Scarborough’s New/Old Transit Map

In all the talk about the Scarborough Subway and SmartTrack, there has been much less discussion of how the surface route network will be adjusted around the new lines. In preparation for Council’s upcoming debate on the SSE, the TTC has produced a map of the proposed bus network following the subway opening. Here are the current and proposed maps for comparison (click to expand).

Many of the routes on this map are unchanged from the current network which is already built around the Town Centre and Kennedy stations.

What is quite striking, however, is the complete absence of services dedicated to existing GO and potential future SmartTrack stations that are supposed to be an integral part of a future Scarborough Network. Inclusion of connecting service to those stations would presume, of course, that ST will actually operate as advertised with frequent service and free transfer to and from TTC routes. There is also no Eglinton East LRT to the UTSC campus.

Looking at the map, and the degree to which “all roads lead to STC”, shows the effect of having a major “mobility hub” in the middle of Scarborough. If that’s where you want to go, there is a bus route to take you there. Other travel patterns can be more challenging, especially if the peak service hours are designed for downtown-bound commuters.

Rearranging the network to feed into SmartTrack would require some work, and it is unclear if multiple hubs could actually co-exist. However, SmartTrack is planned to open five years before the SSE, and will trigger its own interim changes. Without really intending to, the TTC has given us a view of Scarborough transit that is uncomfortably closer to what might actually be built than many, certainly Mayor Tory and his circle, would care to admit.

Meanwhile, the SSE does not bring the same degree of change to the surface transit network as might occur in other areas because STC is already a major transit node. Indeed, the TTC could introduce new and revised routes long before the subway opens in 2026.

[The information in this article is taken from a compendium report in the TTC’s upcoming Board Meeting agenda at pp. 129-130. Routes and names shown are, at this point, only proposals and are subject to refinement.]

Proposed Changes
9 Bellamy Warden Stn to STC Unchanged
16 McCowan Warden Stn to STC Unchanged
21 Brimley Kennedy Stn to STC Unchanged
38 Highland Creek Rouge Hill GO to STC Unchanged
39A Finch East Finch Stn to Morningside Hts Branch rerouted and extended
199 Finch Rocket Finch W Stn to STC Unchanged
42 Cummer Finch Stn to Morningside Hts Extended
43B Kennedy via Progress Kennedy Stn to STC Unchanged
53 Steeles East Finch Stn to Morningside Hts East end loop revised
53E Steeles East Express Replaced by 253 Steeles Rocket
253 Steeles Rocket Pioneer Village Stn to STC New route
54 Lawrence East Science Ctr Stn to Starspray Base route unchanged
154 Lawrence East Kennedy Stn to UTSC Orton Pk service replaced and extended
254 Lawrence East Express Science Ctr Stn to Starspray via Kennedy Stn Replaces 54E express. Link to Kennedy Stn added.
57 Midland Kennedy Stn to Steeles Loop at Steeles revised
85 Sheppard East Don Mills Stn to Rouge Hill GO Supplemented by 285 Sheppard E Rocket
285 Sheppard East Rocket Don Mills Stn to UTSC via STC New route
86 Scarborough Kennedy Stn to Zoo Unchanged
93A Ellesmere East STC to Kingston Rd Replaces 95A York Mills east of STC. Route number already in use by 93 Parkview Hills.
93B Ellesmere East STC to Conlins Rd Replaces 95A York Mills east of STC and 116A Morningside Conlins Loop
95 York Mills York Mills Stn to STC Partly replaced by 93 Ellesmere East and 295 York Mills Express
295 York Mills Express York Mills Stn to UTSC via STC New route
102 Markham Rd Warden Stn to Steeles North end loop structure simplified
202 Markham Rocket Warden Stn to Centennial College New route
116 Morningside Kennedy Stn to Steeles Extended to Steeles & Markham Rd. Service via Guildwood replaced by 153.
153 Kennedy Stn to Beechgrove New route replacing 116 Guildwood service
129 McCowan North STC to Steeles Express service provided by 253, 199 and 285 Rockets
130A Middlefield STC to Steeles Route and loop from McNicoll to Steeles revised
130B Middlefield STC to Tapscott Route consolidates existing peak period loops of 42, 53, 102, 134
131 Nugget STC to Old Finch Service to Kennedy Stn replaced by subway
132 Milner STC to Hupfield/McClevin Unchanged
133 Neilson STC to Morningside Hts Unchanged
134A Progress STC to Finchdene Unchanged
134B Progress STC to McNicoll Discontinued, partly replaced by 130B
134C Progress STC to Centennial College Unchanged
169 Huntingwood Don Mills Stn to STC Unchanged

