Province Asks Toronto to Consider ‘Microtransit’ Alternative to Low-Performing Bus Routes

In a letter sent out to Mayor John Tory from Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney, Toronto has been asked to review low-performing bus routes and work with the province and Metrolinx to determine “the feasibility of implementing microtransit options,” CBC News is reporting.


For those who aren’t aware, the term ‘microtransit’ usually refers to transit systems where the customer summons a ride on-demand via a website or app, sometimes through a public-private partnership with companies like Uber.

In its letter, dated Aug.12, the Province has, however, not clarified whether a private partnership with a company like Uber is part of its vision for microtransit. 

“Microtransit refers to small scale, flexible transportation services,” said a Ministry of Transportation spokesperson. “[It] may offer a more sustainable way to provide transit service to unserved and underserved areas.” 

Meanwhile, Austin Jafri, a member of the transit advocacy group TTC Riders, says the real answer is to improve bus service long-term. “The reason ridership is low is because the service is not great; it comes every half-hour,” he said.

Jafri also worries that any switch to a microtransit model could involve the introduction of fare-by-distance. 

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