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Ultimatum issued in Battle of the Buses

Accept compromise or more traffic, McCallion warns

By Mike Funston
Toronto Star Peel/Halton Bureau

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has issued an ultimatum to the Toronto Transit Commission in the long-simmering Burnhamthorpe Rd. bus dispute.

Her city will restore all former bus traffic bound for the Islington TTC station via Burnhamthorpe Rd. unless the commission accepts a tentative compromise worked out a week ago.

“This is the only way to settle it,” McCallion said yesterday. “Negotiating with them (further) is a waste of time.”

TTC Chair Howard Moscoe seemed taken aback by the development.

“It’s unfortunate that this whole dispute has been characterized by blustering and threats,” he said.

“I don’t understand why they’re getting their noses so out of joint because this could be resolved. If the mayor wasn’t so blustery we’d sit down and work something out.”

Last December, the TTC banned Mississauga buses along Burnhamthorpe Rd. from using Islington terminal, forcing passengers to wait for pickup on the street outside.

Last week, a tentative compromise was struck between TTC chief general manager Rick Ducharme and Mississauga Transportation Commissioner Angus McDonald.

The deal would have reduced weekday Mississauga bus trips via Burnhamthorpe Rd. to 266 from 308. In 1996, Mississauga voluntarily cut daily trips from 404.

But TTC commissioners recently voted down the compromise.

The TTC commissioners and Burnhamthorpe Rd. residents have long demanded that Mississauga remove all its Burnhamthorpe Rd. buses and instead use high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Dundas St.

Such a change, say Mississauga officials, would add $500,000 in operating costs.

Moscoe said one compromise could involve Mississauga yanking evening buses from the route, a move he said Burnhamthorpe Rd. residents would find acceptable.

Burnhamthorpe Rd. has been progressively widened to the point where homes are so close to it that “these buses are almost in people’s living rooms,” Moscoe said.

“They deserve better than that.”