TTC to replace trains with a dedicated busway in a clear step backwards
After more than 37 years, the TTC's Line 3 Scarborough RT is coming apart at the seams, and a new report tabled to the transit agency board is officially recommending a long-discussed plan to demolish and replace the rapid transit route with buses until the future Scarborough Subway Extension enters service.
Opened in 1985 with what was then cutting-edge self-driving technology, the RT has been pushed into obsolescence despite multiple extensive overhauls to extend the life of the line and its trains, which are known for susceptibility to breakdowns, especially in snowy weather as witnessed in January.
Just over one year ago, the TTC Board approved a plan to eliminate service on Line 3 in 2023, directing staff to figure out a way to keep Scarborough moving until the Line 2 East Extension enters service, planned for 2030.
After a technical review, the TTC is officially recommending that trains cease service on Line 3 in the fourth quarter of 2023, with a plan to replace the RT with a bus route operating in a dedicated busway or bus-only road along a portion of the current RT's right-of-way.
NEW: TTC recommends converting a portion of the Scarborough RT right-of-way into a dedicated bus way, which it says will optimize service. RT is set to shut down next year, and won't be replaced by the Scarb subway extension until 2030 at the earliest. https://t.co/2s5OuL4Loe— Ben Spurr (@BenSpurr) April 7, 2022
Buses would operate on an exclusive TTC-only busway running between Kennedy Station and Ellesmere Station, with buses to then travel along Ellesmere Road and Brimley Road to connect to Scarborough Centre Station.
Converting the right-of-way for bus operation wouldn't be an overnight switch, as construction will be required to create new bus stop platforms at Lawrence East and Ellesmere stations, as well as stops at Kennedy and Scarborough Centre stations for an additional bus service. Both Midland and McCowan stations will be entirely closed and decommissioned.
The bus service would run until 2030, when the subway extension is planned to enter service, a move the transit agency claims will "provide customers with the quickest and most reliable service." But people are already worried.
It irks me that the TTC still hasn’t committed to bus lanes for the interim period.— Hafeez A. (@trainguy89) April 7, 2022
We are talking about jam-packed shuttle buses that will have to carry the many thousands of riders every day that are being offloaded from trains for many years.
It’s ridiculous. https://t.co/6CUeBL64ik
The new busway wouldn't open until 2025, meaning local commuters can expect a major downgrade in their TTC service.
There is a reason... It cemented the political careers of numerous municipal, provincial and federal Liberal and conservative politicians... What do you want, an actual transit project that is completed based on need and fiscal prudence? This is North America...— Net F****d by 2050! (@a_darkcorner) April 7, 2022
With a projected cost of almost $50 million, the busway would only have a functional five-year service life before the new subway comes online.
Why would they spend 50 million to convert rapid rail transit to a busway when they can just buy new railcars? Rail transit is far more efficient then rubber tired busses, and costs less in the long run.— Robert M (@DevCrab76) April 7, 2022
For some armchair analysts, the temporary busway in place of a higher-capacity rapid transit line is a tough sell. One commenter summed it all up with just three letters.
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