Humber College North campus students who dread cramped buses may finally be relieved come 2021, as a new Finch LRT is expected to be introduced.
Ontario’s leading transportation agency Metrolinx is installing an 18-stop electric train system throughout Finch Avenue West, which aims to provide transit solutions for underserviced neighbourhoods and student commuters.
The Finch West Light Rail Transit will connect to the Spadina subway extension at Keele Street and continue 11 kilometres down a straight path to Humber’s North campus.
“This part of the city, Northwest Toronto, is very under serviced when it comes to transportation,” Metrolinx spokesperson Azim Ahmed said. “Smaller communities between here and Keele [Street], like Jamestown [Crescent], don’t have a lot of transportation accessibility.
“This will help provide an easier connection for everyday commutes.”
The LRT can carry up to 314 passengers while travelling on dedicated lanes at an average speed of 27 km/h in mixed traffic, which is 10 kilometres faster than an average TTC bus.
Though the LRT is slightly slower than a subway, it will operate on street and underground levels to effectively cut back on travel times.
Scott Bowers, a senior project manager for Metrolinx, said the Finch West LRT plans to properly utilize the train’s multi-level operating feature when connecting to Humber College.
“[The LRT] will go below ground. It will cross under Humber College Boulevard at the [Highway 27] intersection,” he said. “The new station stops will be between Humber College Boulevard’s south end as well as a new entrance road [on the north end].”
The LRT can also be boarded through all doors, allowing easier access for passengers with disabilities, baby strollers and carts.
Metrolinx recently presented its new project to Humber North students, featuring a model LRT placed in front of the school’s left entrance.
The inoperative LRT was accompanied by three Metrolinx representatives to advocate for the new train system.
Metrolinx spokesperson Joanna Hui said the LRT is more convenient than a subway in terms of travel and cost efficiency.
“Think of the Light Rail Transit as a bus-subway hybrid. It combines the better parts of both of them while removing their weaknesses,” Hui said.
“It costs $300 million a kilometre for subway tracks, whereas the LRT takes only $100 million,” he said. “That’s a lot of [taxpayers’] money that could be used elsewhere. “
Humber students who saw the brightly green coloured LRT model parked along their school’s walkway were interested with the design and concept on the train.
“It looked like a [bulkier] version of a subway, but after being told more about its features, I’m glad it caught my attention,” said computer programming student Marco Bartosz.
Dropadi Pateri, 39, of Rexdale, said he was a little overwhelmed by the size of the LRT but was relieved when she heard more about it.
“When I first saw [the LRT], I thought it was a movie prop or something,” she said. “[The representative] told me it was a new train coming to Toronto. He told me it would be faster than the buses right now, so I’m excited to use them.”