Nevertheless, the RT opened to great fanfare on March 22, 1985. Former critic Gus Harris called the occasion the “greatest day in the history of Scarborough.” The public enjoyed free rides the next day.
The line’s honeymoon was short-lived. Neighbours who complained about the noise wound up with tax breaks. Despite early claims the line would be cheaper than a subway, rising costs killed plans to extend it to Malvern. The line was completely shut down for over two months in 1988 to reduce noise and replace the turning loop at Kennedy.
In October 1987, Scarborough Controller Kenneth Morrish introduced a motion at Metro Council to ask the TTC to study the cost of replacing the RT with a subway. Morrish was irritated that a proposed line for Sheppard Avenue linking the centres of North York and Scarborough would be built as a subway. “If we don’t change to a subway,” Morrish noted, “we can’t complete a subway loop. I don’t like the idea of having to transfer from the Sheppard subway to the RT and then transfer back to the subway.”
Morrish was understandably unhappy when a TTC report revealed that it would cost $350 million to convert the $196 million RT.