TTC says Scarborough Line 3 will not resume operation following derailment

Riders call for new transit options in Scarborough as TTC Line 3 is permanently shut down following a derailment.

The TTC says service on Scarborough’s Line 3 will not resume following last month’s derailment.

The decision to permanently shut down the line comes exactly one month after the rear car of a southbound SRT train separated from the rest of the train and derailed approximately 500 feet from Ellesmere Station, forcing the evacuation of over 40 passengers. Five people were treated for minor injuries at the time.

Line 3 was originally scheduled to be decommissioned on Nov. 18 with the TTC planning to run express shuttle bus service along the 6.4-kilometre route from Scarborough Centre and Kennedy stations for the next seven years until the Scarborough Subway Extension opens in 2030.

RELATED: TTC’s Line 3 shut down after train derailment; multiple passengers injured

The transit agency says while a comprehensive review is still underway, the decision has been made to permanently close the line ahead of schedule and begin to implement elements of the replacement plan.

Those measures include the installation of temporary road markings and signage to establish a bus-only lane southbound on Midland Avenue and one northbound lane on Kennedy Road between Eglinton Avenue and Ellesmere Road. The new shuttle routing will be implemented this coming weekend.

“Scarborough residents deserve so much better,” said Mayor Olivia Chow during a break from committee meetings at City Hall on Thursday.

“It’s sad that the Scarborough SRT is gone. What I’m doing is to say to TTC, every moment you waste is not acceptable. …It’s not the best scenario but let’s just get the best out of what we can do right now.”

Shelagh Pizey-Allen, the executive director of TTCriders, says Scarborough transit users are losing a really important transit link and what’s required now is adequate funding that needs to be fast-tracked.

“No one is surprised that the RT is closing, it’s at the end of its life, but what is surprising is that solutions have not been funded and implemented yet,” she says, pointing out that things are only going to get worse in two weeks time when school starts and traffic increases.

“We need to see red bus-only lanes on the road, transit signal priority at traffic lights for the 70 shuttle buses per hour that are needed to replace the RT, and the provincial government still hasn’t provided funding for a bus way. That’s going to save transit users 10 minutes in each direction.”

The TTC says features such as red-painted lanes, new queue-jump lanes and signal priority to allow buses quicker movement through mixed traffic will be rolled out over the next three months.

The TTC and the City of Toronto are now exploring ways to advance the on-street improvements while also creating a temporary bus staging area on the north side of Kennedy Station to relieve congestion at the busy station while construction on the new bus terminal continues.

Upon completion of a new bus terminal at Kennedy Station in November, eight bus routes will be extended to Kennedy Station, eliminating the need to transfer.

In the long term, the TTC says it is exploring ways to remove the existing track and power systems along the Line 3 corridor so that it can be used as a dedicated right-of-way route for buses until the new subway extension opens.

The announcement to permanently shutter the subway line comes less than a day after dozens of transit riders turned out for a symbolic funeral and to mourn the loss of the SRT.

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