How Many Riders Will Use The Crosstown?

[See also Part 2 of this discussion.]

In a previous article and its long comment thread, readers and I have discussed the question of demand for the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT subway.  After the Metrolinx board meeting in June that started all this, I asked Metrolinx for more information about their projected ridership for the underground line.  In particular, I was interested in the numbers behind not just Eglinton, but the other routes on the demand map below.

Here is Metrolinx’ reply:

Under the previous Transit City plan, most morning Scarborough RT passengers arriving at Kennedy would transfer to the Bloor-Danforth subway. However, a small number of them would transfer to the Eglinton LRT, and bus riders would also transfer to the Eglinton LRT

Under the current Toronto transit plan agreement, many morning Eglinton – Scarborough Crosstown passengers arriving at Kennedy are not expected to transfer to the Bloor-Danforth line. Instead, we expect those passengers to stay on board the Eglinton – Scarborough Crosstown and continue west along Eglinton Ave.

It is important to note that the Eglinton – Scarborough Crosstown morning morning peak hour westbound ridership leaving from Kennedy station is roughly 6,500 higher than the Transit City plan forecast. In the Transit City plan, the forecasted behaviour of these 6,500 new Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown passengers was as follows:

  • 60% rode the Bloor-Danforth subway out of Kennedy station.
  • 40% rode parallel bus routes or used different modes

We also expect an increase of ridership at the other stations along the Bloor-Danforth Eglinton-Scarborough line, but passenger behaviour at Kennedy is the dominant factor distinguishing the two plans.

Finally, below is a comparison of the anticipated 2031 morning peak demand points for the two plans:

SRT section (southbound into Kennedy)

  • Transit City (5 in 10 plan):  10,000 pphpd
  • Eglinton-Crosstown:  11,000 pphpd

Eglinton section:

  • Transit City:  5,000 pphpd eastbound into Eglinton West
  • Eglinton-Crosstown:  12,000 pphpd westbound into Eglinton/Yonge

[Corrections to the original text provided by Metrolinx July 26, 2011]

This is the entire reply, and there is no information on the following issues:

  • What are the numbers for other lines on the demand chart both for 2011 and 2031?  In particular, to what extent does the model show growth in demand on the existing subway system?
  • What other elements of a regional network exist in the 2031 model that could alter the growth pattern and future ridership flows?  In particular, there is no Downtown Relief Line even though it is part of The Big Move, and there is no indication of what GO services might also be in place.

My ongoing complaint about regional planning, both by the TTC and by Metrolinx, is that we talk a good line about networks, but we plan lines in isolation.  It is trivially simple to produce a huge demand on a new route simply by making it the only addition to an existing network — that’s how the TTC “justified” the Sheppard subway.

Ontario is spending $8-billion keeping Rob Ford happy by burying the Eglinton line, and they desperately need to justify this investment.  A 12k demand at the peak point is just the ticket!  Where else might the extra $4b have been spent to better overall effect?  We don’t know because Metrolinx has reverted from network planning to the traditional one-at-a-time methodology it was set up to avoid.

Metrolinx needs to be much more transparent about the way it projects ridership and the underlying assumptions of its models.  What routes are in the model network?  What frequency of service operates on them?  What is the fare structure?  What is the presumed future cost or practicality of using an automobile?  Where are the capacity constraints in the road and transit neworks?  How do these factors interact to shift projected demands?

This is the heart of regional planning, and Metrolinx is utterly silent on these issues.  Instead, they prefer to show us fully built-out networks decades in the future, networks we already know will be different thanks to various short-term changes and likely funding constraints, networks we will never see in actual operation.  We see simulations of the impossible, not the practical or the likely conditions we will have to live with.

This may serve short-term political needs, but the approach evades, no ignores, the vital debate we must have about what we might (or might not) build with the limited funding that our parsimonious, if not bankrupt, governments are likely to devote to transit.

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43 Responses to How Many Riders Will Use The Crosstown?

  1. I agree that we need a better plan, I do think that we need something. However, Eglinton was originally going to be a subway, and if a great deal of the line is supposed to be underground, they should have kept with the subway plan in my humble opinion. However, I do agree that a properly constructed LRT system, on top of the subway system is a good idea.

    Although I disagree with the attitude of “show me the numbers first” system of planning. Build a proper transit system that can get people where they want to go fast, and people will use it. I’d rather see real numbers then “maybe” numbers any day.

    Steve: I too like “real” numbers, but building a line just to find out it’s in the wrong place is an awfully expensive way to avoid a credible simulation.

  2. Michael says:

    One can only wonder how much more use the Crosstown would get if it extended past Black Creek. Have there been any studies done on the number of commuters who go from Toronto to Mississauga? Because I’m one of them, and it seems to me that a large number of us travel the Bloor line to Islington for the MiWay connection. We’re part of the “problem,” overcrowding YUS and Bloor station. Under the Transit City plan, it would have been a snap to get from Yonge & Eg (my nearest connection). Instead, even when the Crosstown “solution” is built, I can’t be part of it.

    All of my experience is anecdotal, but it seems to me like much YUS-BD traffic could be relieved if more Toronto-Mississauga routes were available. Are there numbers to back that up?

