Many are criticizing Ontario’s provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, for failing to comment on when the billion-dollar Mississauga and Brampton Light Rail Transit (LRT) will be completed. The Hurontario LRT was initially slated to be completed sometime in 2024.
In 2021, Statistics Canada reported a population of 717,961 residents living in Mississauga. To support our rising population, Mississauga will require improved transportation services.
According to Infrastructure Ontario, the LRT has a contract value of C$4.6 billion and is part of the “Ontario Government’s commitment to expand transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.” The LRT is expected to improve transportation in Mississauga and Brampton, fostering faster and more accessible commutes for the swiftly increasing number of travellers in the city.
Mississauga News reported that construction of the LRT was initially planned to start in 2018 and be finished by 2020. However, the LRT pushed the construction date to 2019, with the official opening of the LRT set to take place during the fall of 2024. With the new 2024 year kicking in, there is yet to be an official completion date set for the Metrolinx project.
Many students across the GTA commute to the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) via various forms of transportation. The Medium spoke to students about how this pushback on finishing construction has affected their everyday commute time.
Nissa Hillaire, a first-year student studying management and geography, has a long commute ahead of her to the UTM campus. “I commute from Bramalea City Centre. On a good day, if I don’t miss the bus, if they run continuously, and if there are no delays, this takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour. If I miss a bus, or there are delays, it takes roughly one hour and 45 minutes to two hours, and I risk missing a class.”
Despite cuts to the project in the last few years, the LRT will feature 19 stops across an 18-kilometre route.
In December, a Metrolinx spokesperson declined to provide an opening date for the line. Many residents are fed up with the ambiguity over a general completion date and frustrated with how long the project is taking.
Students on campus like Hillaire are not familiar with the project but are excited about its release. “I have not heard of the construction of a train link, this was the first time. I believe it would be helpful because it would run regularly, especially in the evenings after 5:30 p.m., which is when the 199 UTM Express bus service ends,” said Hillaire. “This would mean I can still get home without spending an absurd amount of money on Ubers, or nearly two hours [on] buses.”
Anaum Arif, a fifth-year double majoring in psychology and biology, shared similar sentiments to Hillaire’s experience with transit. “The fact that there aren’t more options to reach the school [from] Brampton keeps my commute longer. I’m not too knowledgeable regarding the construction plan, but five years seems a bit extensive.”
For students like Hillaire and Arif, the project will provide commuters with an enhanced transportation system that will help reduce the stress of commuting. According to Infrastructure Ontario, the project will do so by providing more reliable, comfortable train rides, reducing traffic on Hurontario Road, and reducing travelling times across the city.