The future of TTC’s Line 3 Scarborough (SRT)


On April 14, 2022, the TTC Board approved decommissioning of the SRT in 2023 and converting a portion of the Scarborough RT’s right-of-way into a dedicated busway. This will provide safe and accessible interim bus service until the Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) is opened by the Province of Ontario in 2030.

The TTC’s Line 3, Scarborough Rapid Transit system (SRT), is a 6.4 kilometre intermediate capacity rapid transit line with six stations that opened in 1985. The TTC’s priority is to provide safe, reliable and accessible service to everyone. The SRT trains have been in service 10 years past their design life, are susceptible to cold weather, and have already been overhauled to ensure safe reliable service.

On February, 10, 2021, the TTC Board approved decommissioning of the SRT in 2023 and providing safe and accessible interim bus service until the Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) is opened by the Province of Ontario in 2030. Please see the report.

On September 15, 2021, the TTC Board approved received a report containing the evaluation framework to assess replacement service options. This study committed to exploring the feasibility of constructing a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on the SRT right-of-way as part of its analysis of replacement transit service options. Please see the report.

On April 14, 2022, the TTC Board approved the conversion of the Line 3 right-of-way between Kennedy Station and Ellesmere Station to a bus roadway. Customers will ride buses that would operate in the exclusive right-of-way between Kennedy Station and Ellesmere Station, and then travel on Ellesmere Road and Brimley Road to connect to Scarborough Centre Station. This combination of express service between Kennedy Station and Scarborough Town Centre will operate until the Line 2 East Extension opens in 2030. This recommended option will begin service in winter 2025, following modifications to the existing SRT right-of-way.

As an interim solution, beginning in fall 2023, the TTC will deliver express bus service via, the Kennedy and Midland Couplet. Buses would operate southbound via Midland Avenue and northbound via Kennedy Road between Scarborough Centre and Kennedy stations.

Read the Line 3 Bus Replacement Study Final Recommendations report.

Read the Line 3 Bus Replacement Study Final Recommendations presentation to the TTC Board.

  • Consultation

    The consultation:

    • Provided detailed information about bus service alternatives as well as the traffic impact and mitigating measures
    • Received customer and community input to inform alternatives for bus service in the SRT corridor for 2023-2030 to optimize implementation; and,
    • Reported back to customers and the community to explain how their input improved planning, including through a report to the TTC Board in April 2021.

    Round 1 engagement summaries

    Round 2 engagement summaries

    On April 14, 2022, the TTC Board directed staff to proceed with Options 1 and Options 4 of the proposed plans. Details are available below:

    Option 1 Hybrid Line 3 Right-of-Way. This is the recommended option. Parts of the existing Line 3 right-of-way, between Ellesmere and Kennedy stations, will be converted into a busway for buses to operate exclusively on. This will take up to two years to construct after the closing of the trains on Line 3.

    Option 4 Kennedy and Midland Couplet. This is recommended as the interim option while the busway option is constructed. Buses would operate southbound via Midland and northbound via Kennedy between Scarborough Centre and Kennedy stations.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    SRT Operations 

    What are the key challenges to keep the SRT running safely to 2030?

    There are a number of challenges in keeping the SRT running, which is why it will be decommissioned in 2023. The key challenges include:

    • Aging vehicles: The SRT vehicles were designed to be retired in 2010. They are 10 years past their design life of 25 years.
    • Maintenance reliability: The SRT vehicles are becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain, reliability continues to degrade, and parts are becoming more difficult to find.
    • Service reliability: The SRT's service was reduced by 50% from peak in the Fall of 2020 due to technical issues. There are limited spare trains, which are unable to maintain reliable service standards and continue to make service reliability vulnerable.
    • Inclement weather: The SRT is susceptible to inclement weather including overheating in the summer and service suspension in the winter due to snow and ice.
    • Accessibility: All TTC stations and vehicles must be AODA compliant by 2025. Lawrence East, Ellesmere, Midland and McCowan stations are currently not barrier-free.
    • Cost: The overhaul to keep the SRT safely running until 2030 is estimated to cost over $520 million, which is unfunded. This is a bare minimum and would not guarantee reliable service.

    What’s the level of risk of the SRT needing to be shut down before 2023?

    The TTC is doing everything to make the SRT vehicles operate safely. The TTC can’t guarantee reliability of the SRT especially if the signaling technology isn’t replaced. If the SRT continues to operate past 2023 lower quality of service and reliability risks will increase especially during extreme weather. Even with the state-of-good repair investment the SRT is still projected to have an average 18 major delays each month.