    Steve: Unfortunately, the demand info Metrolinx has published only gives us peak point, peak direction information, and this completely masks reverse commuting. Metrolinx has a long-standing problem of ignoring this sort of traffic. Also, demand models have problems with the more dispersed type of movements represented by outward commutes. There is an implicit assumption that there is some sort of transit “out there” to take you the last mile from the GO/LRT/whatever station to your eventual destination, but 905 transit doesn’t do a very good job with a lot of this. For inbound trips, of course, they just ignore the problem because they deliver riders to the TTC and its intensive service.

  3. Ed says:

    Eglinton section:

    Transit City: 5,000 pphpd eastbound into Eglinton West
    Eglinton-Crosstown: 12,000 pphpd westbound into Eglinton/Yonge

    Huh? Metrolinx is comparing different directions and locations? Is this a mistake, or is it fudging things to get the spin spinning?

    Steve: They are reporting peak points. In the Transit City version of the network, the peak was eastbound into the Spadina subway, while for the new Crosstown line, the peak has shifted to the east side. We don’t know how much of the shift is due to the faster travel time, and how much of the relatively higher success of the east side is due to the presumed western terminus of the Crosstown line. This is an example of my complaint about Metrolinx not giving the background to the model, and so we don’t know what the network looks like.

    t is important to note that the Eglinton – Scarborough Crosstown morning westbound ridership leaving from Kennedy station is roughly 6,500 higher than the Transit City plan forecast. In the Transit City plan, the forecasted behaviour of these 6,500 new Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown passengers was as follows:

    60% rode the Bloor-Danforth subway out of Kennedy station.
    40% rode parallel bus routes or used different modes

    Many possible interpretations of the above garble are possible. I don’t think there’s any sensible interpretation…..well, I was starting to say “I don’t think there’s any sensible interpretation that would support Karl’s B-D cutback to Warden”, but I think stopping where I am is the best bet.

    Steve: Yes, that could be read in interesting ways, and these are details I would love to see. If 40% of 6,500 riders shifted to bus or “other modes”, that’s 2,600 people who are transferring to buses (??? there is no bus on Eglinton with the LRT running), or maybe there’s a huge Bixi station, or they might even switch to GO, but at what fare? Without the details, the statement just doesn’t make sense.

    We also expect an increase of ridership at the other stations along the Bloor-Danforth line, but passenger behaviour at Kennedy is the dominant factor distinguishing the two plans.

    Increased ridership under which plan? And why?

    Steve: Yes, I wondered that too. How can they be diverting trips from BD if the ridership on that line goes up?

    SRT section (southbound into Kennedy)

    Transit City (5 in 10 plan): 10,000 pphpd
    Eglinton-Crosstown: 11,000 pphpd

    Well, there goes another 1,000 pph who won’t be riding the hypothetical private-sector Sheppard subway.

    Steve: I don’t think that line was even included in the modelled network. Another example of how the Eglinton “demand” can be artificially inflated by the way a model is set up. I plan to follow this up with Metrolinx.

  4. Are these LRT stations going to have bus drop off platforms similar to the current subway system?

    It seems as though these projections are based on traffic out of Kennedy towards Yonge with the assumption that few riders will get on at the stops in between. Most transit riders travel in the most “convenient” fashion; that is as few paperless transfers possible.

    In other words this means that most riders would still prefer to travel to Bloor/Danforth if the buses they were on didn’t turn into an LRT station that was nearest to the route which was being travelled on.

    Steve: From what we have seen so far, there will be a major interchange with bus routes at Don Mills. No designs for the Victoria Park station have been released yet, but it’s another logical interchange. Beyond that, you will probably see connections at the curbside rather like a line station (e.g. Dufferin and Bloor), not off street loops.

  5. Tom says:

    So what does this do, if anything, to the future capacity issues at Bloor & Yonge and the need for a DRL? How many people who used to transfer at Bloor & Yonge will now transfer at Eglinton?

    Steve: This does nothing for the DRL, and may well make the Yonge line totally useless south of Eglinton in the AM peak.

  6. Jacob Louy says:

    In defense of the Sheppard Subway Advocates, they’re going to say that since the line ended up being much shorter than originally envisioned, of course the actual ridership is much lower than the projected ridership.

    Unless the TTC also performed a Travel Demand Forecast on the Sheppard Subway from Yonge to Don Mills only?

    Steve: I will agree that a full Sheppard line would draw more riders than the stub, but the real question is what would happen if there were attractive GO service into Agincourt? I’m not saying everyone would use it, but this could lop the top off of demand at least in peak periods by providing a fast way downtown. After all, we now have people getting on at Long Branch and at Mimico to avoid using the TTC. The modelled demand for Sheppard “proved” that it needed a subway. The same model also showed demands well above the subway’s capacity approaching the core on both YUS and BD, but this problem was conveniently ignored.

  7. Denis T says:

    The section of the Crosstown LRT through Golden Mile will have to rely heavily on the N-S feeder bus routes for sure since Golden Mile is nothing but endless big box stores, typical suburban shopping plazas, and gigantic oversized parking lots. To justify having underground stations there is impossible without having good density around the stations.

    Steve: Some of that property cries out for redevelopment. A surface LRT line would have had more stations closer to potential development sites, but Metrolinx is fixated on long-haul trips. Ford’s demand that everything be underground sent them back to their very expensive original plans for full grade separation.

  8. Nick L says:

    I’m curious if the ridership numbers make the assumption that riders will never take an alternate route for their return trip. For example, for riders getting on along the RT segment, would they always retrace their route, or prefer the additional transfer from taking the B-D line over taking a crowded Yonge subway to Eglinton?

