Olivia Chow wants to boost TTC bus service by 10%

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow wants to boost bus service in Toronto by 10 per cent.
Chow used a bus stop at Jane and Wilson to announce a part of her transit plan. (Amanda Margison/CBC)

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow wants to boost bus service in Toronto by 10 per cent and inject $15 million into the beleaguered transit system.

Chow made the announcement Thursday morning at a bus stop at the corner of Jane Street and Wilson Avenue.

She wants the TTC to increase rush hour capacity by 10 per cent on its busiest routes using buses.

“Rob Ford says he stands up for the little guy,” said Chow. “That’s news to people on the bus."

She stressed buses to take the crowding out of the existing routes, so riders aren't "packed like sardines" and there is "more comfortable, more frequent service.”

Chow said the emphasis on the bus routes was because 60 per cent of riders use a bus at some point in their trip. 

She promised to invest $15 million a year to improve bus service on high-traffic routes.

She said this focus on transit differentiates her from her competition in the mayoral race.

“Ford and Tory have no plan to improve TTC service today. No specifics about how they’ll pay for their faraway ideas. And no specifics about the true cost of underground rail to Scarborough,” she said.

Chow says the $15 million — which would go toward bus maintenance, operating costs and hiring new drivers — would come from the existing budget as well as property tax increases based on inflation rates.

The Toronto Transit Commission plans on retiring old buses when new ones are delivered, but Chow says keeping the old ones on the road would mean quicker service.

Chow would not commit to a downtown relief subway line right now because she says there is no clear, realistic proposal of how it will be funded.

With files from Canadian Press