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Metrolinx: Finch West LRT

Steve X

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Hate to say it, but iON along the street most definitely feels like the Spadina line or the 512. Too many stops at intersections and really bad dwell times. Hopefully things improve. That being said, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this type of service. Streetcars are vital to a transportation network, and writing them off as a lesser form of transportation is nuts.
If you actually measured the distance between ION stops, they are ~650m apart compared to the 250-350m apart on the TTC streetcar network. I think speed and dwell time will improve once the operators get used to driving the Flexitys with cars around it. It will take a few months for things to settle down. Cars will get used to driving around the tracks, accidents will drop allowing operators to drive a bit faster. As for dwell time, the vehicles won't be full as the new factor is gone with the system entering ridership building phase. It's not going to be stuffed like the free period. Signal timing could be improved.

The ION is a nice local urban LRT line. I wouldn't consider it mass transit. Ottawa's system is mass transit while Eglinton is both mass transit and local LRT. TTC's LRT operators would likely be trained like they are driving a streetcar on the surface section. I would think TTC being the operator be the one whos setting the schedule too. I fear they will write the schedule like a streetcar on the surface section and introduce a slow speed limit across intersections. With the TTC operating it, I think the operating experience will be there on day one unlike the ION but it also comes with all the annoying streetcar operating practices.
 

Streety McCarface

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If you actually measured the distance between ION stops, they are ~650m apart compared to the 250-350m apart on the TTC streetcar network. I think speed and dwell time will improve once the operators get used to driving the Flexitys with cars around it. It will take a few months for things to settle down. Cars will get used to driving around the tracks, accidents will drop allowing operators to drive a bit faster. As for dwell time, the vehicles won't be full as the new factor is gone with the system entering ridership building phase. It's not going to be stuffed like the free period. Signal timing could be improved.

The ION is a nice local urban LRT line. I wouldn't consider it mass transit. Ottawa's system is mass transit while Eglinton is both mass transit and local LRT. TTC's LRT operators would likely be trained like they are driving a streetcar on the surface section. I would think TTC being the operator be the one whos setting the schedule too. I fear they will write the schedule like a streetcar on the surface section and introduce a slow speed limit across intersections. With the TTC operating it, I think the operating experience will be there on day one unlike the ION but it also comes with all the annoying streetcar operating practices.
Oh, yes, stop spacing on the iON is definitely an improvement from the streetcar stop spacing, but the point is that because of all the slow orders, unnecessary stops at intersections, longer than normal dwell times, among many other things, the line just feels like you're taking a streetcar. There's nothing wrong with this, I just think it's important to point out the teething issues our system is having, and make sure none of the other lines make the mistake of ignoring our challenges.

Eglinton is definitely mass transit, but only for 2/3s of its length, it's the surface section that's going to screw everything up, I agree. From the looks of it, Finch might follow through as achieving the title of a streetcar, and I sure as hell hope it doesn't. Especially since we've been lobbying for Light rail on a bunch of corridors with the premise that they won't act as streetcars. If it does, it will be the end of light rail in this city. We will never see key corridors like Jane, Eglinton East, Steeles, and Dufferin get the transit improvements they very much need.
 

denfromoakvillemilton

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Oh, yes, stop spacing on the iON is definitely an improvement from the streetcar stop spacing, but the point is that because of all the slow orders, unnecessary stops at intersections, longer than normal dwell times, among many other things, the line just feels like you're taking a streetcar. There's nothing wrong with this, I just think it's important to point out the teething issues our system is having, and make sure none of the other lines make the mistake of ignoring our challenges.

Eglinton is definitely mass transit, but only for 2/3s of its length, it's the surface section that's going to screw everything up, I agree. From the looks of it, Finch might follow through as achieving the title of a streetcar, and I sure as hell hope it doesn't. Especially since we've been lobbying for Light rail on a bunch of corridors with the premise that they won't act as streetcars. If it does, it will be the end of light rail in this city. We will never see key corridors like Jane, Eglinton East, Steeles, and Dufferin get the transit improvements they very much need.
Eh.... Just be honest and add them to the streetcar system. Don't pretend that their something that their not. Jane needs RT. That's a streetcar. Just tell the truth. I can go back and forth on the surface section of crosstown. If it was connected to the SRT I would 100% agree with you but it's not. It will go to UTSC eventually so it's okay. If it was underground there would be a transfer to the EELRT at Kennedy and people would just complain about that. But I agree, if Finch doesn't come closed to what was planned then LRT is probably over. Looks like @BurlOak was looking to be correct after all, at least on the main premise.
 