    Steve: The demand models only look at the AM peak, and so the return trip never enters into the simulations. This creates situations where nobody asks how, if the capacity of the Yonge line is substantially increased but the proportion of riders attempting to transfer to BD stays the same, then how will Yonge Station and the BD service absorb the higher arrival rate of outbound PM peak riders?

  9. Chris says:

    It’s not just other transit lines but the development the city has planned for the area. In 2030, will Yonge and Eglinton, already pretty dense, become the new Yonge and Bloor, with 80 floor condo towers? In that scenario, which is not that unlikely, I can envision the Eglinton light rail line becoming overcrowded.

    As for GO, it would be hard to estimate what kind of local ridership might be generated from Kennedy to Union Station without knowing about what kind of fare structure might be present. Certainly right now it is cheaper to take the TTC from there instead of GO just for cash fares, and this does not even account for all the people in the are who presumably have TTC monthly passes and have a marginal cost of 0 for taking another TTC trip. I don’t see GO taking on a lot of intra-Toronto travel unless the fare for those trips was reduced to the TTC level, especially considering that the GO travel time savings evaporate the farther away you go from Union.

    Steve, I feel many more people will use this line than you believe and I think the additional capacity provided by the tunneling will prove essential in 20 years. Even the 12,000 peak hour number doesn’t leave much room for growth if only 3 car trains can ever be run.

    Steve: You forget that the TTC is already musing about fare by distance. A “subway” fare from the burbs to downtown will easily be similar to GO’s if the TTC’s revenue stream is rebalanced on a distance scheme. As for 12K, there are two points here. First, there is room for capacity growth up to around16K with three-car trains. Second, and more importantly, we need to know how trips would redistribute themselves in a network including a DRL and attractive GO service serving the Scarborough to downtown demand.

    We need to understand the origins and destinations of that 12K simulated demand, and the degree to which it is flowing through the only option it has been given in the model. I am prepared to talk about alternatives to an Eglinton LRT if someone can prove to me that this demand would actually exist even after new and improved radial and north-south services. However, Metrolinx simply does not seem to want to have a public discussion about options like this. We’re spending $8-billion without knowing how the network may behave in the future. Not one line, a network.

  10. Jonathan Chen says:

    Even if Eglinton is a subway, it will still be known as a feeder line to the Yonge subway. Toronto needs another north-south subway before any other type of transit.

  11. Michael Forest says:

    “SRT section (southbound into Kennedy)
    * Eglinton-Crosstown: 11,000 pphpd
    Eglinton section:
    * Eglinton-Crosstown: 12,000 pphpd westbound into Eglinton/Yonge”

    So, only 1,000 people per hour will board westbound LRT between Kennedy and Yonge? That number is supposed to combine: a) local demand along Eglinton East; b) demand from the high-density Flemmington Park area; c) transfers from the busy Lawrence East route that will likely feed into ECLRT rather than run to Yonge; d) some transfers from the Don Mills bus, as well as secondary routes 51, 56, 100. I would think that the combined demand from those 4 sources will be much greater than 1,000 per hour.

    (OK, some people who are on ECLRT at Kennedy might get off before reaching Yonge. But I don’t think that number will be large enough to offset the new boardings, given that Eglinton East does not have any really major destinations.)

    Steve: No, a whole potload of folks will transfer from the “RT” to the Danforth subway. All the same, the demand chart suggests that the majority of demand in the Eglinton corridor originates at Kennedy one way or another. Without the details behind the chart (numeric values for each link plus some origin destination info for those riders westbound from Kennedy), we cannot properly assess whether (a) the model has correctly assigned the trips to Eglinton or (b) whether an alternate pathway to downtown would be a better expenditure as part of the network.

  12. Karl Junkin says:

    Steve said: First, there is room for capacity growth up to around 16K with three-car trains.

    You’re again assuming 90-second headways, which cannot be relied upon. First because terminal operations would have to be executed with military precision, no room for error of any kind, and second because if a huge volume alights at Yonge-Eg, dwell times could compromise headways – and both platforms would be islands at that interchange, making for intimidating conditions on crowded platforms if both directions arrive at the same platform at the same time. The capacity is only 13.4K (on 105-second headways) until they can prove 90-second headways are achievable.

    Steve: OK, but I still don’t believe that 12K figure, and we seem to be making an argument to overbuild Eglinton in a way that strangely echoes plans to overbuild Yonge rather than looking at diverting future demand.

  13. Jonathon says:

    Chris, this scheme doesn’t provide any more capacity at the peak point than did the old plan. In fact, it makes life worse for anyone living west of Kennedy station, because under the old Transit City plan, a lot of ridership came from the shorter underground segment west of Don Mills, but now these trains will be mostly full by the time they get there.

  14. Because traffic signal priority does not work effectively on routes that run more often than every 4 – 5 minutes, grade separation does allow for increased frequency while still maintaining high operating speed. The only advantage of light rail is that in the future it will be possible to extend every other train west from Black Creek into the airport / Mississauga / north-west Toronto region via a cheaper surface alignment.

    Here’s a good question:
    The opening of this line will presumably cause cutbacks in bus routes 32, 34, 51, 54, 56, and 100. Will the hours saved by these cutbacks be used to pay for the operating costs of the line or will they be able to be reinvested back into the surface network?

