With the Scarborough rail line (SRT) closing temporarily during the first week of February due to a predicted snowstorm and with the line expected to permanently shut down in 2023, many TTC riders are annoyed over current delays and are questioning future solutions.
Also called Line 3, the SRT running between McCowan and Kennedy stations was shut down Feb. 3 and stayed closed the next day as well due to a predicted snowfall. Shuttle buses ran those two days but trips were longer.
Daily SRT riders said they were frustrated with the current situation and with the idea of the line being shut down permanently.
“I depend on the RT everyday, so it is a problem for me not only now but for the future as well,” said Robert Keller, a TTC rider in Scarborough.
Keller said he was disappointed the SRT decided to shut down a couple days before the predicted snowstorm and not on the actual day itself. He said the shuttle buses are more crowded and take a longer time to get to Kennedy station, making it harder to get to his final destination.
In terms of the SRT closing for good in 2023, Keller said he did not even know that was happening until a few months ago and he hoped there would be faster, easier alternates in the future other than shuttle buses.
Advocacy group TTCRiders.ca released a statement early this month, calling for alternate options to replace the SRT and not have riders dependent on shuttle buses.
“Politicians must act now to keep Scarborough connected by installing bus lanes on the street and transforming the decommissioned Line 3 corridor into a rapid busway with frequent service to match current SRT service levels,” the group’s spokesperson Zain Khurram said.
The TTC has had to shut down SRT services at least once every winter season in the time he has been working for the transit commission, TTC spokesperson Stewart Green said.
These temporary closings take place to prevent the TTC from having to stop the SRT in the middle of a trip, causing riders to wait on platforms during the cold and the TTC having to organize shuttle buses in a hurry, he said.
The main reason the SRT will close down next year is that it does not function well anymore due to passing its intended date.
Green said the SRT is approaching 40 years old. “It was intended to last 25 to 30 years.”
Reworking it would cost a lot, he said.
A Scarborough subway extension is in the works to accommodate the closure of the SRT but that project will not be ready until 2030 at the earliest. This leaves many TTC riders wondering what the alternate solutions are for the next seven years.
“It is not just as simple as shutting down the trains and putting buses in there,” said Green.
There are many things that have to be done like taking out rails and power lines before any work can be started on a new project, meaning it will take time, he said.