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TTC launches five new express bus routes

Our big city cannot wait for SmartTrack to come or evolve, so TTC is showing some initiative and launches new routes, smartly.

Just like the best solution is not always subways, when new buses are introduced, they don’t necessarily have to be express. Here’s the new article:

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.

“An express bus is a nice overlay to a local service. When we started to run the Finch Rocket we found about half of people transferred across to that service. So rather than having the 40,000 people a day on the local route, now we have 20,000 people a day on the local route and 20,000 people a day on the express route,” he said.

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.

The five new TTC routes are:

  • 199 Finch Rocket: This route already exists but it is being enhanced with two new branches. The 199A bus will continue to provide weekday express service and, daytime and early evening trips on the weekend and holidays between Scarborough Centre and Finch Station. The new 199B will run between Scarborough Centre, York University and Finch Station during the week days and early evenings. The 199C will run express between Finch Station and Morningside Heights during the weekday rush.
  • 185 Don Mills Rocket: This service will provide expedited trip times for Flemingdon Park residents heading to Pape Station and Steeles Ave.
  • 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.
  • 24E Victoria Park Express: This commuter service will run from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. between Victoria Park Station and Steels Ave. It will be a branch of the 24 Victoria Park bus. There’s no individual points but there are enough people who could benefit from better journey times.
  • 186 Wilson Rocket: This will be a daytime, weekday route only designed to speed the trip between York Mills Station and Humber College’s north campus. It replaces the 96E Wilson Express bus.

The $3.4 million net cost 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.

Ride the rocket!

Sources / More info: tstar


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