Toronto island ferries

TTC wants to take control of the Toronto Island ferries

In an effort to be more like London, Toronto's transit commission will explore the idea of taking control over everything from taxi permits and road tolls to the island ferry system.

The TTC board approved two motions during a meeting at City Hall on Tuesday that aim to both integrate and better coordinate the process of moving people around Toronto.

"Moving people through our city in the most seamless, effective manner requires greater integration of the various modes of transportation that people use every day," reads a report from TTC Board chair Josh Colle.

Colle writes that, under an "expanded, unified organization," the TTC would potentially manage all of the following:

  • Maintenance and operations of existing transit, wheel-trans, & ferry services
  • Licensing & permits for taxis, rideshare & bike share, and car-share services
  • Maintenance, operations, and administration of Toronto's Bike Share program
  • Toronto Parking Authority and its associated responsibilities • Administration, operations, and policymaking related to future road pricing
  • Operate additional transit lines/services not owned or operated by the TTC (i.e. Eglinton Crosstown)

TTC Board Vice Chair Alan Heisey noted in a report of his own that the transit agency was actually responsible for running the Toronto Island ferry services up until 1962, when it was taken over by the city.

He also writes that it's common in other parts of the world for one agency to operate and regulate public transit, as well as other modes of transportation under one roof.

"For example, Transport for London operates an integrated service which includes underground and surface public transit, passenger boat services, public bike share, and taxi regulation."

It's hard to say at this point what the impact would be of letting the TTC manage road tolls, the ferries, permits for taxis, bikeshare and carshare services — which is why they're studying the idea further.

The motions approved this week only authorize the CEO and City Manager to comprise and deliver a report on how best to create an integrated mobility agency in Toronto.

So don't go rage-tweeting at the TTC because your ferry to Hanlan's is late again... yet.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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