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Crowd-funded bus in Liberty Village provides alternative to TTC

Residents who live in Liberty Village got an unconventional new option to get into downtown Toronto on Monday.

A bus dubbed the Liberty Village Express, a pilot project that was crowd-funded by residents who live in the neighbourhood, took passengers to and from Liberty Village and Union Station.

The project was launched by Toronto start-up company Line Six who felt residents in the area were being under-serviced by the TTC.

The 24-seater bus will run four times a day between Liberty Village and Union station, travelling via Wellington, Niagara, Bathurst and Front streets.

The first eastbound bus departed Liberty Village, at Pirandello and East Liberty streets, at 7 a.m. on Monday, but no one showed up. However, people did arrive for the next three buses at 7:45 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.

The westbound bus departed Union Station, at Front Street and University Avenue, at the following times.

  • 7:20 a.m.
  • 8:10 a.m.
  • 8:50 a.m.

Officials at Line Six said the estimated trip time is between 10 and 15 minutes.

Bus route of the Liberty Village Express. SOURCE: ridelinesix.com
Bus route of the Liberty Village Express. SOURCE: ridelinesix.com

People who contributed $25 to the crowd-fund were guaranteed a seat on the bus “for one trip every weekday for one week.” Those who contributed $50 were guaranteed two seats every weekday for one week.

On its website, Line Six said there are no seats available on this route, but that “more seats will open up soon.”

The project is being run this week only, and if successful, organizers hope to make it a regular feature. If the line continues, it will cost $5 a ride.

Residents in Liberty Village have complained of overcrowded streetcars on King Street. The 504 King streetcar is the busiest of the TTC’s surface routes and carries about 60,000 riders a day.

The TTC board is considering allowing all-door boarding on King and other routes early as Jan. 1 to shorten delays from boarding passengers; however, new larger-capacity streetcars won’t be running on King until 2017.

Would you consider taking a privately-funded transit alternative if one were available? Share your comments in the space below.