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Starting in September, the TTC will add more service on 61 routes across the city – extra off-peak service on 43 routes, more overnight buses on 11 routes and seven new all-night routes.Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

City buses are shifting into high gear.

Starting in September, the TTC will add more service on 61 routes across the city – extra off-peak service on 43 routes, more overnight buses on 11 routes and seven new all-night routes.

"The ability to move in this city is fundamental to economic opportunity. It is fundamental to an active family life and personal life," Mayor John Tory said Sunday as he unveiled the service improvements at a Scarborough bus shelter.

"I believe these TTC improvements we are announcing today will go one more step towards uniting the city."

Most of the new service restores cuts made four years ago by then-mayor Rob Ford's administration, while some is added service that TTC brass have been recommending since last year.

Mr. Tory said the new overnight routes will ensure 99 per cent of Toronto residents will live within a 15-minute walk of an all-night bus, making it more viable for shift workers to commute on public transit. He said five million passengers per year use overnight buses, called the Blue Night system.

The Mayor said he plans to announce further improvements to rush-hour service when the city receives 50 new buses later this year. He also hinted he would like the TTC to consider running the subway earlier in the morning on Sundays; currently, trains only start running at 9 a.m.

TTC Chair Josh Colle said that more than half of riders now use the system outside of rush hour, which is why it is important to get more buses on the road off-peak and overnight.

"Our very loyal and patient riders have been calling for these service improvements for a long time," he said.

TTC CEO Andy Byford said the added service meets 90 per cent of his agency's recommendation for 10-minute bus service on key routes. He said the city opted not to extend the frequent service to routes with less than nine boardings an hour.

Mr. Tory said it was "a mistake" for Mr. Ford and the previous council to cut TTC service.

"This was not the right thing to do in a city that needs transit service to connect people to jobs," he said. "When people sensed the service was much worse over the last four years, they were right – it was."

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