    Steve: Nobody knows. The opening of the Eglinton line is almost a decade away, and the financial arrangements between Metrolinx and the TTC that far off are anyone’s guess. That is two municipal and three provincial elections away.

  15. Steve said,

    “This does nothing for the DRL, and may well make the Yonge line totally useless south of Eglinton in the AM peak.”

    Au contraire, this could put a great deal of the public behind a DRL all the way to Don Mills and Eglinton. ;-)

    Of course, that level of support is needed now, not after the Crosstown is built.

    Steve: The problem is that without the background material and a reasonable amount of discussion among the political chattering classes, the DRL will remain something that the TTC and Metrolinx dismiss as “unneeded”.

  16. Mikey says:

    “Even if Eglinton is a subway, it will still be known as a feeder line to the Yonge subway. Toronto needs another north-south subway before any other type of transit.”

    I’m sorry but this is categorically false. Eglinton subway is more than just a feeder line to Yonge. It’ll inevitably connect Pearson, Mississauga Transitway, Mount Dennis GO, Caledonia GO, Spadina subway, Leslie/Eglinton GO, Don Mills, Wynford GO, Kennedy GO, Sheppard subway and perhaps some day a Malvern GO Stn. Many people seeking to avoid the crowds on the Yonge Line may opt to stay on til Allen and head south from there. From the west end, many will never even need to go all the way over to Yonge-Eglinton when using Spadina-University cuts out so much of the journey. Of course a lot of Yonge’s capacity issues could be rectified if they’d short-turn some trips at Davisville by making use of the third platform there. That’d guarantee a number of half empty trains arriving at Bloor-Yonge during peak hour. The DRL could even be delayed further had the Eglinton Line planners gotten a bit creative and created a spur route or detour into the Thorncliffe Park area between Laird and Don Mills, but I digress.

    But what I really came here to say was that I always questioned the veracity of the 5,400 pphpd figure the Crosstown garnered during the Transit City days. After factoring in the 40 bus routes which intersect Eglinton and its own major routes (32, 34, 54, 100, 86/116), there’s just no way that by 2031 still so few people would ride the service. I think that the new estimate is far more accurate (12,000 per hour for 20 hours a day = 240,000 riders daily). A quarter-million users were probably always there considering the heavy population densities around the central Eglinton corridor but will now be far more enticed to use the line thanks to its full grade-separation; and thus assumed guarantees of optimal speed, frequency and reliability.

    Steve: A 12K peak does not mean 240K all day. The usual rule of thumb is that the AM peak is double the peak hour, the PM peak the same again, and the off peak roughly equal to the two peaks combined. This gives a daily value of 96K (multiply by eight) at the peak point and direction. However, given the diversity of trips on Eglinton (in some ways it is several overlapping lines just like the Yonge subway or the King car), the total riding during the peak hour will be well above just the value for the peak point. The strongest contrast to this is Sheppard where almost all of the peak demand is headed west to Yonge, and the peak point demand is roughly equal to the peak ridership.

  17. Ray says:

    Steve, integrating this thread with your previous post on Union Station capacity it seems we might be headed for serious network trouble whatever we do. The musing here on trip changes to GO train versus subway due to fare-by-distance on the TTC implies a significant number of extra riders on either Lakeshore East (at Danforth/Scarborough) or Stouffville at Kennedy. This is as the trains enter the city and are already almost full, arriving at a Union Station that will not be able to handle extra peak hour trains without some kind of major upgrade or new commuter rail route through the core before 2020.

    Steve: Yes, this is a fundamental problem with Metrolinx planning. They designed The Big Move without regard to the actual capacity of various parts of the network. Meanwhile, GO planning ignores network integration effects even while “regional integration” is preached to the TTC at every opportunity, most often as a way to promote Presto.

    Coming from the western part of the GTA I have never ridden the eastern GO lines during rush hour and do not know enough about them to say how much slack peak capacity they have. Can that part of the GO network handle a substantial number of passengers making the switch? If not, it’s network overload without the DRL or a GO/Union investment on a scale much beyond the slow incremental improvements that have been de rigeur.

    Steve: The trains to the east are quite busy too, and GO plans or has been upgrading/extending its corridors. New corridors are planned. Again the constraint will be Union Station.

    Back to the Crosstown alignment debate, I am anxious to see an analysis of the DRL’s effect on that 12K peak as well. I assume it would look a lot smaller, and might well put us back in the realm of at-grade light rail. The only cost estimate for a DRL I have is from Transit Toronto which quotes 1.5 billion for Pape to the financial district in a railway alignment. Given the Union capacity problem it seems a more expensive tunnel to the north (i.e. Wellington?) would be needed. Any thoughts on whether it could be done from Eglinton to downtown for the roughly 4 billion difference between an at-grade versus subway Crosstown line? Or maybe it would siphon enough BD passengers to stop at Pape and prevent Yonge from being swamped. Bottom line – Metrolinx, network modelling if you please!!!

    Steve: The DRL won’t be cheap to build, but it would add vital new capacity to a network where the TTC seems bent on cramming more riders into existing space. Just taking an “L” shaped route from Eglinton to somewhere around Union would be about 12 km, and at $400k/km, that gets us in striking distance of $5-billion. Depending on the route actually used, this could be shortened, but we will also have to build new storage capacity somewhere and that will add to the total.