W. K. Lis

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Eh.... Just be honest and add them to the streetcar system. Don't pretend that their something that their not. Jane needs RT. That's a streetcar. Just tell the truth. I can go back and forth on the surface section of crosstown. If it was connected to the SRT I would 100% agree with you but it's not. It will go to UTSC eventually so it's okay. If it was underground there would be a transfer to the EELRT at Kennedy and people would just complain about that. But I agree, if Finch doesn't come closed to what was planned then LRT is probably over. Looks like @BurlOak was looking to be correct after all, at least on the main premise.
In the 1950's, Chicago converted many of its PCC streetcars to the 6000 series elevated cars. See link and link. So I guess the elevated rapid transit system in Chicago are really streetcars?
 

Steve X

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Eglinton is definitely mass transit, but only for 2/3s of its length, it's the surface section that's going to screw everything up, I agree. From the looks of it, Finch might follow through as achieving the title of a streetcar, and I sure as hell hope it doesn't. Especially since we've been lobbying for Light rail on a bunch of corridors with the premise that they won't act as streetcars. If it does, it will be the end of light rail in this city. We will never see key corridors like Jane, Eglinton East, Steeles, and Dufferin get the transit improvements they very much need.
In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with a streetcar portion on a LRT line. It doesn't have to be either one. You can complain that the Calgary C-Trains through the core on 7th Avenue is really a streetcar. They have excessive dwelling time, extensive about of traffic lights and run in mix traffic with buses. Yes it can be worse than the ION. It could take up to 20 minutes to get pass the core with trains blocking every intersection. After all, does it matter? Do they stop building LRT cause they have a streetcar section? Relating to the ION, yes the C-Trains are totally messed up but they got a lot more built than Edmonton since the chose to use their money wisely instead of an underground tunnel through the core.

In Europe, stadtbahn/pre-metro lines are more commonly built with mix underground, surface LRT and mix traffic sections. There's nothing wrong with that approach. Lower ridership sections tend to end up with lower amount of priority.
 

robmausser

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In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with a streetcar portion on a LRT line.
Sure, as long as there are no issues between the completely underground ATC section and the above ground section with multiple lights and intersections.

I, for one, predict a bunching nightmare that will be newsworthy fiasco and will take some future modification to sort out, perhaps turning around every other LRT at Laird crossover.
 

Streety McCarface

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In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with a streetcar portion on a LRT line. It doesn't have to be either one. You can complain that the Calgary C-Trains through the core on 7th Avenue is really a streetcar. They have excessive dwelling time, extensive about of traffic lights and run in mix traffic with buses. Yes it can be worse than the ION. It could take up to 20 minutes to get pass the core with trains blocking every intersection. After all, does it matter? Do they stop building LRT cause they have a streetcar section? Relating to the ION, yes the C-Trains are totally messed up but they got a lot more built than Edmonton since the chose to use their money wisely instead of an underground tunnel through the core.

In Europe, stadtbahn/pre-metro lines are more commonly built with mix underground, surface LRT and mix traffic sections. There's nothing wrong with that approach. Lower ridership sections tend to end up with lower amount of priority.
Calgary is honestly a mixed bag with me. On one hand, it serves a good portion of people well so it can attract riders easily, but on another hand, the line is constrained, severely, and it sucks trying to get though the core.

I think the biggest difference between Calgary's C Train and Toronto's Crosstown is that the crosstown is already serving an insanely busy transit corridor, likely the heaviest used bus corridor in Canada and the United States. It makes sense to invest the money there and build it out for the future. Calgary never had this when they were building their system, they had to attract riders to the line in order to make it a viable alternative. The crosstown (and finch for that matter as well) exists to serve commuters better, it should vastly improve the commute, not provide a service barely better than the bus (not the case of the underground section).

