King Street pilot project marks one-year anniversary
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Monday, November 12, 2018 7:42AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 12, 2018 2:57PM EST
The TTC says there is still work to do to improve streetcar service along King Street as the city’s pilot project marks its one-year anniversary.
Speaking to CP24 on Monday morning, TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said while the King Street pilot has resulted in improved travel times and reliability as well as an increase in ridership, crowding is still an issue during peak times.
“We recognize that it is crowded still in what we call the peak of the peak… Between 8 and 9 (a.m.) we are starting to see much more crowding, particularly in the west end through Liberty Village for example,” Ross said.
“We are getting the new streetcars. More and more of them are coming online and so by the end of this year, we will have nothing but low-floor streetcars on King Street. Today we have 42 on the route. So that will improve the capacity which will help drive down the overcrowding that we see.”
Overall, Ross heralded the pilot as a success, adding that the surface route now sees more than 80,000 riders per day, up from about 65,000 prior to the pilot.
“From a transit perspective, the objective of the pilot was to move more people more reliability and that’s what we’ve been able to do,” he said.
When asked about a group of business owners who claim the pilot has resulted in a decline in transactions, Ross said the city continues to work closely with owners along King Street.
“I’ll leave it to the city to talk about those measures and what they have seen through data collection,” he said.
“There is new data coming out this week that will look at all of that.”
In a news release issued Monday, transit advocacy group the TTCriders applauded the pilot project.
"The King Street Pilot has been a huge success for transit riders because it’s made their commutes more reliable. Before the pilot, King Street wasn't working for anyone and it was often faster to walk than take transit on King,” Anna Lermer, a member of TTCriders, said in a written statement. “The pilot hasn’t just benefited current riders, it’s brought new riders to public transit.”
The pilot will continue as planned until the end of the year and a staff report on the initiative is expected to come to city council "as soon as possible," a spokesperson for the mayor's office confirmed to CP24 on Sunday.