how many more routes it can add given that the city hasn’t approved more funding, said spokesman Brad Ross. “New and enhanced express bus services we’re proposing for 2016 are over and above these five routes in our 2016 budget and that is something that the TTC board will need to discuss if we need to find savings elsewhere in the budget,” he said.