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West Toronto residents' association crowdfunding for shuttle to Go station

The shuttle would run regularly during morning and afternoon rush hour Monday to Friday, connecting condos on Manitoba Street, Park Lawn Road and Silver Moon Drive to the Mimico GO station.

A Google Maps illustration from the GoFundMe page shows the proposed route of the shuttle.

GoFundMe/Park Lawn and Lakeshore Improvement Association

A Google Maps illustration from the GoFundMe page shows the proposed route of the shuttle.

That's the dream: to be picked up near their homes and dropped off at the GO station during morning and afternoon rush hour.

But a West Toronto residents' association has been forced to resort to crowdfunding their desired express shuttle to make up for what they argue are gaps in TTC service.

Thirty-three-year-old entrepreneur Scot Johnson has started a GoFundMe page for the project, which aims to raise $50,000. So far he's raised $450 in five days — and says if he receives even half the goal, he'll launch the shuttle using a private company.

"We're not offering a transit service per se," he told Metro. "That shuttle is a perk of being part of the association."

Four-month memberships to the Park Lawn and Lakeshore Improvement Association go for between $175 and $225 a pop. The shuttle would run regularly during morning and afternoon rush hour Monday to Friday, connecting condos on Manitoba Street, Park Lawn Road and Silver Moon Drive to the Mimico GO station.

Johnson said it would drastically cut the amount of time it takes to get downtown. He said it currently takes about 70-80 minutes during rush hour, with no direct bus despite an influx of new residents.

"There's a bunch of new condos and no new transit," he explained.

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said the agency is involved in two city-led studies assessing needs in the area and deferred to the city regarding whether such a service would be permitted. A city spokesperson said a shuttle would fall under provincial regulation since they carry more than 10 people.

It's not the first community to struggle with what's known as the "last mile," the stretch between home and a transit station, said Cherise Burda, executive director of the Ryerson City Building Institute.

"This is what happens when we don't complete our transit connectivity," Burda said. "Hats off for these folks for trying to solve their problems themselves, but to me it speaks to this lack of creative, responsive solutions."

While Toronto is spending "a lot of time and money" on building major transit lines, she'd like to see more of these quick wins.

"We're starving some of the really critical connections in our communities that would take a lot less public investment and a lot less time to actually make a huge difference," she added.

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