  18. Jeff says:

    I can’t help but wonder if this entire discussion will be moot in October. I think it’s pretty much a done deal that the Conservatives are going to win the election and that Tim Hudak will be our Premier (unfortunately). I think that history is going to repeat itself – 1995 all over again. They will cancel this, claiming that it costs too much money. They wouldn’t want to piss off Rob Ford, but then again he doesn’t really want this project anyway (more interested in his pie in the sky Sheppard subway). So the end result is that this will not be built.

  19. Walter says:

    I always thought that 4 car trains at four minute headway could be used instead of 3 car at 3 minutes. Most stations would only be 3 cars long, but the busy ones (STC, Kennedy, Yonge, Eglinton West, Black Creek) would be four cars long. The first car in each train would be an “Express” car that only opens at the busy stations. As long as the headways aren’t too big, this would require less operators for a given capacity. This method could also increase capacity by almost 33% if needed in the future (although the dwell time may be a touch longer at the busy stations since a greater percentage of the car must be unloaded/loaded). If a station experiences significant growth (i.e. future development, LRT or GO connection) then only one station needs to be expanded to 4 car length.

    This concept could also be applied to the subway lines (it may even work better with walk through cars) although the percentage increase would not be nearly as great.

    Steve: If you’re going to run longer trains, you really need longer stations. Passengers can understand the concept of an “express” train that doesn’t stop everywhere, but an “express car” is really asking a lot of riders who will not all be familiar with how a line operates.

  20. Andrew says:

    One important nitpick: Increased demand for travel downtown is highly dependent on employment growth downtown, and employment growth downtown is highly dependent on infrastructure improvements downtown. If there are no improvements to transit downtown (either Downtown Relief Line and/or better GO train service), then there will be less employment growth downtown.

    Under a scenario where an Eglinton subway (and/or Sheppard subway extension) is built but nothing is built downtown, I would expect that the areas north of downtown will grow much faster than downtown itself, which would mean that a lot of passengers will never go downtown and Yonge line overcrowding won’t be as much of an issue as you make it out to be. A lot of commuters are not going downtown already (try taking 401 in rush hour). Conversely if the DLR is built there will be much more employment growth downtown and it will fill up rapidly.

    Steve: Almost all of the downtown growth in employment was made possible by GO Transit, but “downtown” is a lot bigger than it once was and has room for expansion. There is also the question of auto to transit trip migration. At King and Bay, the transit share is very high, but there is room for growth in areas served by the central part of the subway network where peak demand and capacity is already an issue. The projected growth in demand isn’t something I invented, it’s the growth planners expect to see based on historical and likely development patterns.

    The biggest change we are seeing is the transition to residential construction that increases walking, cycling and local transit trips, as well as reverse commuting that transit isn’t addressing anywhere near as well as trips to the core. Given the relative capacities of transit into the core versus the transportation network serving 416-to-905 trips, it does not take much growth in absolute terms to overwhelm counter-peak capacity.

  21. Mimmo Briganti says:

    If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Metrolinx’s 12k figure is causing a light-rail meltdown/mid-life transit crisis in your mind. Somehow you can’t seem to accept the fact that the original Transit City Eglinton LRT format was hopelessly inadequate for such an important corridor, so you’re now looking to find ways to discredit this number by asking for details on how it was derived.

    Ridership projections are not an exact science, so don’t expect detail to the nth degree — what they’re doing is essentially 40% science, and 60% fortune-telling. Nobody can accurately predict exactly what ridership will be, but Eglinton’s relief/interceptor effect on BD (a line which carries 480k/d), combined with the fact that it cuts the city in half geographically and touches practically every N-S TTC bus route, guarantees with certainty subway-level ridership for crosstown and downtown travel.

    Steve: Sorry but you’re off the mark. What I find fascinating in this entire discussion is that people who dumped all over other demand projections and proposed new infrastructure for a variety of lines (GO expansions, Sheppard, effect of Yonge and Spadina subways, Union rail corridor) accept the Metrolinx figures for Eglinton as a given. There are questions to be asked about what else, if anything, was included in the network to absorb growing demand, and what are the details of the origins and destinations of travellers assigned to the Eglinton corridor.

    These are perfectly reasonable questions, especially in the face of an $8-billion project that followed NONE of the usual Metrolinx methodology for project evaluation. Indeed, if they are going to spend that much money, a high projected ridership is essential to “justifying” the line.

  22. Mimmo Briganti says:

    And how do you expect Metrolinx or the TTC to accurately identify origins and destinations for a line that hasn’t even been built yet? Even the TTC did not know what they were for a line that was actually in operation (ie. the O-D subway study of 1966). Unless the TTC performs a similar detailed survey on a massive scale today for all surface and subway passengers, there is no way to know.

    Steve: Actually, that sort of info is in the demand model, and the TTC has on more than one occasion produced maps showing the origin/destination patterns in EAs.

    That 12k demand figure is reasonable given the integrated/interlined operation with the SRT. Take that out, and the figure drops dramatically, because once a transfer is forced at Kennedy, those passengers will probably transfer to BD.

    Go compare the O-D surveys of 1966 and 1969 — the minute transfers were forced at St. George, ridership on the University line dropped 30% because all of those riders shifted to the Yonge subway. Similarly, all of that increased ridership west of Kennedy on Eglinton is from riders who would otherwise go to BD if they had to transfer (or face a slower semi-ROW ride beyond Kennedy).

