By the time the sun rises in April, the morning commute to work in Toronto is a blur.
But the new year has brought some major changes to Toronto’s commuting woes, including the arrival of the new streetcar, the arrival this week of the first new train in nearly 20 years, and the city’s most controversial project: the city has opened a new downtown subway station.
The Toronto Transit Commission announced Tuesday it has opened its first new subway station in more than a decade, and in the process has introduced a whole new set of commuting challenges.
The station is scheduled to open in the coming weeks, with the first trains arriving on the tracks in 2021.
But that’s not the only change in the transit system.
In the meantime, a choosy new subway has begun running in some parts of Toronto, and now ridership on that train is going up.
The TTC says the first subway service opened in 2021, but the new stations in 2018 and 2019 are a new kind of transit, in which trains travel along corridors that connect them to downtown Toronto.
That new network of stations, known as a rapid transit network, is expected to provide more than 200 new jobs.
The new stations are expected to offer more than 150 new jobs, with nearly all of them in the downtown core.
(CBC News)”This is an important new step in our plan to create a more efficient and reliable system for our transit ridership,” said TTC chair Josh Colle in a statement.
“We will continue to look for ways to increase our ridership.”
The new lines are expected at the stations that will be opened by 2021.
Riders will still be able to ride the TTC’s existing line on the old, downtown streetcar route, and they’ll still be limited to only six stops on that route, said TTC spokesman Brad Ross.
“The stations will be built to meet the requirements of a rapid-transit system, meaning we will have a new set number of stations on the streetcar network,” Ross said.
“And there will be an expanded station network, with new service levels.”
The TTC is also looking at a new line that would run from the Scarborough subway station at Bayview, through a major redevelopment of the area, and through the downtown Toronto area, said Ross.
The new lines would be built on the same land as the existing streetcar route.
Ross said the new subway lines are planned to be part of the citywide transit network.
The station openings are also being met with criticism from some riders.
“I’ve been riding this subway every day for nearly 20-plus years, so I have a pretty good idea of how it works, and I’m just curious as to why this is happening,” said commuter Jane Kelleher.
Kelleher said the change has made commuting difficult for her, especially during rush hour.
“When I got my TTC card, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is horrible, I’m in a bad place,'” she said.
Kelley said she used to go to the Scarborough station to catch the TTC, but now she’s trying to find a way to get to her job in the area without using the subway.
“We can’t just leave it there, so it’s kind of a bit of a shame that this is starting to happen, and that it’s happening to my neighbourhood, but I’m sure it’s something that will hopefully happen over time,” she said, adding that she’s still waiting for the subway line to reopen.
“But I don’t think I’ll be able wait any longer.”
The changes come on top of a year-long pilot project that’s trying out the idea of opening new subway stations in some of Toronto’s busiest areas.
TTC CEO Andy Byford says it’s part of a “long-term plan” to open the subway system to new riders.
The plan includes the creation of a new rapid transit corridor between Scarborough and Yorkville, the opening of the Scarborough-Scarborough subway station, and a new streetcar line connecting the two areas.
TTC CEO Andy Reid said the network of new stations will improve the reliability of the subway network, and allow the TTC to keep the line operating longer.
The mayor says he wants to see more rapid transit service in Toronto, especially in the GTA.
“It’s going to be good to have more rapid service in Scarborough, in the Greater Toronto Area,” he said.
“As a city, we have to make sure we’re getting the job done.”