    How long will it take to convert the SRT into a busway?
    Operation of a busway on the existing SRT line may begin as early as Winter 2025, following modifications to the existing SRT right-of-way.

    Is there an interim solution to servicing SRT passengers between its closure in 2023 and the SRT busway beginning in 2025?
    As an interim solution, beginning in fall 2023, the TTC Board has approved delivering express bus service via the Kennedy and Midland Couplet. Buses will operate southbound via Midland and northbound via Kennedy between Scarborough Centre and Kennedy stations.

    Transit Service

    How many buses are needed to carry as many people as the SRT carries in peak hours?

    Overall, it is estimated that an additional 75 buses per hour will travel into Kennedy Station on today’s ridership levels, and up to 86 buses per hour by 2031. The replacement service is planned to operate better than one bus per minute, with the aim to replace more than Line 3 Scarborough’s current peak capacity. The TTC would need to purchase approximately 60 additional buses if the bus replacement service option is adopted.

    What roadways/corridors/routes are under consideration for changes? 

    The following major bus routes may be adjusted, extending from Scarborough Centre to Kennedy Station:

    • 38 Highland Creek – currently Scarborough Centre Station to University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, through the Rouge Hill community to Rouge Hill GO Station
    • 129 McCowan North – currently Scarborough Centre Station to Steeles Avenue and into York Region
    • 131 Nugget – currently Scarborough Centre Station to Malvern Town Centre and Morningside Avenue
    • 133 Neilson – currently Scarborough Centre Station to Centenary Hospital, Malvern Town Centre, and Finch Avenue East
    • 134C Progress – currently Scarborough Centre Station to Centennial College, to be combined with 43B Kennedy branch to terminate at Kennedy Station via Progress Avenue and Kennedy Road
    • 939A/B Finch Express – currently Scarborough Centre Station to Finch Station and Finch West Station
    • 954 Lawrence East Express – from Lawrence East Station to Starspray Loop via Lawrence Avenue East, extended to Kennedy Station via Midland and/or Kennedy
    • 985A Sheppard East Express – from Scarborough Centre Station to Don Mills Station

    These buses would run express from Scarborough Centre Station to Kennedy Station, with some of the routes serving an intermediate stop at Lawrence Avenue East. The roadways that the bus services could use are Kennedy Road, Midland Avenue, Brimley Road, and McCowan Road.

    Has the final decision on a new priority bus route been made? What is the recommended route?

    Yes. On April 14, 2022 the TTC Board approved the Kennedy Road and Midland Avenue Couplet. Buses will operate southbound via Midland and northbound via Kennedy between Scarborough Centre and Kennedy stations. Based on previous traffic studies completed in 2012, one-way operations were identified as the recommended routes at that time.

    Will local bus service be impacted?

    Select local routes normally terminating at Scarborough Centre Station will be extended directly to Kennedy Station. This represents approximately 21,000 customer-trips each day or 75% of the bus passengers who currently transfer between bus and train at Scarborough Centre Station. Local services on the north-south street will continue to run and serve all local stops, in addition to the extended bus routes.

    Will bus service mimic the SRT schedule? (First train, last train and headways?)

    The bus replacement service will operate the same hours as Line 3, from approximately 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. on all days. The bus service plan will offer headways at better than 1 minute during peak periods, and up to 2 minutes in the late evening period. This is based on the demand and need before COVID-19.

    What traffic analysis has been undertaken to determine impacts to the roadways in question and bus travel times from Scarborough Town Centre to Kennedy Station?

    A report was completed in 2012 to replace the SRT with bus replacement during LRT construction. Since then, no updated traffic analysis has been completed.

    Further analysis will be dependent on future work by City of Toronto Transportation Services and TTC. A variety of transit priority measures would be examined to form an overall contingency planning strategy to optimize traffic flow and bus operations.

    How many customers use the SRT?

    In 2019, Line 3 carried 35,000 customers daily, down from the traditional high of 40,000 daily customers. This is due to service reductions to free up trains to accommodate state of good repair work which began in 2018. During the pandemic, ridership is reduced to 30% of the 2019 ridership.

    Will there be a dedicated lane for a shuttle bus or replacement service? Will TTC add additional buses? 

    The TTC supports a priority lane for the bus replacement service but it would be subject to City Council approval. Sixty new hybrid buses would be required  for the bus replacement plan. These buses  could be stored and maintained at the new McNicoll Bus Garage.

    What changes to the roadways are proposed to keep transit and traffic moving safely?

