The demise of the depressing bus station at Dundas and Bay could be at hand
Tuesday’s headlines about a planned new office-tower complex near Union Station tended to focus on the fancy elevated park and new GO bus terminal that are coming as part of Metrolinx’s deal with developer Ivanhoé Cambridge. But it turns out that this cloud of real estate PR may have yet another silver lining: it could spell the end of the Toronto Coach Terminal, one of the city’s more depressing pieces of transit infrastructure.
The coach terminal, located just north of Dundas and Bay streets, is where generations of Torontonians have gone in order to catch buses out of town. The building’s 1932 art deco facade is nice enough, but a 1980s reno has left the interior looking a little tired, and the layout forces passengers to line up in what amounts to an open-air parking garage. The TTC owns the building through a subsidiary corporation, but in 2012 it leased the place out to Greyhound and Coach Canada. For the past few years, Metrolinx has been looking for ways of bringing the operation closer to Union Station.
Word as to whether the new GO bus terminal would include space for Greyhound and Coach Canada was conspicuously absent from Tuesday’s big announcement, but Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins confirmed that her agency is in talks with the city about the possibility of moving private intercity bus service to the new space. If this were to happen, the TTC would finally be able to get the coach terminal—an operational headache and a poor moneymaker—off its books. It could declare the building surplus, turn it over to Build Toronto and then use 75 per cent of the sale proceeds to fund transit upgrades.
An outcome like that could make a lot of people—including riders and transit officials—very happy. At the moment, though, Metrolinx isn’t offering any guarantees. “If [the city] would like to sell the Bay-Dundas terminal…we would be happy to work out an arrangement,” Aikins wrote in an email.