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New Etobicoke bus service could be the start of new transit options

Last Updated Jun 25, 2018 at 7:37 pm EDT

A new commuting option is now available to tens of thousands of Etobicoke residents who previously had no real choice but to drive into the downtown core every day.

The TTC’s new 176 Mimico Bus service has hit the roads. The pilot project includes eight stops aimed at delivering residents who live in the Humber Bay Shores area directly to Mimico GO Station, where residents have been complaining for years about the lack of parking.

“You find it hard to believe there wasn’t a bus route like this here already,” said Mayor John Tory. “This bus route is somewhat out of the ordinary in that it goes to a GO Station whereas a lot of the TTC bus services obviously go to [TTC] transit stations.”

But the new bus service is more of a temporary fix as opposed to the long-term solution many residents have been calling for.

Although Metrolinx originally rejected the idea of building a new Parklawn GO Station along the Lakeshore West line, consistent lobbying from both the city and the outgoing provincial government compelled the organization to reconsider.

Designs are now starting to take shape for a new GO Station at the site of the former Mr. Christie’s factory. Etobicoke-Lakeshore Councillor Mark Grimes is convinced he can get Premier-designate Doug Ford to back the plan.

“I think all systems go on that, everything’s on board,” said Grimes. “I worked with [Ford], he’s a former Etobicoke councillor. He knows the area very well. Gonna make sure that we push this forward.”

The bigger unknown is the future of the Waterfront Transit Reset, a vision that would connect the entire stretch of Etobicoke from Long Branch straight through to Union Station. The plan calls for some dedicated right-of-ways for transit vehicles and signal priority for streetcars.

A similar plan was shelved by previous Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, with both Rob and Doug Ford saying they prefer subways over streetcars and buses. Doug Ford’s office did not respond to a request for comment from CityNews today regarding transit along the waterfront, but the current mayor isn’t jumping to conclusions.

“We have a Premier coming in, Doug Ford, who lives in Toronto and believes in building transit,” said Tory. “I think out of all that we will forge a common plan that will allow us to move forward on, yes, subway projects like the relief line, but also on other projects that we are determined to build as part of our network-approved transit plan that has been approved by the city council.”