Union Station York Concourse Opens April 27, 2015

The new GO Transit York Concourse at Union Station will open for business on Monday, April 27. After years of construction and an ever-changing maze pf construction hoarding, the new concourse will show off what the Union Station Revitalization project is all about.

Anyone who travels through Union Station knows the old, crowded GO Transit area under the East Wing of the station. Passengers rushing for trains jostle with queues in the fast food court and the ticket area. The York Concourse opens up space under the West Wing that formerly housed baggage services and parking, an area that for most users of the station simply didn’t exist because much of it was off limits to the public.

The new concourse will add about 50% to the available passenger space and will open up circulation between the waiting areas and the tracks above, not to mention adding new ways to get into and out of the station.

Union_EN-1000x800_201504

This map looks north with the existing Bay concourse at the right hand end of the station. On either side of Bay Street are the old freight teamways which are now pedestrian paths under the rail corridor and access to tracks above.

In the middle of the station is the Via concourse which is not affected by this work. To the west (left) is the new York Concourse.

Both the Bay and York concourses will remain open until after the Pan Am Games this summer, and the Bay Concourse will then close for a renovation to match the new York Concourse with a target reopening date early in 2017. Concurrent work will include completion of the new lower level shopping concourse in two stages (under Via in 2016, and under the Bay Concourse in 2017), as well as heritage restoration of the Great Hall and the East Wing of the building.

The goal is to have three times the space GO Transit has today to serve at least twice the passenger volume.

Also opening will be new accesses to the station and tracks including the first phase of the NorthWest PATH link across Front Street (eventually to extend north to Wellington Street) and the York East Teamway providing another set of stairs up to track level and access to the station itself.

The photo gallery below is from a media tour on April 24, 2015.

Ontario’s 2015 Budget and GTHA Transit Projects

To no great surprise, Ontario’s budget for 2015 included a lot of transit spending, although the degree to which this is new money rather than old repackaged announcements is a tad vague.

The transportation portion of the budget, “Moving Ontario Forward”, begins on page 42 of the main budget document (which is page 74 of the linked pdf). The financial information can be confusing because projects are grouped in various sections depending on their source of funding.

To support Building Together, Ontario’s long-term infrastructure plan, investments of more than $100 billion over 10 years are underway, including $50 billion for transportation infrastructure. This is above the commitment to make $31.5 billion in dedicated funds available through Moving Ontario Forward.(p. 38)

In other words, there are now two pools of funding: the original $50b announced for the first parts of  The Big Move, and a further $31.5b for recently green-lit projects. The original $50b is going toward various projects including:

  • UP Express
  • Mississauga Transitway
  • vivaNext Rapidways
  • Eglinton Crosstown LRT
  • Finch and Sheppard LRT projects.

On the Finch and Sheppard projects, the Budget has this to say:

The Finch West and Sheppard East LRT projects, which will provide reliable and improved transit service on these busy corridors. The Finch West LRT will run along Finch Avenue between Humber College and Keele Street, and the Sheppard East LRT will run along Sheppard Avenue from Don Mills Station to Morningside Avenue. The procurement process for the Finch West LRT project is expected to begin later in 2015. (p. 39)

Additional investments not tied to specific project groups of funding streams include:

  • The PRESTO fare card.
  • Region of Waterloo’s ION LRT/BRT rapid transit project.
  • Ottawa’s Confederation LRT line.
  • Toronto’s streetcar fleet renewal.
  • The Scarborough Subway Extension.
  • Various highway projects. (pp. 40-41)

Moving Ontario Forward: Asset Optimization and Dedicated (Redirected) Taxes

This process began with the 2014 budget and, basically, involves land sales to fund infrastructure costs. In 2014, the target amount was $3.1-billion, but this has now been increased to $5.7b. The projects supported from this source include:

