Toronto to look at replicating King St. pilot project on major bus route

Streetcar Pilot Summer

After the King St. pilot project became permanent back in April, Toronto Mayor John Tory says the TTC will explore if the same can happen on a major bus route. 

"I think it's more likely to be in what we would call the inner suburbs," Tory said, adding it could apply to either a north-south or east-west route.

"There are buses that run on along north-south streets from way up in North York to all the way south of Bloor St. and sometimes south of there," he said. "There are also bus routes that run in all parts of the city for long distances east and west, mostly feeding into the subway." 

In April, city council approved 22-3 to make the King St. pilot permanent, which restricts vehicle traffic to streetcars between Bathurst and Jarvis streets. 

The TTC will identify various locations and get back to council, and while Tory said they won't rush into any decision, the status quo isn't good enough anymore. 

"If you look at the numerable bus routes in the city that are carrying tens of thousands of people and that have issues where sometimes move slower than people walking, you would see some of the places that the TTC is looking at," Tory said. "One of the key considerations on King was how many of those transit vehicles are themselves sitting with dozens of people aboard in traffic jams." 

Before council approved making King St. permanent, streetcar ridership grew from 72,000 passengers a day from November 2017 to 84,000 in April 2019. 

According to city data, average travel times going west-east rose by a minute in both the morning and afternoon peak periods on roads parallel to King, while north-south traffic remained the same. 

As for restaurants, the city reported a 1.2 per cent reduction in restaurant spending over the course of the pilot.