TTC wants to explore use of bus-only lanes on five of its busiest routes
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, December 6, 2019 8:12AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 6, 2019 2:52PM EST
Bus-only lanes could be coming to some of the TTC’s busiest routes.
The TTC released its new five-year service plan on Thursday and the 55-page document includes plans to explore implementing “exclusive bus lanes” and a number of other service enhancements, such as all-door boarding, on the Eglinton East, Dufferin, Jane, Steeles West, and Finch East routes.
The TTC says that the five routes combined carry nearly 250,000 customers each weekday, making them among the busiest surface routes in the city.
“The city is growing but the roads can’t grow so we need to think about the way we view roads differently,” the TTC’s manager of service planning, Mark Mis, told CP24 on Friday afternoon. “We need to stop thinking about prioritizing roads for vehicles and start using roads to move more people, more efficiently and that is what transit does.”
Mis said that the TTC is “still in the early stages of determining what bus rapid transit lines would look like” but he said that they would likely be accompanied by a reduction in the number of stops to provide faster service.
He said that in some cases the TTC could repurpose existing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, like the ones that currently existed along a portion of Eglinton Avenue East. In other circumstances, he said that existing lanes of traffic would have to be turned into bus-only lanes.
“There are a number of different treatments that we could apply,” he said.
The TTC says that it is interested in exploring the possibility of exclusive bus lanes in the wake of the success of the King Street Transit Priority Corridor.
The estimated cost of introducing exclusive bus lanes on the routes is $41.8 million over the next five years.
In a message posted to Twitter on Thursday night, Mayor John Tory offered support for the concept.
He said that he has been briefed by TTC staff on the entire five-year plan and has told them that he wants "to see a plan to roll out a bus rapid transit project on a route as soon as possible."
Some of the other initiatives outlined in the five-year service plan include additional queue jump lanes for buses and streetcars and an increased use of transit signal priority.
The plan also identifies the need for an additional 60 streetcars between 2022 and 2024.