There is a way to fix this very easily in the future if ridership ever demands it. Once the Relief Line reaches Sheppard (or Eglinton, depending on how they build the line), they can split Line 5 in 2, repurpose the western section as a full subway, and keep the eastern section as a light rail line.
 

Steve X

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Sure, as long as there are no issues between the completely underground ATC section and the above ground section with multiple lights and intersections.

I, for one, predict a bunching nightmare that will be newsworthy fiasco and will take some future modification to sort out, perhaps turning around every other LRT at Laird crossover.
If it happens, I would think the disaster would be TTC's management's fault than an issue of the line.

Calgary is honestly a mixed bag with me. On one hand, it serves a good portion of people well so it can attract riders easily, but on another hand, the line is constrained, severely, and it sucks trying to get though the core.

I think the biggest difference between Calgary's C Train and Toronto's Crosstown is that the crosstown is already serving an insanely busy transit corridor, likely the heaviest used bus corridor in Canada and the United States. It makes sense to invest the money there and build it out for the future. Calgary never had this when they were building their system, they had to attract riders to the line in order to make it a viable alternative. The crosstown (and finch for that matter as well) exists to serve commuters better, it should vastly improve the commute, not provide a service barely better than the bus (not the case of the underground section).

There is a way to fix this very easily in the future if ridership ever demands it. Once the Relief Line reaches Sheppard (or Eglinton, depending on how they build the line), they can split Line 5 in 2, repurpose the western section as a full subway, and keep the eastern section as a light rail line.
I really don't see how you claim the entire Eglinton is an insanely busy corridor. The portion east of DM isn't really that busy and definitely no where close to the heaviest bus corridor. Honestly I would believe if they tried to build the entire Crosstown with grade separation, they'll end up tunnelling to Science Centre and terminating the line there for the foreseeable future. Bloor and Yonge streetcar lines were carrying 10-20 times what the 34A is carrying today when those subway opened.

Now the math with the current ridership:
The 34A currently runs every ~6 minutes during peak hours (approximately 500-600 ppdph capacity) on the Scarborough portion which is nowhere near subway/LRT/Streetcar demands. In rush hour, a 2-car consist running every 4 minutes will result in 40 riders per train or 20 riders per car! In off peak hours, the surface portion of the Crosstown will end up with plenty of seats. The current headways is ~8 minutes during midday equaling 270 ppdph. During midday, running 2-car consists every 6 minutes will result in 27 riders per train or 13.5 riders per car. This is the TTC standards meaning the busiest of that period. You call this insanely busy???
 
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denfromoakvillemilton

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If it happens, I would think the disaster would be TTC's management's fault than an issue of the line.


I really don't see how you claim the entire Eglinton is an insanely busy corridor. The portion east of DM isn't really that busy and definitely no where close to the heaviest bus corridor. Honestly I would believe if they tried to build the entire Crosstown with grade separation, they'll end up tunnelling to Science Centre and terminating the line there for the foreseeable future. Bloor and Yonge streetcar lines were carrying 10-20 times what the 34A is carrying today when those subway opened.

Now the math with the current ridership:
The 34A currently runs every ~6 minutes during peak hours (approximately 500-600 ppdph capacity) on the Scarborough portion which is nowhere near subway/LRT/Streetcar demands. In rush hour, a 2-car consist running every 4 minutes will result in 40 riders per train or 20 riders per car! In off peak hours, the surface portion of the Crosstown will end up with plenty of seats. The current headways is ~8 minutes during midday equaling 270 ppdph. During midday, running 2-car consists every 6 minutes will result in 27 riders per train or 13.5 riders per car. This is the TTC standards meaning the busiest of that period. You call this insanely busy???
But what if the srt connected to the eastern half of crosstown? That would have changed things.
 

Streety McCarface

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If it happens, I would think the disaster would be TTC's management's fault than an issue of the line.


I really don't see how you claim the entire Eglinton is an insanely busy corridor. The portion east of DM isn't really that busy and definitely no where close to the heaviest bus corridor. Honestly I would believe if they tried to build the entire Crosstown with grade separation, they'll end up tunnelling to Science Centre and terminating the line there for the foreseeable future. Bloor and Yonge streetcar lines were carrying 10-20 times what the 34A is carrying today when those subway opened.

