The Toronto Transit System, or TTC for short, has been Toronto’s way of getting around since 1921. It has grown immensely over the past 96 years and continues to grow to this day. No doubt that it’s been a huge success. There’s no argument against that. However, with success, there are always failures, and in the case of the TTC, that is most definitely true. The TTC is most well-known for the subway. The subway, for those who don’t know (although unless you are a border, this would seem strange) is arguably the TTC’s poster-child. It’s what the TTC is most famous for, and it won the 2017 Award for Best Transit System in North America from the APTA. The subway transports many of the commuters in the city around Toronto, from Finch and Yonge to Union Station, and stretches all the way from Kipling to Scarborough Town Centre. It’s also fraught with delays and break-downs, something that any person who takes the TTC will tell you. So, with the newest expansion to the TTC opening up this weekend, I raise the question: Should the TTC be expanding when it has so many flaws with its present system?
The newest addition to the TTC will lengthen the Yellow line all the way to Vaughn Mills, creating stops at York University, and Black Creek Pioneer Village. The expansion will bring more consumers to these areas and will help connect York University to the rest of the subway system in a way that isn’t a bus. There’s a great economic impact here as well. By making the areas along this new expansion available to people who take the TTC and don’t own a car (University students for example), it brings in a whole new swath of consumers for the shops in Vaughan Mills and new visitors for the Pioneer Village. I would expect an upsurge of consumers along this subway line as the expansion gets introduced to the rest of the subway system, much in the same way our downtown core is centralized around the downtown subway tracks. It will be a great way to help increase visitation for the areas west of the city, and will heavily benefit the shop-owners close the subway.
The TTC has been a foundational part of my life, ever since I started going to school. How could it not be? It’s cheap transport for my one-car family, and it gets me everywhere I need to go. But, being such a fundamental part of my life, I’ve experienced many delays and breakdowns while riding the subway. I won’t go into detail of exactly when and what each delay was caused by, but I can mention a few things that will instantly be familiar to any person that frequents the subway. The passenger alarm activated on a train. The track work maintenance (during working hours I may add). The signal problem. The turning around of subway trains. Those are just a few of the problems the subway experiences, delaying virtually everybody on whatever line the delay affected. Just the other day, a passenger alarm activated at Rosedale station delayed me at York Mills for fifteen minutes. The rate at which these instances occur isn’t rare and it delays people’s livelihoods.
It was then interesting to hear the announcement that the subway is being expanded upon. Should it not first be cured of the many delays that plague the system every day? One would think so. However, that’s not the case. On December 15th, the newest section of the subway will open up, connecting “the 6ix to Highway 7” as the transit slogan states. It will be interesting to see how this new opening impacts the rest of the subway; Will it cause more delays due to the addition of more trains? Will it create a busier, more cluttered subway? These things will probably happen. Will it fix the current problems with the TTC? Will it provide more convenient service on the other side of the track, at Finch? Probably not. But that remains to be seen.