Ridership Growth Strategy for the Island Ferries

The April 10th meeting of Toronto’s Parks and Environment Committee will consider a proposal to give two-for-one fares for adults travelling on the ferries between 5 and 9 pm (except for special event days on holidays and weekends) from the Victoria Day to the Labour Day weekend.

Most people leave the island in the late afternoon after a hard day at the beach.  The Parks Department reckons that there is a growing population who live downtown near the ferry docks for whom the island could be a welcome evening spot.  The ferries are running with available capacity, and the cheaper fares are not expected to cost the city anything.

Fortunately, the GTTA has yet to demand that total fare integration be provided so that a rider can board a GO Train in Barrie and travel seamlessly to Hanlan’s Point.

9 thoughts on “Ridership Growth Strategy for the Island Ferries

  1. Of course, the ferries will not be able to provide reliable service without their own right-of-way on Lake Ontario.

    And if that’s the case, why not just make a subway branch line going from Union to Centreville?

    Steve: I keep telling people: Swan Boats would be cheaper!

    But of course you would have to transfer.


  2. As funny as it sounds now, back in the 60s there was a proposal for a rapid transit line to the Islands. Maybe an LRT line crossing the eastern channel on a bridge to serve Wards might be an option some day.

    Steve: Yes, I remember this. It was part of a scheme that included redevelopment of the Island Airport lands as a high-rise playground on the water.

    Also, we must remember the mad scheme (part of the city’s deservedly failing World’s Fair bid) for a streetcar subway under the harbour.


  3. Steve: I keep telling people: Swan Boats would be cheaper!

    Steve, Steve, Steve… Swan boats are like buses… they have NO capacity… but Swan trains…. NOW you’re talking!

    Steve: The next thing you’ll want is a Swan subway!


  4. What about blue night service, especially coming back from Hanlan’s Point? Will C.I.S. be installed to properly short-turn the ferries?

    Steve: You don’t want to stay all night at Hanlan’s? Maybe the school board could convert the Island School into a spiffy hotel.


  5. Where on earth would they short-turn the ferries?

    Itty Bitty Island Loop?!

    Steve: No! They will build a turntable in the middle of the harbour. The ferry will sail in, spin around and return whence it came. After we spend millions on this contraption, someone will point out to the TTC that the ferries are double-ended like subway trains and don’t need loops.


  6. If public transit came to the Toronto Islands logically wouldn’t it be from Bathurst? Instead of to the Ex the 511 could head straight down to the Islands via bridge ROWs with stops at City Centre Airport, Hanlan’s Point, Mugg Island, Centre Island ferry docks and Centreville. If demand grew the line could even extend to the residential communities on Ward’s and Algonquin Islands.

    Steve: I want to see the grade crossing for the Bathurst car crossing the airport runway.


  7. The 2-for-1 deal is a very sensible idea. As for serving the route with Swan boats, a transfer must be prevented! But it’s not that hard.

    At the shoreline, a lift lock would raise northbound Swan boats onto an elevated guideway system. This series of aqueducts would line major streets in the downtown core, replacing noisy streetcars with nearly-silent elevated swan boats offering a much smoother ride (except during heavy rain). Forget complicated junctions at major intersections: a small elevated pond is all that’s needed to allow turns in any direction. And with more urban aqueducts than any city since ancient Rome, the system would become a tourist attraction in its own right, guaranteeing profitable operation.


  8. Fully Automated Swan Subway! That way you can have 2 passengers per car!

    Steve: We are looking at family sized Swan Boats that carry 12 passengers each, although I can understand the allure of smaller craft, and the possibilities for Personal Swan Boat Transit. A massive computer system linked to control devices in the Swan Brains (GPS enabled of course) will dispatch swans as and when they are needed throughout the city.


  9. With Personal Swan Boat Transit, we can construct a network of elevated viaducts for the boats to utilize.


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