    Steve: If all we accomplish with the Eglinton line is to shift trips that would otherwise ride SRT-BD-YUS to downtown to become Crosstown-YUS, we will have spent a lot of money only to shift demand away from BD. This does not address the heart of the issue about network capacity or the need for a DRL and/or better carriage by GO of inside 416 trips from the northeast.

  23. OgtheDim says:

    For those concerned about a Hudak win in the fall, the way we’ll know that the Crosstown is being killed is when articles start appearing regularly in the Toronto Sun and other papers about how good subway travel is compared to streetcars. I fully expect those to start in November in preperation for a switch of the money to do Ford’s Folly along Sheppard.

  24. Jacob Louy says:

    @Mimmo Briganti

    The very map that Metrolinx uses to show downtown-bound peak-hour volume doesn’t even show any GO transit lines (as if they’re ignoring the very existence of GO Transit altogether). Deliberately ignoring important factors like GO, fare integration, etc. is just as bad as fudging the numbers.

    I can’t believe Eglinton Subway advocates are embracing these updated numbers without questioning.

  25. Jacob Louy says:

    Metrolinx predicts a 10 minute time saving over the original surface/subway plan. Have they accounted for increased dwell times at every station, since more passengers must load in fewer stations?

  26. Karl Junkin says:

    Jacob Louy said: Metrolinx predicts a 10 minute time saving over the original surface/subway plan. Have they accounted for increased dwell times at every station, since more passengers must load in fewer stations?

    This would only be a concern at Yonge-Eg. The delta of riders at other stations is small and not different from the previous scheme in terms of stress exerted – people on the train who stay on the train don’t contribute to dwell time (unless they get off to allow someone else to get off because they’re in their way and then get back on). Yonge-Eg is a big deal in terms of room for growth, but between Kennedy and Yonge, there shouldn’t be any travel time impact. Kennedy and Avenue Rd is another matter.

  27. Robert Wightman says:

    Jacob Louy says:
    July 18, 2011 at 5:02 am

    “Metrolinx predicts a 10 minute time saving over the original surface/subway plan. Have they accounted for increased dwell times at every station, since more passengers must load in fewer stations?”

    The extra dwell time will be minimal when compared to the time lost to make the extra stops and then clear through the “Transit Priority Signals.” I am surprised the saving is only 10 minutes. Either they were expecting a very good signal priority system or they haven’t watched Toronto traffic signals and transit interact.

    “The very map that Metrolinx uses to show downtown-bound peak-hour volume doesn’t even show any GO transit lines (as if they’re ignoring the very existence of GO Transit altogether). Deliberately ignoring important factors like GO, fare integration, etc. is just as bad as fudging the numbers.

    “I can’t believe Eglinton Subway advocates are embracing these updated numbers without questioning.”

    No one is going to be able to transfer from Richmond Hill, Stouffville is next to Kennedy Station so not many are going to board from it . Since 95% of the GO train passengers go to Union the load from any of the 4 lines would be minimal. Also don’t expect Metrolinx to get sensible and try to actually build a network that integrates all the systems.

    Steve: The issue with GO is not transfer traffic, but trips to downtown that could be intercepted by the GO network before they even reach the Eglinton line.

  28. Karl Junkin says:

    Robert Wightman said: No one is going to be able to transfer from Richmond Hill

    So long as GO runs on CN Bala south of CP Belleville, I agree. If Metrolinx would actually take the RH line off CN tracks south of CP and shift it to tracks GO owns (ex-CP Belleville Don Branch), via a short stretch along CP – including where CP crosses Eglinton, then it’s a new ballgame. In 2005, City of Toronto estimated the connection could be made for $20M.

  29. AL says:

    Mimmo said

    “Ridership projections are not an exact science, so don’t expect detail to the nth degree — what they’re doing is essentially 40% science, and 60% fortune-telling. Nobody can accurately predict exactly what ridership will be, but Eglinton’s relief/interceptor effect on BD (a line which carries 480k/d), combined with the fact that it cuts the city in half geographically and touches practically every N-S TTC bus route, guarantees with certainty subway-level ridership for crosstown and downtown travel.”

    At the very least Metrolinx needs to provide the information on all transit lines that are included within the model configuration used to generate the 12k number. For example, is Sheppard left as a stubway or as a full route to STC. These could produce very different outcomes on ridership, especially where interception of bus riders or numbers leaving STC for westbound travel are concerned. Same goes for assumptions on GO routes. Is the model for current GO service patterns or for the future service that is planned for the year ECLRT opens? It’s easy to get any answer you want for a particular route by selectively including/excluding other “planned but not yet existing” routes, and this is all before the hand waving needed to predict future land use development and corresponding O-D relationships.

  30. Chris says:

    The one way fare on GO from Kennedy to Union is $4.35. TTC from Kennedy to Union is $3.00. Almost nobody is going to ride GO from that location unless they could pay the TTC fare – but which government body is going to subsidize that 30% difference?

    I know that fare integration is in the works, but even if that is successful I doubt any politician would allow the TTC to increase fares by 30% to “integrate” with GO fares.

    Steve: The TTC Chair has mused about fare by distance. Elsewhere on this site, I wrote an article pointing out that TTC fare revenue, if redistributed on that basis, would make the cost of travel from some parts of the suburbs to downtown higher than the corresponding GO fare.