27 thoughts on “Scarborough’s New/Old Transit Map

  1. The bus network would be a lot more logical if a Lawrence East subway station were added. Redirecting some buses on Lawrence to Kennedy station makes no sense.

    If this proposed bus network is any indicator, the proposed “SmartTrack” (i.e. Stouffville line) stations at Lawrence and Finch will be lightly used. I wouldn’t be surprised if certain GO trains skip those intermediate stops and run express.

    Steve: If that happens, the resulting “SmartTrack” service will be so infrequent, nobody will bother to wait for it.

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  2. Proof of obscene bus routes

    39A FINCH EAST Finch Stn to Morningside Hts
    42 CUMMER Finch Stn to Morningside Hts
    53 STEELES EAST Finch Stn to Morningside Hts
    54 LAWRENCE EAST Science Ctr Stn to Starspray
    85 SHEPPARD EAST Don Mills Stn to Rouge Hill GO
    102 MARKHAM RD Warden Stn to Steeles

    Not mentioned but equally obscene in Scarborough

    17 Birchmount Warden Stn to Steeles
    24 Victoria Park Victoria Park Stn to Steeles
    68 Warden Warden Stn to Steeles

    These routes are unfit for elderly and young children. They are over 1 hour long. People do use them, taking 3 hours return to be stuck on the TTC.

    Steve: Aside from your inappropriate description, how would you fix this problem?

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  3. Hey Steve, you forgot to list the 202 Markham Rocket from Warden Stn – Centennial College.

    Steve: Oops! Thanks for catching this. I have updated the list.

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  4. Andrew and Steve are both on point. IF the SSE is to be built, then a station and Lawrence and McCowan is essential. Having made that choice; it makes no sense to build the Smart Track Station at Lawrence. Finch can stand/fall on its own merits w/o considering SSE.

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  5. I believe there may be a small error. Your list has the 285 Sheppard East express route originate from Sheppard Stn. The TTC report states that the route originates from Don Mills Stn.

    Steve: Ooops. Another small fix. Thanks.

    The list in the report is incomplete, and I was picking up details by comparing the maps.

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  6. Steve: Aside from your inappropriate description, how would you fix this problem?

    Isn’t it obvious? By moving Morningside Hts closer to Finch Station and Steeles Avenue closer to Warden Station.

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  7. “bill r”, I checked the trip planner, and if I left Finch station now, I’d be at Old Finch and Morningside in 47 minutes. So, maybe rush hour is worse, so I tried Tuesday afternoon: 57 minutes.

    “Obscene”, I think not.

    I’m not going to bother with the rest of them. There have been enough totally incorrect claims of running time, either currently or magically shorter with subways (back in the Ford days). If you want to claim they are over one hour, post the trip times from the TTC travel planner (or other planner, you could try myttc.ca). Otherwise I will assume you are making things up.

    Anyway, what exactly is supposed to happen? Extending the subway to STC won’t make any difference to the distance or speeds of your first three routes, all of which go to Finch station.

    Maybe you’re a closet supporter of extending the Finch West LRT all the way east to Morningside? (I could actually get behind that one.)

    Your list of “obscene” N-S routes is pretty funny too. In Etobicoke, there are longer N-S bus routes, since the subway doesn’t conveniently bend north, but rather bends south. Martin Grove and Steeles to Kipling station; Kipling to Kipling station; Islington to Islington station; 73C from the very NW corner of Toronto to Royal York station.