  • Accelerate service enhancements to the GO Transit network, which will lay the foundation for Regional Express Rail (RER);
  • Launch a new Connecting Links program, which provides funding for municipal roads that connect to provincial highways;
  • Develop a new program to expand the natural gas network, which would help more communities generate economic growth; and
  • Enhance regional mobility by investing in Metrolinx’s Next Wave projects of The Big Move, such as the Hurontario–Main Light Rail Transit project in Mississauga and Brampton, and rapid transit in Hamilton. (p. 43)

A further $25.8b (unchanged from the 2014 budget, see list on pp. 44-45) comes partly from tax revenues that are explicitly directed to the Moving Ontario Forward program. Some of this money is not yet in hand, notably contributions expected from the Federal Government.

A big chunk of Moving Ontario Forward is the GO Regional Express Rail (RER) scheme that has already been announced. The map in Chart 1.7 (at page 47) shows RER service to Oshawa, Unionville, Aurora, Bramalea and an unnamed point somewhere east of Hamilton, as well as service improvements on the Milton and Richmond Hill lines, plus the portions of the Stouffville, Barrie and Kitchener corridors beyond the RER limits. This is similar to information in the recent RER announcement, but with a notable difference regarding electrification:

The Province is also enhancing train service on all lines, including fully electrifying the Barrie, Stouffville and Lakeshore East corridors. (p. 47)

The description of RER service is also intriguing:

Regional Express Rail will deliver electrified service, at about 15-minute frequencies, along the following routes:

  • Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West corridors, between Oshawa and Burlington;
  • Union Station to Unionville on the Stouffville corridor;
  • Union Station to Bramalea on the Kitchener corridor, including UP Express; and
  • Union Station to Aurora on the Barrie corridor. (p. 47)

Given that the UPX will itself operate on a 15-minute headway, I hope that this description is merely a drafting error that has conflated two separate services in one corridor.

The Budget goes on to say that beginning in 2015-16, trains will be added on all corridors during various periods. This is an operating cost, not (in the main) a capital cost, and it is unclear whether this is coming from the “Moving Ontario Forward” pot or from general budgetary allocations to Metrolinx/GO.

Funding Partnerships

The budget is quite clear that Ontario is not going to build every project solely with provincial money.

The GO system, strengthened by the Province’s investments in RER, including on the Stouffville and Kitchener lines, will provide the backbone for a regional network. This network will also be the foundation for the SmartTrack proposal in the City of Toronto. Additional funding is needed to support key elements of this proposal, such as new stations along the route and an extension along Eglinton to the busy airport area. The SmartTrack funding proposal entails contributions of about $5.2 billion in new funding from partners, including the City of Toronto and the federal government. (p. 49)

At this point, Queen’s Park is not getting into a technology debate about the Eglinton West branch of SmartTrack and still describes this line as an airport service. However, as we will see later, the “Eglinton Extension” has been hived off as a separate budget item, and it is to be entirely funded with “partnership” money.

Another role for “partnership” funds lies in improvements to the Richmond Hill corridor with flood mitigation. It appears that Queen’s Park regards this as part of the larger bundle of projects that relate to core area capacity relief that should have money from more than one government. Whether Ontario would contribute anything is uncertain, and probably the subject of a future budget announcement if others come to the table.

The Next Wave

The Metrolinx “Next Wave” includes several projects that have not proceeded beyond lines on the map, but for which the province will continue planning and design work:

  • Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit, linking Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington;
  • Durham–Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit;
  • Brampton Queen Street Rapid Transit;
  • Toronto Relief Line; and
  • Yonge North Subway Extension. (p. 51)

Moreover:

In addition to RER, the Province will work with related municipalities to move towards implementation of the Hurontario–Main Light Rail Transit project in Mississauga and Brampton, and rapid transit in Hamilton. (p. 51)

Exactly what “rapid transit in Hamilton” might be is not specified.

The status of various projects is summarized in the following chart (p.52).

