More than 100 people gathered in Scarborough on Saturday to demand better transit in Toronto's easternmost district ahead of the Ontario election.
TTCriders, an advocacy group that organized the rally, said in a news release that 11 provincial election candidates showed their support for transit improvements in Scarborough by walking on a red carpet that had been rolled out to symbolize a bus lane. The candidates were from the New Democrat, Liberal and Green parties.
TTCriders said the candidates also signed a pledge to fund more bus service, to support an integrated fare system between the Toronto Transit Commission and GO Transit, and to build the Eglinton East light rapid transit line.
Two candidates for the Toronto municipal election, meanwhile, signed a pledge to create more bus lanes by 2023, when the Scarborough RT is set to retire.
"We're here today because the Scarborough RT is closing in 2023 and people will be taking replacement buses for at least seven years until the subway extension opens," Shelagh Pizey-Allen, spokesperson for TTC Riders, told CBC Toronto.
"And that's not fair to have less rapid transit in Scarborough. We're asking every political party to make commitments to improve transit in Scarborough right now and that means not in 10 years," she said.
"Transit is a huge issue in Scarborough. A lot of people still don't know that the Scarborough RT is closing in 2023 but it's going to have a huge impact on people. What we are calling for immediate investment in more transit and more bus service in Scarborough."
TTCriders said in the release that provincial investment in bus service, free GO-TTC transfers and the Eglinton East LRT is needed to offset the impact of the RT closure on 35,000 daily commuters.
The replacement buses will run between Kennedy Station and Scarborough Town Centre until the Scarborough subway extension opens in 2030.
The Ontario government has begun work on the Scarborough subway extension, a 7.8 kilometre extension of the TTC's Line 2 with three new stops. The official ground-breaking ceremony for the project was in June 2021.