TTC report recommends ending Scarborough RT service in 2023

A new report to the TTC board recommends ending Scarborough RT service in 2023. Adrian Ghobrial with why transit riders may be hopping on buses instead until the next decade.

By News staff

A new report to the TTC board has recommended shutting down the Scarborough RT service in 2023 and riders will rely on buses until a new Scarborough subway is built.

The report says the TTC considered extending the life of the 35-year-old SRT past 2021, but staff determined the overhaul wouldn’t be worth it.

If the report is approved by council, express bus replacement service would start in 2023 with new, hybrid buses, or a combination of currently owned replacement buses and new buses.

TTC staff say both of these options are low-risk for “achieving the required service reliability” and will cost less at $374.8 million to purchase new buses or $357.4 million for the combination of new and currently owned.

Eight current major bus routes would be expanded.

The cost of extending the life of the Scarborough RT would be $522.4 million, according to the report.

The SRT was originally set to be fully decommissioned when the Line 2 East Extension or the Scarborough Subway Expansion (SSE) was to be completed.

The province assumed responsibility of the SSE back in 2019 and revised it to a three-stop subway extension, with a completion date of 2030.

Councillor Josh Matlow, who opposed the three-stop subway extension, made some bold comments on Twitter, following the release of the report.

“Scarborough’s politicians lied….The seven-stop LRT plan would still serve far more people, be less expensive, and get built sooner than the 3-stop subway fiasco,” said Matlow.

Scarborough councillor Paul Ainslie said he was thoroughly disappointed in the news, but not surprised.

“The SRT should have closed in 2015 at the end of its useful life. Now it will close before a better, more viable service is in place, negatively impacting Scarborough residents and businesses,” said Ainslie.

A release from the TTC lists several challenges in keeping the SRT including the cost, the service reliability and accessibility at some of the stations.

“The SRT trains have already been overhauled to maintain their safety,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “The SRT trains have been in service for 35 years – 10 years past their design life. We know it has become increasingly difficult to maintain reliable service on Line 3 due to the age of the vehicles and obsolescence of critical parts.”

The Scarborough Transit Action, a grassroots volunteer organization that speaks up for transit riders in Scarborough, says Premier Doug Ford and Mayor John Tory “owe it to Scarborough” to replace SRT with a bus lane and move forward with the Eglinton East LRT.

“If we don’t order more buses ASAP, service levels across Scarborough and the rest of Toronto will suffer when the SRT is shut down in 2023,” said Zain Khurram.

The report will be discussed by the TTC board at the next meeting on Feb. 10.

The full TTC report can be found here:

TTC report: Scarborough Life Extension Project Options Analysis by CityNewsToronto on Scribd

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