Now the math with the current ridership:
The 34A currently runs every ~6 minutes during peak hours (approximately 500-600 ppdph capacity) on the Scarborough portion which is nowhere near subway/LRT/Streetcar demands. In rush hour, a 2-car consist running every 4 minutes will result in 40 riders per train or 20 riders per car! In off peak hours, the surface portion of the Crosstown will end up with plenty of seats. The current headways is ~8 minutes during midday equaling 270 ppdph. During midday, running 2-car consists every 6 minutes will result in 27 riders per train or 13.5 riders per car. This is the TTC standards meaning the busiest of that period. You call this insanely busy???
It's far more complicated than that, and I'll show you why. Eglinton is not Yonge or Bloor, it is being built after 4 different subway lines (not routes, lines. Line 1 is one route, but runs along the Yonge line, and the University-Spadina Line) were built in this city. Back in the day, the majority of people had to transfer to the 2 main corridors of the city (bloor and Yonge) regardless of where they were in the city. These days, there are subways on Yonge, University-Spadina, Bloor, and Sheppard. People have many choices for getting to the subway, and will often ride a bus past Eglinton in order to get to either Sheppard or Bloor, or away from Eglinton to get to Yonge or Kennedy.

When the crosstown opens, things will dramatically change, there will be a brand new rapid transit line on Eglinton, and for the majority of people that currently do not use the Eglinton Corridor (especially the Eglinton East corridor) as a gateway to the subway will switch their commute to head to Eglinton. This means that the actual ridership usage of the line will be far greater than the current capacity of the corridor. In terms of the number of buses counted outside of Eglinton Station, both Eglinton East and Eglinton west see about 1000 buses per day. While the 34 sees a bit more than half the riders of the 32, we have to remember that there are other buses that run on Eglinton East, especially prior to Don Mills. These being the 51, 54, and 56A. A summary of the bus totals can be seen below:
Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 10.57.57 PM.png

NOTE: the 32 sees abnormally high bus counts because of the way the TTC counts buses at Eglinton West Station and the fact that the 51, 54, and 56A have better evening service overall. The totals are correct, and ultimately this is pretty irrelevant to the main point. However, when we consider the general traffic on Eglinton today solely based on the number of buses that enter and Exit Eglinton station, we can assume that ridership is pretty equal between the East Half and the West Half of the city.

Sure, the 34A looks like it sees relatively pathetic service by todays standards, and that's fine, but we also have to consider every other bus route that crosses the Eglinton Corridor in the East:
Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 11.03.55 PM.png
I have summarized the bus tally's for the corridor east of Don Mills Road. It's actually much higher when you consider the section between Yonge and Don Mills, but the east portion is where we're focussing:
Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 11.07.38 PM.png

Ultimately, there are close to 900 buses that intersect with the surface section of the Eglinton East corridor. These 8 bus routes will obviously not see all their traffic diverted to Eglinton Avenue, but it's safe to say that a good portion (probably a bit more than half) will choose to use Eglinton over Bloor or Sheppard when the Crosstown Opens. We can safely assume that approximately 450 more buses worth of people will use the eastern portion of the Eglinton Corridor. If we're looking at morning peak loads, that's the equivalent of 34 more busloads of people per hour on the Eglinton East corridor, or close to 2K additional passengers per hour in the peak direction of travel, 4K passengers per hour in the peak direction if all passengers choose to transfer at the Eglinton corridor. This would all be on the opening day, not 10 years from the opening of the crosstown, and just on a section 1/3 that of the entire crosstown.
 

Steve X

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It's far more complicated than that, and I'll show you why. Eglinton is not Yonge or Bloor, it is being built after 4 different subway lines (not routes, lines. Line 1 is one route, but runs along the Yonge line, and the University-Spadina Line) were built in this city. Back in the day, the majority of people had to transfer to the 2 main corridors of the city (bloor and Yonge) regardless of where they were in the city. These days, there are subways on Yonge, University-Spadina, Bloor, and Sheppard. People have many choices for getting to the subway, and will often ride a bus past Eglinton in order to get to either Sheppard or Bloor, or away from Eglinton to get to Yonge or Kennedy.