    I guess there should be a Queen Street subway because the 501 Queen is the longest streetcar route in North America. Now there is a ride that will take more than one hour from Long Branch to Neville Park! An hour and a half, if you don’t get short-turned.

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  8. I missed my favourite:

    86 SCARBOROUGH Kennedy Stn to Zoo

    Steve said: Aside from your inappropriate description, how would you fix this problem?

    Plan B

    Smartrack 2.o

    Steve: These proposals, leaving aside the difficulty and cost of building them, will not eliminate the long routes about which you complain. Specifically, you do nothing for eastern Scarborough, and the 86 bus route will be just as long as it is today. You are flogging a dead horse here.

    Ed said: I’m not going to bother with the rest of them.

    Limited sample could lead to wrong conclusion.

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  9. Steve said: … will not eliminate the long routes about which you complain. Specifically, you do nothing for eastern Scarborough, and the 86 bus route will be just as long as it is today

    It is important to have a north south backbone because there is no 6 lane north south road in Scarborough. North Scarborough will be served by the Sheppard LRT. Tying the Sheppard LRT and a backbone does address the 86.

    Having the backbone connecting directly to Lawrence addresses all the issues I brought up about eastern Scarborough. Lawrence is critical.

    Steve: I’m not sure that I agree with you, but in the context of your fantasy maps, it would be useful to include which chunks of the rapid transit system (eg LRT lines, etc) are included. Otherwise I am left to think that you plan, like John Tory, to solve all problems with one line.

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  10. Steve – 2 things. Umm….93 – Ellesmere East? What about the 93 Parkview Hills? Secondly – the 153 route? This doesn’t seem to be contingent on the SSE. Is this part of the Lawrence/Morningside review?

    Steve: Yes, I noticed that Route 93 too. It is possible that this is an old map created before the 91/93 split. I will add a note in the article.

    Most of the proposed changes could be implemented independently of the subway extension, and I am surprised that the TTC did not make note of that in their report.

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  11. Did the TTC didn’t realized they just assigned the 93 to Parkview Hills to replace the 91A last October. Could this mean TTC plans to discontinue the current 93 or renumber it?

    I think it’s just a typical TTC error that someone looked at the old route list and not realized 93 is current assigned. We know no one proofreads this stuff.

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  12. The only way to stop the Scarborough subway now is to organize mass protests like the Arab Spring. Protesters should stop trains going east from Main station.

    Steve: Alas, the first chance for trains to turn around is at Victoria Park, and so they will edge into Scarborough no matter what.

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  13. On the 2017 TTC customer charter, in Q4 there is a point:

    “We will consult with customers and other stakeholders to revise service in three neighbourhoods (Kingston/Lawrence/Morningside; Junction; and Rexdale/Airport).”

    We could see the proposed changes with route 153 and 154 appear later this year. Now we know what TTC is thinking.

    I wonder why 295 is called the York Mills Express instead of York Mills Rocket. Sounds like a renumbered 95E rush hour service.

    Steve, do you have any idea what happened to the express network plan and the possibility of renumber all the express services to 200’s routes in the near future.

    Steve: I think both the Express Network and the Ridership Growth Strategy were put on hold because of budget/ridership issues. Now that Council has funded the TTC for 2017 at a higher level than originally expected, the RGS is supposed to come to the TTC Board in April. It would make sense for new express services to be part of that strategy. We will have to wait to see whether the report really does come out, and how extensive its proposals will be.

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  14. In some ways, being an ‘outsider’ from the core area, it’s less-easy to provide useful options but with the example of the Brazilian city of Curitiba (which has a massive busway network that gives high-capacity service for a tiny amount of cost of other infrastructure) and closer to home the Ottawa busways and the busway to York in the Hydro corridor, it really seems that we are wasting a game-changing and rare opportunity to have the very long and wide Gatineau hydro corridor be used for some of its length as a transitway (and only a transitway).

    This corridor is still in public hands it’s very long and wide;it goes on the diagonal and is thus a relative short-cut; it’s very long from the Zoo to Victoria Park and Eglinton, and by speeding up some transit off-road that means cars aren’t squeezed ahead of improving transit. There are a few major destinations pretty close to it eg. hospital and UTSC and Centennial. And doing things on-surface is usually far cheaper than diggings.

