On October 11, 8.5 kilometres of TTC priority bus lanes will be added from Kennedy Station to UTSC, along Eglinton Avenue East, Kingston Road, and Morningside Avenue.
The lanes are expected to reduce transit time of the TTC’s commuters by two to five minutes per trip. As of 2015, 64 per cent of UTSC students relied on transit to get to school.
The City of Toronto is anticipating that this decrease will equate to $2.5 million of savings in operating costs and approximately $6.3 million of savings in capital cost, as fewer buses are needed to ensure the same amount of service on the corridor.
Installation costs are expected to be around $7.8 million. The TTC decided to make Eglinton East the first proposed priority corridor based on various factors, including transit reliability, available right-of-way, and transportation equity.
Existing high occupancy vehicle lanes on Eglinton Avenue East and curbside lanes on Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue will be reserved for TTC buses, Wheel-Trans buses, and bicycles. However, the central-turn lane on Eglinton Avenue will remain in place. Drivers will be able to use the priority bus lanes to enter driveways and make right turns at intersections. Cyclists will also be able to use these lanes.
Last December, the TTC outlined a proposal to create priority bus-only lanes in Toronto’s five busiest routes, including the Eglinton East corridor passing through UTSC. Before COVID-19, the five corridors held a shared ridership of approximately 220,000 passengers. Their installments are part of the TTC’s 5-Year Service Plan & 10-Year Outlook, which aims to “improve reliability, speed, and capacity on some of the busiest transit routes in the city.”
The City of Toronto has since voted unanimously in favour of the traffic and parking regulation amendments needed to install the lanes at UTSC as part of RapidTO, a network of priority transit corridors around the GTA.
“Installing priority bus lanes as soon as possible on the Eglinton East corridor will help us quickly improve access and mobility for Scarborough residents, help manage congestion, shorten travel times, and improve transit reliability so that residents are even more confident they will get where they need to be on time,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory in a press release.
“This is the beginning of the RapidTO network, which will help our transit system recover from the impacts of COVID-19 as quickly as possible and ensure that the TTC continues to be a critical part of rebuilding our economy.”