OntarioBudget2015Chart1Dot9

As noted above, the SmartTrack elements of this plan at a cost of $5.2b are left for others to finance, and the Eglinton Extension is shown separately with 100% “new partner” requirements. An obvious place where Mayor Tory might save substantially would be to return to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT option for this segment, but we are unlikely to see any shift in his position until evidence from studies now underway shows just how impractical his SmartTrack scheme is in this regard.

What’s In and What’s Out

Notable by its absence is any reference to Waterfront transit which appears to be left in Toronto’s (or the tripartite Waterfront Toronto’s) hands. There is a generic reference to the proposed works at the mouth of the Don River, but nothing specific.

The status of route and technology selections in Scarborough is not touched both because this is a hot potato, and because legitimately Queen’s Park can point to studies now in progress that will sort out the potential role of various lines. Any move away from the subway option will not happen without a shift in Toronto Council’s position, and that is only likely if the project’s cost escalates well beyond the currently projected level.

Further enhancements to GO, notably on the Milton and Richmond Hill corridors, are topics for another day. In particular, Richmond Hill is unlikely to get serious attention until Queen’s Park and Metrolinx wrestle with the combined issues of routes serving the core area from the north and which infrastructure improvements make the most sense as a package.

No other Toronto rapid transit schemes are listed including perennial pet projects such as the Sheppard West and Bloor West subway extensions, nor is there any talk of enhancing the ongoing funding via gas tax revenue that contributes, in part, to the operating subsidy. Moreover, the question of funding accessibility is still clearly in Toronto’s hands.

The Budget doesn’t give Toronto everything it wants, and puts the City on notice that it has to come up with its own funding to address various problems, even if there might be a bona fide call on Queen’s Park for some areas.

At a minimum, there is more definition to what the government claims it will do in coming years. The challenge will be actual delivery, something for which the Liberals at Queen’s Park don’t have a good track record.

Ottawa’s 2015 Budget Transit Funding: Smoke and Mirrors

The federal government has announced a transit fund for coming years and given the impression that this is new money over and above whatever cities might receive today. It’s not, and folks like Mayor Tory who see this “fund” as a way to underwrite their pet projects like SmartTrack will come up short.

The detailed budget paper shows where the transit money actually comes from (jump down to page 187 of the linked pdf), and includes the following chart.

Budget2015Transit

Of the $53b promised over the 10 years 2014-2024, much of this already exists in the budget:

  • Gas tax: $21.8b. Toronto already receives about $150m annually from this source and has built the funding stream into its future capital spending projections.
  • Existing infrastructure funding: $6b. This is self-explanatory, and is not new money.
  • GST Rebate: $10.4b. This is another existing program, and it’s not really a payment to municipalities, merely a foregone source of federal revenue.
  • P3 Canada Fund: $1.25b. This is an existing program, although some of this may be new money. However, it is small change in the overall scheme of transit needs, and is subject to a “merit-based” allocation.

The new “Public Transit Fund” is not a block grant program, but will be based on “merit”, a concept with which Toronto is all too familiar thanks to the machinations of various transit  lobbies and politicians. Moreover, Ottawa looks to deliver projects through a combination of P3s and municipal financing backstopped by federal funding over the life of a project. This effectively defers the cash outlays to future years when a completed project would be paid for like a mortgage. This fund is expected to ramp up to $1b annually, but not immediately, and it is far from clear how much this would actually bring to Toronto or the GTHA.

Whether the private sector actually has the capital and wishes to invest, let alone whether they could do so at a cost competitive with crown borrowing, is a question best not asked. As for municipalities, the borrowing would still be on their books and affect their debt ratios, even with “guaranteed” federal funding to pay this off. To what degree those future debt payments would crowd out net new spending would depend on prevailing economic conditions at the time.

I am more than happy to see money flow from Ottawa to municipal projects, but the budget hype implies a much higher level of new spending than will actually occur. We are a long way from funding the many badly-needed transit projects in the GTHA, let alone seeing a reliable federal contribution on a par with provincial or local governments.

