New TTC express bus routes see more riders than anticipated

The TTC says their new express bus routes have been more successful than they anticipated.

4 of the 5 express bus routes introduced in March 2016 met or exceeded ridership expectations, TTC says

The new 24E Victoria Park Express route had 6,300 riders in its first year, which was over 150 per cent better than expected. (TTC)

Toronto Transit Commission says their new express bus routes have been more successful than anticipated.

Of the five new express routes that were added in March 2016 —  185 Don Mills Rocket, 199 Finch Rocket, 188 Kipling South Rocket, 24E Victoria Park Express, and 186 Wilson Rocket — four have either met or exceeded their ridership goals, Mayor John Tory and TTC Chair Josh Colle said in a press conference Tuesday morning.

The new 24E Victoria Park Express route was one of the most successful of the five launched. It performed over 60 per cent better than anticipated with 6,300 riders in its first year compared to the 4,200 projected riders.

The TTC estimates riders on that route can save seven minutes in their morning rush hour commute or 10 minutes in their afternoon rush hour commute.

Tory also used Tuesday's press conference to tout the city's $95 million investment in transit and some of the other recent enhancements to the TTC, including allowing children younger than 12 years old to ride for free, restoring previously cut routes and expanding operating hours.

"The number one priority for Toronto residents continues to be their ability to move around the city," Tory said. "We need a reliable transit system so people can get to work on time and get home faster to spend more time with their families."

The only route of the five to under perform was the 188 Kipling South rocket, which only had 3,400 riders compared to the projected 4,100. The TTC estimates riders would save four minutes on both morning and afternoon rush hour commutes on that route.

The transit authority has plans for a further expanded express bus network in the next ten years by enhancing existing routes and adding more.

It claims ridership on new routes usually takes up to three years to mature, with 75 per cent of the ridership being generated in the first year.

"Express route investments can deliver short-term results," Colle said.

"An enhanced express route network, which is fully and seamlessly integrated into the network [like Victoria Park] will help attract new riders."