TTC recommends shuttering Scarborough RT in 2023, using buses until subway's built

·2 min read

TTC staff are recommending two options for shutting down the Scarborough RT in 2023 and using buses instead until the scheduled completion of the Scarborough subway extension, which isn't expected to open until 2030.

Last December, Mayor John Tory told reporters "there comes a point in time where you just can't keep something like that running anymore." The report notes that the Scarborough RT vehicles are now ten years past their intended design life, at 35 years old.

"It's like an old car. You can keep repairing it, but sooner or later, you run out of options for repair," Tory previously said.

Coun. Paul Ainslie, the only Scarborough councillor to repeatedly vote in support of a light rail alternative to the future subway, issued a statement saying he's "thoroughly disappointed but not surprised" by Thursday's report.

"If we had built the Scarborough LRT as announced in 2007, it would have been operational today serving multiple communities and thousands of residents."

Instead, he said, Scarborough will become the "bus capital" of the city.

The TTC report lays out two options for the next decade: either close the current Line 3 in 2023 and use existing buses to replace the service until 2030, or use existing buses until 2026 and then replace them for 2027 to 2030 years.

The report notes these options would cost $374.8 million and $357.4 million, respectively.

It also discounts an option of hybrid SRT and bus service to 2030, which would cost $522.4 million and come with a high risk of "not achieving the required service reliability."

In a statement released Tuesday, Scarborough groups demanded that the province and the city provide bus lanes with frequent service as an interim solution.

"The pandemic has shown the inequalities in Scarborough. We cannot wait for another 10 years to have accessible transit built, while riders deal with the loss of the SRT," said Jennifer Robinson, of the Connect Sheppard East community group.

"We need the TTC and Premier Ford to prioritize the movement of Scarborough residents across the city now."