Mayor willing to add more trains to help ease overcrowding on Line 1

Toronto Mayor John Tory is prepared to add more trains to the subway lines as the city grapples with historic overcrowding, especially on the Line 1 subway.

Up to 30,000 commuters travel south of Bloor-Yonge station during the morning rush

Mayor John Tory says he is willing to add more trains to the subway to help ease overcrowding. (Grant Linton/CBC News)

Toronto Mayor John Tory says he is prepared to add more trains to the subway lines as the city grapples with "historical" overcrowding, especially on Line 1.

A newly released report includes alarming statistics about congestion on the Yonge Street portion of Line 1. Tory said he would not be hampered by budget constraints in fixing the problem.

"When we made the initial investment in our first budget, we made the investment, this administration under my leadership, to make sure we can put extra trains onto the subway lines to try to help with the crowding situation," the mayor said Thursday at a news conference for an unrelated issue.

"And I can assure you, if there is any room technically within the safety constraints of the existing signal system that we could add more trains, then that will be done," Tory said, adding that "budget will not be an issue when it comes to adding trains."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Toronto Mayor John Tory and other dignitaries cut the ribbon on the new Line 1 subway extension in December. (Nicole Martin/CBC)

The report, presented Thursday to the TTC board, overcrowding on Line 1 has reached "historical maximums" during morning rush hour.

The TTC estimates that between 28,000 and 30,000 commuters travel south of Bloor-Yonge station every hour during the peak of the morning rush. At the same time, most trains arriving at that station are 100 per cent full.

The report also indicates the subway is now at or near capacity for 90 minutes every morning.

"The problem at the moment is more of a technical constraint as to how many trains you can have in the absence of a new signal system, which will be ready soon, but not yet," Tory said.

"It's been a multi-year programme and its very complicated ... but it's going to make a big difference when it comes  ... 10 to 15 per cent in terms of the capacity because you can put the trains closer together," Tory added.

The mayor said his administration has an enviable record of investing in transit and there are more projects on the go now than ever before at any one time in the city's history.

A recently opened extension on Line 1 pushes the subway 8.6 kilometres to the new Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, and adds about 13 minutes of travel time along the route. Total travel time from the Vaughan station to Union Station downtown is 42 minutes.