    Having the Gatineau corridor mightn’t just help Scarborough area folks (please consider it), but it might also be 401 Relief, if the GO can use it to feed in to Eglinton. And city folks could get to the zoo a bit faster perhaps. With imagination, and some political will and portion of another big transit project, we could maybe link to the Thorncliffe Park area and then to one of the c. three transport corridors of the Don Valley, yes, including the excessway (reversible central lane for transit quickly in to the core and back in afternoons?)

    Having new corridors developed seems far more needed than overloading existing ones, and maybe if there were faster, and more direct routes, there wouldn’t have to be so much time spent for many to go to STC and then go elsewhere. Sure buses aren’t subways, but the overall flexibility, frequency, speed and relative cheapness in a lower-density sprawling area should be nudging us towards something of better value/use to more people than that SSE.

    Steve: I really tire of citations of Curitiba’s busway network because there are very few locations where that scale of infrastructure is physically possible in Toronto. The Gatineau corridor is seductively wide, but a lot of it is taken up with Hydro pylons. Just before it reaches the DVP, there is a transformer yard west of Bermondsey that you cannot simply build through.

    If a busway is to serve for cross-Scarborough trips, then you have to establish that it lies in a useful area to link existing and future nodes. It is that linkage that is missing. As for using the DVP to reach downtown, what do you do with the buses when they reach the core? As Ottawa showed, there is a point where there simply is no room for clouds of buses. Are you trying to build for internal Scarborough traffic or for commuter runs to the core?

    And I am deeply touched that you, of all people, are advocating “401 Relief”. We must take pity on the poor motorists for whom 16 lanes is never enough.

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  15. Mark: I see they are not counting on the Eglinton East or Sheppard LRT’s.

    Eglinton LRT will be buried from Victoria Park to Kennedy as is buried in the richer areas to the west. On Sheppard, there will be subway extended first eastwards and then south to the UTSC campus. The Bloor-Danforth subway will meet with the Sheppard subway at McCowan and Sheppard. Due to constant censorship by Steve, this will be my last post. I resign and I know that I will be dearly missed.

    Steve: Good bye.

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  16. The idea of combining the 116 Guildwood Parkway portion of the route and the 86D branch into a new route is rather a great idea in my opinion. It will probably get more 116 buses to serve the busier portion of the route like Eglinton East, Kingston Road and the buses will reach Morningside (northbound) or Eglinton Ave East (westbound) quicker by utilizing Kingston Road instead of the long detour along Guildwood Parkway.

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  17. Places that have extensive busways usually have an abundance of land and cheap labour. Neither of which Toronto has. Look at “how well” the Ottawa Busway did, ridership constantly dropping. It will be interesting to see how well the York BRT and the one in Mississauga do.

    @Scarboroughman: I will miss you like a root canal without freezing. Good Bye.

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  18. Steve – one of my other takeaways from this poorly prepared map, is the unstructured numbering format of TTC routes. For example, we have previously seen Rockets numbered 18x-19x. So, just a few months after following this format (e.g. Kipling South Rocket), why the sudden change to using 2xx to indicate Rockets? I wonder if existing routes will be renumbered? And, while I can see the logic behind using the 154 designation for the former 54B Orton Park branch, I don’t get the use of 153 as a route number.

    And, did anyone notice that in the document that you provided a link to, that they called the 133 Neilson the 133 Neilson South? Again, huh??

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  19. Steve said: “What is quite striking, however, is the complete absence of services dedicated to existing GO and potential future SmartTrack stations that are supposed to be an integral part of a future Scarborough Network.”

    Honestly, if the TTC actually cared about connecting to GO transit, they would have made a strong push to link the SSE extension to Eglinton GO station. Instead, any push for the line to go that far east was made for the sake of concerns over SmartTrack taking away potential riders from the SSE.

