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The TTC's bus replacement for the Scarborough RT leading to long commutes

The unexpected closure of the TTC Line 3 Scarborourgh RT has left commuters grappling with a longer and tiresome journey to downtown Toronto.

Originally scheduled for closure in the November, the derailment in July led to its premature shutdown. For those who rely on this route to move them across the city, it has greatly impacted their daily routine.

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The Line 3 Scarborough RT moved more than 30,000 people daily.

The memories of rushing up the stairs at Kennedy Station to catch the RT are still fresh in the mind of many commuters.

The anticipation as the train approached the platform on a cold day, the deafening screeches of the track drowning out conversations - it's best that Scarborough gets an upgrade.

But for what it's worth, it was nice to get from Scarborough Town Centre (STC) to Kennedy Station in under 15 minutes (on a good day).

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Commuters at Kennedy station waiting for the 903 Express to arrive. 

With Line 3 gone, Scarborough commuters are left with the 903 Express buses as their primary mode of transportation. 

These buses follow the similar stops as the RT, with only a 10-minute difference during non-peak hours, which might seem manageable.

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The new routes implemented for the 903 express bus. Photo by TTC. 

However, during the peak rush hours in the morning (6 to 9 a.m.) and evening (3 to 7 p.m.), the bus journey can extend to 30 minutes.

The stark contrast lies in the fact that Toronto's main subway lines can cover the distance from Kennedy to Kipling in just 50–60 minutes, thanks to their immunity to traffic congestion.

For Scarborough residents needing to travel downtown, planning ahead has become a necessity apart from their 1-hour travel time.

An additional 30 minutes on the daily commute, especially during peak hours, can be more than a minor inconvenience. Not just for TTC riders, but drivers along some of the busiest streets in Scarborough during peak times. 

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The City's best alternative until 2030. 

"It's definitely a lot slower," says one commuter going to work, "I have to leave 30-40 minutes early to make sure I make it on time."

For TTC riders, it disconnects those who rely on transit to navigate the city and connect with the downtown core or west side of Toronto. 

As we warm up to the idea of Scarborough's future impact on the city, it's hard to ignore the harsh reality of the next seven years – and possibly more – without the Scarborough RT.

The hope rests on the city's commitment to having a functional replacement by 2030. Until then, commuters can expect a 30-minute detour to Kennedy during rush hour.

Photos by

Fareen Karim

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