    In the short term, changes to signal timing and bus lane designation could provide immediate benefits to bus operations from Scarborough Centre Station to Kennedy Station. In the medium term, treatments such as queue jump lanes, transit signal priority, and expanded bus stops (longer bus stops to accommodate articulated buses) could be implemented to further improve bus operations and customer experience on the bus replacement services.

    What new bus bays or other bus facilities are needed at Kennedy and Scarborough Centre Stations?

    Additional terminal capacity will be required to accommodate the increased bus volumes at Kennedy Station and Scarborough Centre Station. Additionally, high capacity bus stops and related amenities will be required at the Lawrence Avenue intermediary bus stop.

    Which Line 3/SRT stations would permanently close in 2023?

    Lawrence East, Ellesmere, Midland and McCowan, Scarborough Centre Station will remain open for buses.

    I live near an SRT station. How would I access transit if the SRT is fully decommissioned?

    The buses would run express from Scarborough Centre Station to Kennedy Station, with some of the routes serving an intermediate stop at Lawrence Avenue East.

    Preliminarily, for customers near Ellesmere Station, the 95 York Mills bus will continue to serve Ellesmere Road, and north-south bus routes on Kennedy (43) to Scarborough Centre (B branch only) and Kennedy Station, and Midland (57) to Kennedy Station.

    Customers near Midland Station can use the 43B Kennedy to reach Scarborough Centre Station, and the 43B Kennedy and 57 Midland to reach Kennedy Station.

    Customers near Lawrence East Station will continue to be served by 54 Lawrence East and 954 Lawrence East Express. To reach Kennedy Station, customers can use 43 Kennedy and 57 Midland. To reach Scarborough Centre, customers can use 43B Kennedy.

    Customers at McCowan Station are a short walk to Scarborough Centre Station where frequent bus service to Kennedy Station is available. Customers around McCowan Station will continue to be served by 9 Bellamy, 16 McCowan, and 134 Progress.

    How long will it take me to travel from Kennedy to Scarborough Centre Station?

    A trip from Kennedy to Scarborough Centre Station is expected to be approximately 15 to 18 minutes, depending on traffic and the degree of transit priority available on the corridor.

    Customer/Community Experience

    I am a SRT transit customer, how will my trip/journey change if I am now on a bus?

    We expect that bus trips may generally take longer than the SRT. However, we expect many of the updated routes will save our customers the transfer in their journey at Scarborough Centre Station and offer more reliable service.

    The bus routing options are to be determined, pending TTC Board review, and will involve public input and detailed analysis of travel times and overall customer experience. This will include potential improvements in the corridor to keep travel times as efficient and reliable as possible. An example of the type of travel time change that could occur is captured in the graphic below.

    Graphic showing that travel time from Malvern Station to Kennedy Station will take up to 48 minutes by bus when the SRT is decommissioned, versus the current travel time of 40 minutes 

    Will the additional buses create added congestion and pollution?

    The TTC will be purchasing hybrid buses in a commitment to greening our fleet and some of these vehicles will operate in this corridor. These eco-friendly vehicles incorporate hybrid technology and run off power generated onboard that is fueled by diesel engines. Though the vehicles are still using fuel to produce energy, they consume up to 30 per cent less than other non-hybrid buses.

    I don't use transit. How will my drive along the corridor be impacted?

    There may be increased bus volume in the corridor, which may impact commuting time and residential access. The City and the TTC will be doing investigations as well as outreach and consultations, to determine impacts to all road users.

    Decision Making

    When will a final decision be made on the future of the SRT?

    Staff prepared a report for consideration to the TTC board in April 2022 on the following:

    1. Funding source to maintain transit service until the opening of the Line 2 Scarborough Subway Extension in 2030.
    2. Details on the roadway infrastructure improvements for replacement bus service routing following further consultations with the City Transportation Services.
    3. Feasibility of converting the SRT into a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or busway.
    4. Summary of public input as outlined in the report.

    Cost

    What is the projected cost to decommission the SRT in 2023 and run buses on roadways until the opening of the Scarborough Subway in 2030?

    The cost is projected to be up to $375 million, including capital cost to purchase additional buses and complete upgrades to the road network and stations. The associated capital projects needed to support the closure of Line 3 Scarborough and the replacement bus service will require approximately $62.7 million in additional funding between 2023 and 2025. A further $67.8 million will be required to fund operating costs between 2023 and 2030 to provide bus service on this corridor.

  • News Release

  • Next steps

    TTC appreciates input received from community stakeholders at the February 10, 2021 Board meeting and through subsequent online surveys and consultations.

    On April 14, 2022, the TTC Board considered a report outlining options to temporarily replace the SRT service. The following link provides you with a copy of the report with complete details and analysis of the options, available by clicking here.

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