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Mayor Tory, TTC chair announce
$95-million expansion program

Toronto Mayor John Tory and the Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, Councillor Josh Colle, today announced that the City of Toronto intends to invest $95 million to significantly expand and enhance transit service in Toronto. The program would reduce wait times and crowding and make using the TTC more affordable for families by eliminating fares for children 12 years and under.

According to a City of Toronto news release, “TTC staff has been working very hard over the last several weeks to present options for a budget that includes new buses, storage” and re-instating service that City politicians agreed to cut in recent years. To help balance the TTC budget, Mayor Tory asked the City to increase the TTC’s subsidy to nearly $479 million, increasing its funds by $38 million more from 2014. Starting Sunday, March 1, the TTC will also increase all fares by 10 cent — except for cash fares. The higher fares will supply an additional $43 million in revenue to pay for the new services.

Assuming that the Toronto Transit Commission and City Council both approve the proposals to increase fares and expand services, later this year commuters can expect the TTC to:

  • restore all-day, everyday bus service that the City and TTC cut in 2011;
  • provide “ten-minute or better” bus and streetcar service on key routes Mondays to Fridays, Saturdays and holidays from 6 a.m. until 1 a.m. and from 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. Sundays;
  • reduce wait times and crowding during off-peak hours;
  • reduce wait times and crowding on 21 of the busiest routes during rush hours;
  • operate a “proof-of-payment” system and all-door boarding on all streetcar routes;
  • expand the express bus network, adding four new routes to a network that serves 34 million rides annually;
  • expand the “Blue Night” overnight network, adding 12 routes to the 22-route network that serves 4 million rides annually;
  • add as many as two more subway trains on the 1 Yonge - University and 2 Bloor - Danforth lines during rush hours;
  • improve route management to reduce short-turns, bunching and gapping of buses and streetcars;
  • add more resources to focus on subway reliability around signals, track and communications systems.

The program also includes 50 new buses and a temporary storage facility to allow the TTC to expand the express bus network, reduce wait times and crowding on some peak-period routes and have spare buses during maintenance.

Staff are developing a schedule for introducing new services, and restoring previous services. They’ll also provide financial details of the new services in a report for the February 2 meeting of the TTC’s board of directors, the Toronto Transit Commission.

Last August, TTC staff outlined many of these proposals in their report to the commission, “Opportunities to Improve Transit in Toronto”. You can read their report here. (.pdf)

City Council will finalize and approve its 2015 budget — including these proposals — in March.