January 24, 2024 (Toronto, ON)
Volunteers dressed up as marathoners received medals in an awards ceremony, the week before a report will be debated at the Executive Committee about Toronto’s plan to install more bus lanes. Advocates say the plan should move more quickly and are disappointed that Steeles West is at the bottom of the list.
“It’s time to put the ‘rapid’ in RapidTO,” said How-Sen Chong, Toronto Environmental Alliance climate campaigner. “There’s no excuse to delay the next four priority routes of RapidTO: Steeles West, Finch East, Lawrence East, and Dufferin. We need studies on these four routes to be complete in 2024. And it means that we need paint on the ground by the end of the year.”
The RapidTO Surface Transit Network Plan report being debated January 30, 2024 proposes moving ahead with studies and consultation along three bus routes – Finch East, Lawrence East, and Dufferin – but does not propose clear timelines for implementation of bus lanes or other transit priority measures. According to the report, 70% of all rides on the TTC include time on a surface route. According to the TTC’s 2024 Budget Note, surface routes—both buses and streetcars—are the least reliable portions of Toronto’s transit system.
“As ridership recovers from the pandemic, it is vital we provide reliable and fast transit options for Torontonians who take the bus every day”, said Josh Matlow, Councillor and TTC Commissioner. “Thousands of residents across several under-serviced neighbourhoods and York University students rely on the Steeles bus. The current plan leaves all of them stuck in traffic. I will be working closely with local Councillor Anthony Perruzza to finally get transit moving on Steeles Ave.”
“Bus lanes on Steeles West will help staff and students get to class on time and improve access to York University,” said Ersan Ozon from Regenesis at York University, who accepted a bronze medal in the #60 Steeles West jersey. “Bus lanes are good for everyone because they mean less congestion and pollution on our streets.”
“Whenever I need to take the Dufferin bus from Parkdale to Wilson Station, it is painfully slow,” said York University student and TTCriders volunteer Elton Campbell, who won gold in the #29 Dufferin jersey. “I was not surprised to learn how slow the Dufferin bus is, but I am surprised that City Council is not planning to move faster to make quick improvements to Toronto buses,” said Campbell.
“Making the Dufferin bus more reliable will help the tens of thousands of people who travel on Dufferin every day to commute and get around our community. It’s time to move quickly on the design and consultation needed to implement RapidTO,” said Councillor Alejandra Bravo, Ward 9 (Davenport).
“A bus lane on Jane Street is years overdue,” said Rebeena Subadar from Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, who accepted silver in the #35 Jane jersey. “Residents along Jane Street have been consulted again and again, but we have not seen action. We are calling on City Council to speed up their plan to give buses priority in Toronto, and make sure that bus lanes do not come at the expense of accessibility: Listen to the community about keeping the bus stops that we rely on.”
Ranking of Toronto’s slowest bus routes (where RapidTO improvements were promised):
Speed (PM peak travel time in peak direction)
Link to EX11.8 - RapidTO: Surface Transit Network Plan: https://secure.toronto.ca/council/agenda-item.do?item=2024.EX11.8
Link to graphic of slowest RapidTO routes: https://bit.ly/rapidTO
Data source for average speed calculations: https://cdn.ttc.ca/-/media/Project/TTC/DevProto/Documents/Home/Public-Meetings/Board/2020/July_14/Reports/5_Bus_Lane_Implementation_Plan.pdfMedia Contact: Shelagh Pizey-Allen, [email protected],