    The problem with “integration” is that nobody wants to have the conversation about what an “appropriate” new fare would be, the basis on which it would be calculated, or who would pick up the added subsidy, if any. It’s a handy stick to beat the TTC with and say “Bad TTC. You don’t like Presto! No biscuit!!”, but it contributes absolutely nothing to the conversation.

  31. Mimmo Briganti says:

    Steve said …

    “If all we accomplish with the Eglinton line is to shift trips that would otherwise ride SRT-BD-YUS to downtown to become Crosstown-YUS, we will have spent a lot of money only to shift demand away from BD. This does not address the heart of the issue about network capacity or the need for a DRL and/or better carriage by GO of inside 416 trips from the northeast.”

    Actually it does address network capacity, because diverting trips away from the Bloor-Danforth subway frees up room for those riders (and a certain transit advocate ) who are currently unable to board trains at Broadview station … westbound … in the morning. Of course, those passengers are no better off at St. George or B-Y if Eglinton ultimately feeds YUS further north. So, until the DRL is built, they can hijack the trains Pelham-123 style and order them through the wye. Problem solved.

    Steve: This transit advocate rarely has to board trains to anywhere in the AM peak being retired (but not from transit advocacy), but prefers the King car.

  32. Robert Wightman says:

    Karl Junkin says:
    July 18, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Robert Wightman said: No one is going to be able to transfer from Richmond Hill

    “So long as GO runs on CN Bala south of CP Belleville, I agree. If Metrolinx would actually take the RH line off CN tracks south of CP and shift it to tracks GO owns (ex-CP Belleville Don Branch), via a short stretch along CP – including where CP crosses Eglinton, then it’s a new ballgame. In 2005, City of Toronto estimated the connection could be made for $20M.”

    Forgive me if I have the geometry and geography wrong but where are they going to join. You can forget about putting the track back in between Oriole and Leaside because it would be political suicide for the local incumbents. The next place the lines are close enough in all 3 dimensions is way down the valley. I can’t see Metrolinx spending a large amount of money to join these two lines together to run trains on a line, RH north of the York Sub, that they don’t control.

  33. scott d says:

    Metrolinx’s projections have been shown to be PR rather than credible estimates. I point to the 1.5 car trips removed because of Georgetown example.

  34. Karl Junkin says:

    @Robert Wightman:

    Full details in links below:
    Consultant feasibility report
    Horizontal Alignment
    Vertical Alignment

    My memory isn’t perfect; it’s $22M, not $20M. In 2011 dollars that would $25M.

  35. Ray says:

    @Karl – Looking at those reports it seems like you’re right such a connection is possible but would take quite a bit of wrangling. What a shame that the CN spur just east of Leslie was removed . . . it was an ideal alignment.

    Steve: “Ideal” is not the word I would use. The track east of Leslie runs through a residential neighbourhood, and it crosses Lawrence at grade. In any event., it’s been gone for a long time.

  36. Ray says:

    Well really the same could be said about Weston before the recent Georgetown corridor upgrades. It’s not so much the “residential” factor per se as it is the loudness of certain voices around Leslie and Eglinton, to my eyes. Somehow Antonio Villaraigosa has convinced people in Beverly Hills to allow the Westside subway extension to be built through the wealthiest part of LA, so where there’s a will there’s a way. Now if only we had a mayor with his leadership skills . . .

    I’m not saying the Richmond Hill GO line will ever realistically run in such an alignment, but its an example like others that have been mentioned here of removing old rail infrastructure to allow for residential development and “recreational trails” only to realize within a generation that what was originally in place was actually pretty useful (i.e. need for GO Bathurst yard). The problem is once removed its so much harder to put back *sigh*.

  37. Steve said:

    The problem with “integration” is that nobody wants to have the conversation about what an “appropriate” new fare would be, the basis on which it would be calculated, or who would pick up the added subsidy, if any. It’s a handy stick to beat the TTC with and say “Bad TTC. You don’t like Presto! No biscuit!!”, but it contributes absolutely nothing to the conversation.

    Moaz: Looks to me like TTC & Mississauga & Metrolinx may be having some conversations about fare policy & their agreement to maintain their local monopoly on fare collection even though this issue is not really about fares, it does reflect the problems with integration that have to be dealt with.

    I find it interesting that Metrolinx, rather than spending time resolving issues like fare & service integration, cross-border service, etc. seems to be more interested in infrastructure & technology.

    Steve: The Mississauga/Toronto issue has been going on for decades, and Presto would do nothing to fix it because, as you say, it’s not really a fare issue.

    We have the same issue back in Malaysia where I’m still active with TRANSIT. When the new national regulator came in the first thing they started doing was not resolving the issues of their dysfunctional competitive bus system, or the over-granting of taxi permits (37,000 permits have been issued for Kuala Lumpur alone, twice as many per person as New York or London). No, their first interest was in building a new MRT network and expanding their rail lines while issues like buses dropping passengers off in the middle of the road go unresolved.

    As for the integration of TTC & GO, the first step is to shift more TTC users onto GO service inside the 416 area code.

    One way to do that is to allow/encourage Metropass users to board GO trains. Maybe they would be required to purchase a “GO sticker” (real for the Metropass, virtual for PRESTO) for a nominal surcharge. GO could use that as “seed money” for the expansion of GO services in Toronto, including daytime and two way trips. TTC would benefit from selling the Metropass but being able to shift some trips onto GO, and passengers would benefit from faster trips into and out of Union Station, with smooth connections to their buses.

