Toronto

Service improvements coming to 61 TTC bus routes

Mayor John Tory revealed a plan Sunday to improve service on bus routes across Toronto, as well as seven new overnight routes.

Seven new overnight routes to be introduced in the fall

As part of the upgraded services, seven new overnight bus routes will be introduced in the fall. (Karen Stintz/Twitter)

Service improvements could be coming to 61 bus routes across Toronto, Mayor John Tory revealed Sunday. 

The improvements are necessary to address growing ridership during off-peak hours and increasing demands on the public transit system as a whole, according to Tory. 

Flanked by TTC CEO Andy Byford and TTC chair Josh Colle, Tory said that 43 routes will see additional services during off-peak hours. There will also be seven new overnight bus routes and more overnight buses running. 

"A big city never sleeps and that has to be reflected in the transit system," he said, adding that about five million people ride overnight buses annually. 

Most of the improvements on those 43 routes are in fact the restoration of services cut during Coun. Rob Ford's tenure as mayor. Tory said he did not fully appreciate the extent of Ford's cutbacks and the impact they had on public transit users, especially those in suburban areas. 

The TTC board will consider the plan on May 27. Pending approval from the board, improvements will begin rolling out in September. The money to pay for the additional services will come from the $90 million allocated to transit improvements in the city's 2015 budget. 

Reducing poverty

When the changes are fully implemented, nearly 99 per cent of residents will live within a 15-minute walk of overnight bus service. 

Tory stressed that the new overnight routes and increased services is a key element of the city's poverty reduction strategy. More people will be connected to employment opportunities he said.

"The ability to move in this city is fundamental to economic activity," Tory said.

The TTC is also currently awaiting a delivery of 50 new buses, which Byford said are desperately needed to address peak-hour shortages across the city and improve the efficiency of Toronto's public transit network. 

While taking questions from reporters after the announcement, Tory mused about bettering Sunday transit service —including the possibility of subway trains running earlier. He said during the Pan Am Games in July, subways will run at earlier hours, though he did not specify what time they will actually begin. 

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