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The city’s subway system does not open until 9 a.m., but John Tory says if 6 a.m. is not possible, he’d be satisfied by starting with 7 or 8 a.m.Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor John Tory is pushing for subway service to begin earlier on Sundays – something the TTC says it's looking to do, but not until 2020.

Currently, the city's subway system does not open until 9 a.m. on Sundays. But at a news conference on Friday, Mr. Tory said he's been in talks with TTC CEO Andy Byford about having service begin at 6 a.m., as it does every other day of the week.

"The bottom line is to stick at 9 is not, to me, in accordance with the reality of how people live their lives," Mr. Tory – who uses the subway regularly – told reporters. "Sundays are a busy day now … and in a modern city like this, the subway should be open more than starting at 9."

He said that, if 6 a.m. is not possible, he'd be satisfied by starting with 7 or 8 a.m.

TTC spokesman Brad Ross said in an e-mail that the transit agency has been working toward 6 a.m. starts – as well as later closings on Fridays and Saturdays – but that the change likely would not take place until 2020.

The reason for this, he said, is that the TTC currently conducts much of its maintenance during the early morning hours on Sundays.

"We do use planned weekend closures to get a lot of this work done, but the three-hour window also allows us to limit the number of weekend closures that can be so disruptive," he said.

Mr. Ross said the TTC has not yet conducted detailed studies on what ridership levels might look like on Sunday mornings, saying that work would happen closer to implementation.

For the weeks of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in July and August, the subway will open early on Sundays, at 6 a.m, and the mayor pointed to this as evidence that the change could be made year round.

"I understand the problems," he said. "I said, well, let's find a way around that. Other cities seem to do that, and we're seeming to do it for Pan Am. Why couldn't we try to make this a permanent feature?"

In cities such as London and Hong Kong, subway service begins on Sundays as early as 5:30 a.m. In New York the subway operates 24 hours a day.