By: Monica Kucharski
You probably know people who live in Mississauga and drive to Toronto to work. You may be one of them. If you are, have you thought to yourself that the westbound highway traffic during morning rush hours— and eastbound in the evening rush hours— seems more busy?
Well, you are not imagining things. For better or for worse, Saugans driving to Toronto for work no longer feel envious and resentful gazing at a swiftly moving traffic on the other side of the highway while stuck in a Mississauga-TO morning rush hour jam.
There is a trend afloat in the GTA: the “reverse commuters” trend.
According to 2016 census, while they’re still the minority, about 11 per cent of people living in the old city of Toronto work outside today’s municipal lines, commuting to Mississauga, Vaughan and beyond.
In Toronto downtown near the waterfront, as many as 27 per cent of commuters work outside the city. Data from transit agency Metrolinx also shows the percentage of Toronto commuter trips that end outside the city has been growing over the past 30 years, from about 16 per cent in 1986 to about 25 per cent in 2016.
This trend does have a downside—it’s putting new stress on a regional transit system designed to convey people in the other direction. The GO and other municipal transportation systems have been increasing service to meet that rising demand—witness the recent train additions on the east and west Lakeshore GO lines.
Reverse commuters are bucking the stereotype that all commuters are coming from the suburbs to downtown Toronto to work. More and more Torontonians are now working outside of the city bounds.
No specific causes were cited in the survey, but we can speculate…could it be that more career opportunities are now being offered in growing Mississauga and other GTA municipalities?
It’s food for thought. Mississauga’s 90,000-strong business community is diverse and includes many Fortune 500 headquarters in major fields like life sciences, aerospace, automotive, and information and communications technologies. And at least for now, against-the-traffic commuting to work from Toronto to Mississauga is an added attraction for job hunters venturing westbound in their career path.