The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) recently admitted a critical mistake that resulted in the delay of the Scarborough Busway project. This news emerged after officials acknowledged their failure to realize that the new transit project must undergo an environmental assessment before initiating construction.
TTC officials apparently underestimated the project's complexity, leading to a delay that left Scarborough riders enduring continuing inconveniences. Following the early decommissioning of the Scarborough Rapid Transit (RT) system last year, these riders were left with replacement buses. Unfortunately, they are facing further delays on the route's proposed busway.
"We made a mistake," TTC CEO Rick Leary confessed, accepting the blame for the miscalculation. "I wish we had done things differently, but we are committed to advancing this project," he added.
The proposed four-kilometre busway was designed to replace the decommissioned Scarborough RT, serving as an interim solution until the Line 2 subway extension from Kennedy Station to Sheppard Avenue and McCowan Road is completed in 2030. However, the delay of the busway completion date, from the end of 2026 to the second quarter of 2027, and the increasing costs—rising by 12 million to a whopping total of 679 million—have cast shadows on these plans.
The report provided by the TTC to the commission board meeting last week revealed that the need to conduct an environmental assessment played a significant part in the project's delay. TTC initially assumed that the project wouldn't be subject to a provincially mandated assessment process, which aims to reduce a project's negative impacts and requires extensive study and public consultations. An environmental assessment, the construction of a barrier between the busway and the neighbouring GO Transit corridor, and an archeological study were the main factors that contributed to the delay and the increased costs.
TTC board members, including Coun Dianne Saxe and Coun Josh Matlow, pointed out these misinterpretations as failures and criticized the oversight. The concession from TTC officials has compounded the challenges faced by Scarborough riders, who have long suffered due to inaction on improving transit services.
Despite the crisis, Leary maintained that the TTC would do all it could to expedite the busway's construction. However, the city is seeking provincial funding to cover the increasing construction costs, and currently, this expenditure isn't included in Toronto's 2024 budget.
The TTC is expected to serve over 118,000 weekly customers once the busway is operational.
Source: The Star - Andrew Francis Wallace)