GTA

After week of bitter cold and nightmare commutes, relief is finally in sight

After a work week of bitter cold, icy roads and nightmarish commutes for many transit riders in the GTA, there is finally some relief in sight.

Temperatures will slowly ascend from the deep freeze starting late Friday morning, Environment Canada says. It will still be rather chilly, with a high of –14 C forecast for the day, but wind chill values won’t be as intense.

Then the weather will change considerably over the weekend. Saturday’s high is forecast to be –2 C, though it will feel more like –7 during the warmest hours of the day. There’s also a pretty good chance of snow flurries in Toronto throughout Saturday morning.

By Sunday, though, temperatures will have climbed significantly. The mercury should hover above zero for most of Sunday, topping at 3 C in the afternoon, Environment Canada says.

There is, of course, still one more morning of absolutely freezing temperatures to get through. Wind chill values approaching –30 will persist throughout today’s early rush hour.

Some TTC and Metrolinx riders — many of whom endured an at-times hellish week of commuting replete with closures, altered schedules, long waits and crowded platforms — may see some positive developments this morning.

The TTC says it expects Line 3 Scarborough, which was entirely closed all day Thursday and most of Wednesday, to run at full capacity today. Express shuttle buses will also be operating to help supplement service, the transit agency says.

A TTC spokesperson explained in an interview this week that Line 3 is especially susceptible to blowing snow and ice, which builds up in the track and prevents the third rail from powering trains. Stuart Green posted several photos on social media showing how crews were trying to remedy the problem.

Meanwhile, Metrolinx says the UP Express from Pearson to downtown will be running, though at a limited capacity. Trains will depart every half hour, rather than every fifteen minutes. Service on the line was shut down for several hours Thursday.

Users of the 501 Queen streetcar, however, should note that there will be no streetcars operating on that route this morning due to “equipment related issues.” Sixty-seven shuttle buses will be running instead, the TTC said on social media.

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