When the crosstown opens, things will dramatically change, there will be a brand new rapid transit line on Eglinton, and for the majority of people that currently do not use the Eglinton Corridor (especially the Eglinton East corridor) as a gateway to the subway will switch their commute to head to Eglinton. This means that the actual ridership usage of the line will be far greater than the current capacity of the corridor. In terms of the number of buses counted outside of Eglinton Station, both Eglinton East and Eglinton west see about 1000 buses per day. While the 34 sees a bit more than half the riders of the 32, we have to remember that there are other buses that run on Eglinton East, especially prior to Don Mills. These being the 51, 54, and 56A. A summary of the bus totals can be seen below:
View attachment 192904
NOTE: the 32 sees abnormally high bus counts because of the way the TTC counts buses at Eglinton West Station and the fact that the 51, 54, and 56A have better evening service overall. The totals are correct, and ultimately this is pretty irrelevant to the main point. However, when we consider the general traffic on Eglinton today solely based on the number of buses that enter and Exit Eglinton station, we can assume that ridership is pretty equal between the East Half and the West Half of the city.

Sure, the 34A looks like it sees relatively pathetic service by todays standards, and that's fine, but we also have to consider every other bus route that crosses the Eglinton Corridor in the East:
View attachment 192907
I have summarized the bus tally's for the corridor east of Don Mills Road. It's actually much higher when you consider the section between Yonge and Don Mills, but the east portion is where we're focussing:
View attachment 192911
Ultimately, there are close to 900 buses that intersect with the surface section of the Eglinton East corridor. These 8 bus routes will obviously not see all their traffic diverted to Eglinton Avenue, but it's safe to say that a good portion (probably a bit more than half) will choose to use Eglinton over Bloor or Sheppard when the Crosstown Opens. We can safely assume that approximately 450 more buses worth of people will use the eastern portion of the Eglinton Corridor. If we're looking at morning peak loads, that's the equivalent of 34 more busloads of people per hour on the Eglinton East corridor, or close to 2K additional passengers per hour in the peak direction of travel, 4K passengers per hour in the peak direction if all passengers choose to transfer at the Eglinton corridor. This would all be on the opening day, not 10 years from the opening of the crosstown, and just on a section 1/3 that of the entire crosstown.
The busy portion is built correctly as mass transit. Also note that certain routes like the 51 Leslie runs on Eglinton only to make a connection to the subway. It isn't needed. Eglinton Avenue West has significantly higher ridership because it's much more difficult to take a south to Line 2. Those routes like 41/941 Keele and 47 Lansdowne takes 20-25 minutes whereas for 24/924 Victoria Park, it's around 8-10 minutes. Plus the Spadina Line runs southeast instead of sticking to the grid system making it a faster trip.

You're making a very bad assumption that everyone is heading downtown or wants to get to the Yonge. I predict only 10-25% of those riders would actually make the transfer to Line 5 instead. It'll likely attract other east-west corridor riders than these north-south corridor riders. For Warden and Birchmount, Line 2 is just 5 minutes more and is much more direct to downtown than Line 5 which takes a NW alignment west of Victoria Park. There is pretty much zero time saving by moving downtown bound riders to Line 5. When Line 4 opened, routes 224 and 268 was implemented to get riders to Line 1 faster. That failed misery. Even if there was 4000 ppdph, it still doesn't warrant a subway. The Bloor streetcar was carrying something like 9000 ppdph in its final years and that is a streetcar.

Shifting riders from Line 2 to Line 5 isn't a great way to increase ridership. It just improves transit quality but increases operating cost. Line 2 will just lose half its east end riders and should receive a service reduction to make up for that. Surely we can see 10-20% increase in ridership if we build out those suburb lines but we won't see a major boom in ridership.
 

Streety McCarface

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The busy portion is built correctly as mass transit. Also note that certain routes like the 51 Leslie runs on Eglinton only to make a connection to the subway. It isn't needed. Eglinton Avenue West has significantly higher ridership because it's much more difficult to take a south to Line 2. Those routes like 41/941 Keele and 47 Lansdowne takes 20-25 minutes whereas for 24/924 Victoria Park, it's around 8-10 minutes. Plus the Spadina Line runs southeast instead of sticking to the grid system making it a faster trip.