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  20. With re-using a part of the Gatineau corridor for transit, bus usage is the easier/cheaper first install, but an LRT would perhaps make lots of sense as well, and it does have some major destinations line up fairly well eg. the Hospital, and the Zoo, but also Centennial and UTSC (tho less well). Can we have buses and LRTs share the same RoW? Perhaps with an express lane, though that would involve more complexities, perhaps signalling even.The Hydro corridors are about the only spots/corridors where a Curitiba-style set-up might work easily; we don’t have too much political will for transit vs. votorists do we?

    The diagonality of this corridor is a great virtue given the grid of Scarborough and how it is squeezed by the Lake Ontario shoreline at the south end. It could be far more of a spine for access, including N/S once at a particular road. And yes, obviously there are hydro towers, but it remains quite wide, though of course it’s a relative shame to have greenspace less green, but the climate crisis is so severe and our inactions so great, it has become necessary to be far more accepting of less-popular ideas.

    As for returning vehicles, it’d be the same as most of the rest of the system I support – turning around and going back to close to the starting points, and perhaps less efficient, yes.

    Thanks

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  21. Is the TTC aiming at removing all service north of Steeles and ending all contracts in York Region?

    I ask because I notice the absence of the 129A and 102D services towards Major Mac in the proposed map.

    Steve: York Region has been gradually eliminating contract services from the TTC and I suspect that a plan for a decade in the future assumes they will all have disappeared.

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  22. hamish wilson said: “but the climate crisis is so severe and our inactions so great, it has become necessary to be far more accepting of less-popular ideas.”

    So your solution is to replace a marginal carbon sink with a high carbon source to fight climate change.

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  23. Usually an article about the Scarborough subway would have a vary large number of angry comments opposing it in a very short period of time. The vastly lower frequency of such comments suggests that most of your readers have accepted the fact that subway is coming to Scarborough for better or for worse. Also now that the subway is coming to York Region, a name change for TTC might be warranted (such as TYTC (Toronto York Transit Commission) or GTTC (Greater Toronto Transit Commission)).

    Steve: No, this was an article about bus routes. Readers have plenty of other places to gripe about the subway. As for York Region, when they have – and pay for – 50% of the system mileage, they can have 50% of the name.

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  24. What is the latest cost estimate for the now defunct Scarborough LRT? I find it hard to believe that while estimates for the cost of the Scarborough subway have increased, the cost of the LRT would remain the same (very unlikely). The only thing good about the LRT was the higher number of stops but more stops can be added to the subway as well (each underground station only costs about a hundred million dollars and most of the cost of the subway is for the tunnels).

    Steve: Actually more stops on the subway would be extremely expensive because they have discovered that the McCowan alignment will require a deep tunnel through bedrock, not the usual conditions under which subways (including the Crosstown LRT tunnel) have been built. Adding stations would cost much more than $100m each, and even making provision for them in the tunnel alignment would add to the base project cost.

    As for the LRT cost, much depends on assumptions one makes about how much we build and when. For example, it was always assumed that the elevated structure now used by the SRT could be reused by an LRT line, but when the subway option on the same route was considered, it was claimed that the elevated needed major structural work and might have to be replaced. Amusing considering how badly overbuilt it was for the RT technology. Then there is the question of whether to rebuild the Ellesmere tunnel, or to replace it with a flyover connection that would bypass the lightly used Ellesmere Station. I have already mentioned problems at Lawrence East where there isn’t room for both a ST and an SRT/LRT/subway station at the same location. If the LRT were there, then the ST station would be redundant.

    Finally there is the configuration of Kennedy Station where the design was changed to omit the SRT/LRT link to the Crosstown. Changing this would require reopening the Crosstown contract and ditching some of the design work that has been done on the current version of the station.

    The longer any decision takes, the further down the subway path we go, the more difficult a reversion to LRT becomes.

    I don’t agree with the subway project, but I think it would take a massive problem such as cost escalation well above $4 billion before the SSE proponents would be convinced to back off. By that time, the political winds will have changed, and Scarborough will be lucky to get improved bus service, never mind an LRT. At some point, Queen’s Park, possibly under new management, will decide that buying votes in Scarborough is no longer cost-effective.

    It wouldn’t be the first time the province has stiffed Toronto on plans that appeared to be solid.

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