The TTC is finally restoring pre-pandemic service after almost two years of packed buses
It's been close to two years since anyone had a normal commute on the TTC, but that's about to change, the transit agency announcing the long-awaited restoration of the transit network to pre-pandemic service levels on Wednesday morning.
Starting on Sunday, Feb. 13, the TTC will begin the gradual process of bringing routes back to pre-2020 capacity levels after cuts were made early in the pandemic. It's a process expected to take several months, though riders may notice changes as early as this weekend when the first 17 routes in the restoration are improved with increased service or reliability.
The TTC was forced to prioritize service on specific routes and cut back on others during the pandemic, leading to overcrowded vehicles and customer complaints. The situation only grew worse in November, when service had to be further adjusted due to the agency's vaccine mandate deadline and subsequent reduction in staff availability.
"We have worked throughout the pandemic to protect TTC service, to make sure increased service was implemented on routes that needed it most, to freeze transit fares for riders, and to make sure that revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19 were met with unprecedented financial support from the federal and provincial governments in 2020 and 2021." said Mayor John Tory.
The routes that will see service upgrades on Sunday are:
• 8 Broadview
• 9 Bellamy
• 12 Kingston Rd
• 20 Cliffside
• 22 Coxwell
• 42 Cummer
• 45 Kipling
• 50 Burnhamthorpe
• 56 Leaside
• 57 Midland
• 61 Avenue Rd North
• 78 St Andrews
• 161 Rogers Rd
• 168 Symington
• 300 Bloor-Danforth overnight bus
• 501 L/H Queen (replacement bus)
• 925 Don Mills Express
"Going forward, the TTC will continue to respond to the needs of our riders by increasing service levels in line with demand, while prioritizing our busiest routes across the network," said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson.
Still, the mayor has voiced concern about funding for a critically-cash-strapped TTC, stating that "Toronto – and many other municipalities - are working hard right now to secure continued support for the TTC for this year from the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario since ridership levels are still well below normal."
The mayor is clear that although the transit network has "not yet received the committed support we need in 2022, we are proceeding with these transit service increases now because we are confident that the other governments share our commitment to a strong and robust TTC."
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