    MiWay & other municipal transit agencies have co-fares with GO transit ($0.65 currently) or offer “stickers” which allow travel to and from a GO station. So why not a “GO sticker” for a TTC Metropass? Or for that matter, a TTC “sticker” for a GO passholder that limited them to certain routes (to & from GO stations).

    Another way would be to convert the GTA Weekly Pass to allow travel on GO as well as the municipal transit systems. Currently if you purchase a weekly pass you can make unlimited trips on the municipal transit systems only. Revise the system so that passengers who want to use a GO service for a “GTA” connecting trip would be allowed to use a maximum of two other municipal transit agencies.

    So for example, if I wanted to get from Mississauga to York Region today under the GTA Weekly Pass I would have to take MiWay, BT Zum, then VIVA (all buses, all indirect trips) – or MiWay, TTC & Viva (which would probably be faster but then I’d be another body on the subway). What if I could take MiWay, GO & VIVA (all buses, but direct & faster trips) with the GO route & agencies being pre-selected & indicated with stickers on the weekly pass or virtual stickers on a PRESTO pass.

    Once the fare media is made sufficiently usable and the number of passengers making those trips expands, then there will be more demand for better service between GTA cities and hopefully by then Metrolinx would be ready to have those important talks.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: If Metrolinx/Presto would actually work on enabling a truly regional fare system, not simply an automated version of the existing tariff, they would actually have a product. However, that gets us into the whole problem of subsidies and the debate on whether regional travellers deserve a higher subsidy (e.g. lower combined fare) than they already get.

  38. Karl Junkin says:

    Steve said: If Metrolinx/Presto would actually work on enabling a truly regional fare system, not simply an automated version of the existing tariff, they would actually have a product. However, that gets us into the whole problem of subsidies and the debate on whether regional travellers deserve a higher subsidy (e.g. lower combined fare) than they already get.

    No doubt that subsidy is a big part of it in its own right, but one of the other concerns that surely must be on the radar is changes in the supply and demand dynamic, a particularly grave concern for GO and TTC for whom capacity expansion is very expensive.

    We have a society that’s built around people’s ability and freedom to regularly make longer trips, which are the most difficult and expensive to accommodate on transit. If the fare model is going to be overhauled, I believe it is in the interest of system sustainability to keep that fact in mind, even if it doesn’t align perfectly with policy goals – else risk making existing capacity shortfall problems worse.

  39. With regards to fare integration (a little off this topic, but it has managed to make it here), Durham Region Transit has an arrangement with GO that effectively makes GO buses operating within Durham a DRT bus for transfer purposes for any part of a journey. The restriction to this is that the trip must either start on a DRT bus where a transfer is obtained, or may be started on a GO bus but ONLY if a DRT ticket is used (cash fare paid on a GO bus provides no transfer, so one will still have to pay when boarding a DRT bus).

    One thing I liked when I was in Oslo was that I had a weekly pass for the commuter rail service to get me from my hotel to near where the office was. The NSB pass was also a pass for local transit in the zones it covered. This would be like buying a GO pass between a station in York Region and Union and it would get you on both YRT and the TTC.

    I too feel that Metrolinx should have more of a focus on regional integration over the technical bells and whistles of infrastructure. My five point fare integration plan has only had minor adjustments since I put it out, and the powers that be really need to address this in the near future.

  40. Robert Wightman says:

    Karl Junkin says:
    July 19, 2011 at 9:26 am

    @Robert Wightman:

    “Full details in links below:
    “Consultant feasibility report
    “Horizontal Alignment
    “Vertical Alignment

    “My memory isn’t perfect; it’s $22M, not $20M. In 2011 dollars that would $25M.”

    That is good if you want to get to the North Toronto Sub which the consultant considers highly unlikely. It does not get anyone onto or off of the Bloor Danforth Line

  41. Karl Junkin says:

    @Robert Wightman: I thought we were talking about a connection between Richmond Hill line and Eglinton – not Bloor-Danforth.

    The Eglinton crossing at CPR is much better suited for designing a transfer station than Eglinton at CN Bala. The heights between lines is vastly friendlier at CPR.

    The consultant considered it unlikely because of the assumption trains would use it to go to Summerhill and that volumes would be too low to make any sense – that was pre-Metrolinx, of course. Using this connection via CPR to get to the Don Branch, whose connection to CPR would be found by Millwood, is a whole different story that has not actually been evaluated to date, but should bring noteworthy improvements, particularly in the context of an electrified line.

  42. Jacob Louy says:

    As for the secret plan to quickly revert the Eglinton line back to its subway/surface configuration, how fast can the change in plan take effect? Can the re-adoption of the subway/surface proposal happen immediately in 2014 (provided that you-know-who is gone), or does another study have to be done again?

    Steve: I think that train has already left the station. In theory, no new study is needed, but in practice, before going back to a subway/surface scheme, some of the problems with the original design need to be fixed notably the intersection designs and the alignment through Black Creek and Weston.

  43. Jacob Louy says:

    @Mimmo Briganti

    I think what Steve is trying to say (correct me if I’m wrong, Steve) is that an Eglinton subway would merely shift passenger traffic further north on the Yonge Line and do nothing about passenger capacity under downtown Yonge Street.

    Conversely, a DRL would shift passenger traffic away from existing subway lines, as well as not dump passenger traffic onto already-crowded lines.

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