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Fast buses seen as key to GTA's transit future

Report suggests network of reserved lanes

Joseph Hall
TRANSPORTATION REPORTER

A vast network of reserved bus lanes should be established on major roads ad highways throughout the GTA, says a report being presented today to the Greater Toronto Services Board.

In an effort to make transit more competitive with the car, the plan would send huge fleets of buses out on reserved and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes into suburban regions and west into Hamilton.

Known as Bus Rapid Transit, the concept would introduce frequent, fast commuter service between high-density work and residential centres not currently connected by subway or GO train lines.


‘The system combines the quality of rail transit and the flexibility of buses’


“Bus Rapid Transit is a crucial element in meeting future travel demands and increasing the use of transit in the GTA and Hamilton area,” says the report, compiled by Markham’s Entra Consultants Inc.

“The (bus) system envisioned for the GTA and Hamilton area combines the quality of rail transit and the flexibility of buses.”

The system, which could be fed by an array of small bus and van services running into suburban neighbourhoods, would also connect with enhanced GO train service across the GTA.

Titled Transit Corridor Priorities and Phasing, the study calls for the initial use of bus-only and HOV lanes across nine inter-regional routes.

These routes, which would rely heavily on GO buses, could eventually be augmented by new roads built exclusively for buses as ridership warranted.

Initial routes would include:

  • A huge HOV and bus lane corridor along highways 7 and 407 between Highway 10 in Brampton and Brock Rd. in Pickering.
  • Reserved bus lanes on Yonge St. between Elgin Mills Rd. in Richmond Hill and the TTC’s Finch subway station.
  • A reserved bus lane running through York University between Vaughan and the Downsview subway station.
  • HOV lanes on several arterial roads running between Highway 407 in Markham and the Scarborough City Centre.
  • A separate busway running through Mississauga’s city centre between the interchange of highways 403 and 407, and the Spadina or Bloor subway lines.
  • HOV lanes on Brock Rd. connecting the Pickering GO station with Highway 407.
  • HOV lanes along Highway 2 between Oshawa and Pickering, with a link along Highway 401 to the Sheppard subway.

The plan calls for these and other routes to be running within 10 years. The bus routes are far more flexible than new rail services and can be created at a fraction of the cost.

The cost to push an HOV lane between York University and the Downsview subway station, for example, is pegged at $5 million.

A proposed subway link between those points is estimated at $900 million.

The new study is one of the initial refinements to the GTSB’s Removing Roadblocks report, released last year.That report called for general improvements in transit and urban planning to help ease worsening road congestion.




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