Scarborough to benefit from public transit plans

Residents in east Scarborough can expect to benefit from a project that plans to improve transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton (GTHA) Area.

Metrolinx, formerly known as the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (GTTA), plans to minimize congestion in the metropolitan region which includes Toronto, Hamilton and the municipalities of Durham, Halton, Peel and York.

With a focus on public transit, Metrolinx aims to make traveling easier by expanding transit systems across the GTHA and developing new ones.

“Scarborough residents will be better served than ever before,” says Leslie Woo, Metrolinx’s general manager for Transportation Policy and Planning.

Among the proposed additions for Scarborough are improved connectivity to the Scarborough Town Centre as a planned anchor hub with four new regional rapid transit connections to Lakeshore, Pickering, Malvern Town Centre, Markham, North York, Pearson Airport and Downtown, Woo says.

Other initiatives within the GTHA include:

  • Expansion of Highways 404, 407, 410 and 427
  • New walking and cycling infrastructure
  • An online information portal that will showcase frequent updates on traffic congestion, roadwork and other information that may help road users plan their trips
  • A transit fare card that can be used on all transit systems within the region

For Scarborough resident Rachelle Tessier, she looks most forward to the transit fare card.

“Different transits have different fare prices and different transfers and different passes. For example, it is so frustrating not being able to use a TTC bus transfer on a GO bus and so on,” Tessier says.

Woo says work has already begun and because it is divided into three phases, the public will be able to see the progress of each phase.

Phase one is called Quick-Win and includes more frequent buses and improved service throughout the GTHA. Hybrid-electric buses have been deployed to Hamilton’s busiest transit corridor and there are Yonge subway capacity improvements in Toronto.

In addition, Woo says new bicycle-carrying devices on buses free up space that would otherwise be taken by having bicycles in buses.

“Our rationale for doing it this way is the simple fact that people need to see results before we start talking about new revenue tools,” Woo says. “The level of support for new revenue tools might increase once the public sees major improvements.”

“The only new thing I have seen is the thing that you can attach your bicycle to,” says Teja Vellanki, who frequently travels across the GTHA by public transit. “I haven’t witnessed any noticeable difference with the transit.”

Expected to be completed by 2025, the plans of Metrolinx will total $50 billion. The provincial and federal governments have committed $17.5 billion while other sources of funding are still being outlined.