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Toronto Could Give Buses and Streetcars Priority

In a shift away from subway expansions and upgrades, Toronto looks to improve the bus and streetcar systems.
July 19, 2019, 10am PDT | Camille Fink
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The Toronto Transit Commission is considering changes that will help speed up the city’s notoriously slow and unreliable buses and streetcars. "According to a recent TTC report outlining the agency’s five-year service plan, measures being considered range from relatively subtle interventions like increased use of turning restrictions or traffic signals that give priority to transit vehicles, to more robust interventions like removing lanes of car traffic to create dedicated transit lanes," writes Ben Spurr.

Almost 60 percent of TTC trips were on buses and streetcars in 2017, and the cost to improve infrastructure and operations for these modes is significantly lower than for the subway system. Advocates say the return on investment makes sense and the city needs to take bold measures as the area’s population increases.

After the success of a streetcar pilot project on King Street in downtown, the city council voted to make the changes permanent. But city officials say getting public support for bus and streetcar improvements is still a challenge, particularly in Toronto’s suburbs where people are used to driving and less likely to use transit regularly.

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