Pedestrian Tunnel at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Celebrates One-Year Anniversary Milestone

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Toronto (July 30, 2016) – Today, PortsToronto is pleased to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the award-winning pedestrian tunnel that connects Toronto’s mainland to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Billy Bishop Airport). The pedestrian tunnel, which enables passengers to walk between the mainland and the airport, 100 feet beneath the surface of Lake Ontario, has delivered on its promise to improve convenience and efficiency at the airport by significantly improving passenger flow and reducing lineups both within the terminal and on the mainland.
Prior to the tunnel, passengers arrived at and departed from the airport in waves every 15 minutes according to the ferry schedule, causing choke points for travellers and surges in traffic demand at the mainland terminal and along Eireann Quay, the entrance road to the airport. Enabling passengers to come and go on their own schedule has eliminated these issues.
A recent modality study conducted by Dillon Consulting on behalf of PortsToronto found that more than 90 per cent of travellers opt to take the free, convenient, six-minute walk through the tunnel. This change in access has resulted in a 75 per cent decrease in vehicles queued northbound along Eireann Quay.
The study also noted a more even distribution of shuttle ridership, virtually eliminating overcrowded or empty departing shuttle-runs; and a more frequent and gradual turnover of taxis, meaning increased availability of taxis for passengers. In April 2016 a new enhanced GPS-enabled shuttle service was also introduced to offer more frequent and convenient shuttle service to/from the airport.
On average, 40 per cent of travellers walk, bike or take transit to and from the airport – representing a significant number of the 2.5 million passengers (approximately 500,000 of which are connecting passengers) the airport now serves annually, further reducing congestion on surrounding roadways.
“We are thrilled to celebrate this important milestone which highlights a successful and significant component in our strategy to both enhance customer service and dramatically improve traffic management at our popular and award-winning airport,” said Geoffrey Wilson, CEO of PortsToronto. “We are immensely proud of the pedestrian tunnel – a unique piece of new infrastructure for Toronto – which has delivered on its promise to provide passengers with a seamless travel experience – from curb to gate and beyond – as well as our commitment to the community to identify measures to alleviate traffic and congestion pertaining to the airport.” 
Tunnel highlights:
  • The tunnel is 10 storeys below the surface of the lake and 853 feet long;
  • It takes less than six minutes to walk the tunnel;
  • One of the longest escalator systems in Canada enables travellers to access/exit the tunnel on the island side;
  • All areas of the tunnel (including elevators) are equipped with free Wi-Fi and cellular service meaning no dropped calls or interruptions to service;
  • A state-of-the-art Digital Out-of-Home advertising platform is in place from mainland terminal to tunnel to island-side atrium;
  • The tunnel was built through a public-private partnership (P3) model, meaning no taxpayer dollars were spent on the project;
  • The pedestrian tunnel carries new water and sanitary lines to serve residents and businesses on the Toronto islands, saving municipal taxpayers over $10 million.
Information about the tunnel can be found here.
About Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (     Billy Bishop Airport is Canada's ninth-busiest airport and welcomes 2.5 million business and leisure travellers each year. The airport is also Canada’s sixth-busiest airport with passenger service into the United States. Offering service to more than 20 cities in Canada and the U.S., with extensive connection opportunities to more than 80 international destinations via our airline’s networks, Billy Bishop Airport is an important international gateway and a key driver to Toronto’s economy, accounting for more than $2.1 billion in economic output each year and supporting 6,500 jobs, including 1,960 directly associated with the airport operations. The airport has recently won a series of passenger-driven awards, including being named one of the top airports in North America in both the Airports Council International’s (ACI) 2015 Airport Service Quality Awards and Skytrax 2016 World Airport Awards.
About PortsToronto (
For more than 100 years PortsToronto, (formerly the Toronto Port Authority), has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomes more than two million passengers each year; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and, Terminals 51 and 52, which provide transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $8 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto's waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.
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Media Contact:
Sarah Sutton, Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations, PortsToronto
Tel: (416) 863-2065; Cell: (647) 298-0544