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Off line: Some subway stops fail to deliver

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Subways, the most expensive form of public transit, only work in areas where there are enough people to fill the trains – it’s that simple. That’s why the Sheppard line still struggles to reach capacity almost a dozen years after opening, carrying under 50,000 passengers a day (compared to over 700,000 on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. Ellesmere Station on the Scarborough RT line is the least-used stop of the entire system, with just over 1,000 passengers travelling to and from that station on an average weekday (source: TTC Subway Ridership 2012-2013).

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Opened in 1985, Ellesmere station sits amid condo towers, road salt storage pyramids and warehouses.

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Bessarion station, Sheppard subway. Opened 2002. 2,550 daily passengers. The station entrance sits in a strip mall parking lot.

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It seems so few people visit Bessarion that station designers found it necessary to place instructional photographs of how to use the handrails on the stairwell walls

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Condo construction near Bessarion should help passenger volumes.

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Red tiles and artwork at Bessarion.

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Red tile and chrome: Bessarion.

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Old Mill station, Bloor-Danforth subway. Opened 1968. 5,790 daily passengers. It’s a long walk from the back of the train to the one lonely exit at Old Mill. Luckily, there is a panoramic view of the Humber River valley to enjoy, as this station is a long, glassy bridge rather than an underground bunker.

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Architect Ray Mandel’s 23-storey Brutalist tower, built in 1967, can be seen in the distance from the Old Mill station.

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Straight past the tiny bus-loading area (only one bus route departs from Old Mill,) is a sort of medieval village, with half-timbering everywhere: on apartment houses, There are so many cupolas, weather vanes and jiggity-jaggity roof lines competing for attention at the hotel, it’s easy to miss the few remaining short, stone walls of the original seven-storey flour mill that once stood here (built 1848.)

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Summerhill station, Yonge-University-Spadina subway. Opened 1954. 5,880 daily passengers. Summerhill’s biggest problem might be that no one can find it: It’s actually located on Shaftesbury Avenue.

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