You're making a very bad assumption that everyone is heading downtown or wants to get to the Yonge. I predict only 10-25% of those riders would actually make the transfer to Line 5 instead. It'll likely attract other east-west corridor riders than these north-south corridor riders. For Warden and Birchmount, Line 2 is just 5 minutes more and is much more direct to downtown than Line 5 which takes a NW alignment west of Victoria Park. There is pretty much zero time saving by moving downtown bound riders to Line 5. When Line 4 opened, routes 224 and 268 was implemented to get riders to Line 1 faster. That failed misery. Even if there was 4000 ppdph, it still doesn't warrant a subway. The Bloor streetcar was carrying something like 9000 ppdph in its final years and that is a streetcar.

Shifting riders from Line 2 to Line 5 isn't a great way to increase ridership. It just improves transit quality but increases operating cost. Line 2 will just lose half its east end riders and should receive a service reduction to make up for that. Surely we can see 10-20% increase in ridership if we build out those suburb lines but we won't see a major boom in ridership.
I'd argue those estimates are too low. In terms of direct downtown access, the same number of transfers are required regardless if you head to Eglinton or you head to Bloor, so riders will ultimately choose the faster and more comfortable journey. If you're heading to either the Yonge or Spadina line, Eglinton will probably be your initial preference. Line 2 is overcrowded, and you're more likely to get a seat if you transfer onto the Yonge or University line if you transfer at Eglinton. This all depends on the crowding of the Crosstown, but there is no doubt that assuming low usage, people would choose eglinton over Line 2, it's simply a much less stressful commute.

You're right, not everyone heading downtown wants to get to Yonge, but that is why I stated that a more reasonable assumption for transferring passengers was half of 4000K PPD. In terms of passengers transferring to the spadina line, I don't know how many people would actually make that shift but it highly depends on the preference of the commuter. Who knows, maybe the crosstown will be significantly better than passing through Bloor-Yonge or dealing with the awful platform situation at St. George. The thing is, we don't entirely know, and we won't be able to predict with our current computer science knowledge. This is why assuming a worst case scenario of 10-25% of riders is a bad idea, for all we know, people could be so fed up with Line 2's persistent delays and massive overcrowding that the majority may change their commute to use Eglinton over Line 2.

There are other benefits as well. For one, when there are subway delays/closures on line 2, line 5 provides a very viable and attractive alternative to dealing with Shuttle buses or being stranded at a line 2 station. Will the light rail be able to handle the huge influx of commuters that would use the line in these situations?

We also have to consider the fact that no line's outer ends ever reach full capacity (With the exception of maybe the Yonge line on certain days). Sheppard, bloor, Danforth, and Spadina all see passenger use per hour nowhere near the 30K PPHPD threshold, that occurs only near the central section. Why should we hold Eglinton to a completely different standard?

My biggest issue with not building the line as a subway from the beginning was the fact that it does affect the west and central section as well. Choosing low floor LRT removes compatibility with the rest of the system, costs more to tunnel, provides a worse rider experience (less available standing room) and provides far less capacity. Had Eglinton been built as an all-surface level line this discussion wouldn't be occurring, but Metrolinx and the TTC want this to be a high-capacity, high-frequency, high speed rapid transit line in at least the central section. If the line doesn't live up to its promise and there is overcrowding within the first year, then we severely screwed up.

I'd also argue that the distance between Leslie and Eglinton station is a good 4 km, quite a significant distance in the bus world. That 4 km trek does indeed exist to serve the subway, but it also exists to serve passengers on Eglinton in that span of travel, therefore, buses traveling from Leslie to Eglinton should be counted as Eglinton buses.
 

Rainforest

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There is a way to fix this very easily in the future if ridership ever demands it. Once the Relief Line reaches Sheppard (or Eglinton, depending on how they build the line), they can split Line 5 in 2, repurpose the western section as a full subway, and keep the eastern section as a light rail line.
If needed, Eglinton can be operated with two separate services, sharing the central section. One between Mt Dennis and Kennedy (or even further east), the other between the airport and Laird. Not sure such a change will be needed, but it should be doable if desired.
 

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