Bombardier Recalls Workers, Staffs Up For Production at Thunder Bay

tbnewswatch reports that Bombardier has recalled all employees temporarily laid off earlier in 2015 (more than 80), and hired 50 additional to work on its Light Rail Vehicle and Bi-Level car production. Both of these have been delayed with supply-chain woes.

I look forward to an updated delivery schedule for the TTC’s Flexitys, and will report on this as soon as news is available.

Ontario Funds 100% of the Hurontario-Main LRT

The Ontario government has announced that it will fund 100% of the proposed Hurontario-Main LRT line, although they would happily receive contributions from other partners such as the Federal government should it be so inclined.

If the Hurontario-Main project proceeds as expected, detailed design will get underway soon, construction will begin in 2018, and revenue service would start in 2022. Whether there  might be staging options for the route would likely come out of the detailed design work. The line has its challenges and intriguing design choices including side-of-the-road running and mixed streetcar-like operation where road space is scarce. Will the province champion this project over local objections, or does this line face years of carping about the “St. Clair disaster” and other fictional effects of LRT?

The Transit Project Assessment for this route was approved in August 2014, but the debate remained on who would pay the estimated $1.6-billion cost. Ontario is already funding 100% of the Eglinton-Crosstown project in Toronto, and a chorus of “me too” understandably arose in Mississauga and Brampton.

A provincial commitment at this level raises obvious questions about and comparisons to the stillborn Toronto projects on Sheppard, Finch and the Scarborough RT replacement. These lines are all but dead thanks to a lack of provincial leadership on LRT not to mention the vote-buying embrace of the Scarborough subway option. If that subway proves too rich for Toronto (or for an increased provincial contribution), the LRT scheme might reappear, but that’s a very long shot. As for Finch West, as an isolated route it could have trouble finding a political market unless it is extended beyond the originally proposed Humber College terminal.

Another obvious question is the future of LRT proposals elsewhere that have only partial provincial funding, or no money at all. Has 100% provincial funding become the new standard and goal for transit expansion in the GTHA? How will this affect planning for other routes, not to mention the substantial demands for better local transit operations to feed expanding regional networks? Queen’s Park still appears to be making up policy as it goes along, and refusing to engage in the larger question of how all of the transit we need will be paid for.

 

GO Transit RER/Electrification Plans Announced

The details of GO Transit’s service improvements and electrification leading to the rollout of the “RER” (Regional Express Rail) network were announced today by Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca.

The plans will please some and disappoint others, but there is little to surprise anyone familiar with the details of GO Transit’s network and the constraints of the rail lines around the GTHA.

RER rollout by line

RER rollout details

If there are “winners and losers” in this announcement, the benefits clearly fall (a) on lines that are completely under Metrolinx ownership and control and (b) on lines that do not already have full service, that is to say, there is room for growth.

Electrification is planned for most corridors by 2022-2024 starting with the Kitchener and Stouffville routes in 2022-23, followed by Barrie and the Lakeshore in 2023-24. The announcement is silent on the UPX service on the Kitchener line and whether the inner portion of the corridor will be electrified as a first step for UPX before 2022. (I have a query out to Metrolinx on this topic.) These dates have implications for rolling stock plans including purchase of whatever new technology — electric locomotives or EMUs — will be used for electric services, and, by implication the eventual fate of the existing fleet.

The scope of electrification will be:

  • Kitchener line: Bramalea to Union
  • Stouffville line: Unionville to Union
  • Lakeshore East: Full corridor
  • Lakeshore West: Burlington to Union
  • Barrie: Full corridor

There are no plans to electrify either the Milton or Richmond Hill lines, nor to substantially improve service on them. In Milton’s case, this is a direct result of the line’s status as the CPR mainline. On Richmond Hill, significant flood protection works are needed in the Don Valley as well as a grade separation at Doncaster. Plans could change in coming years, but Queen’s Park has clearly decided where to concentrate its spending for the next decade – on the lines where improved service and electrification are comparatively easy to implement.

The limits of electrification correspond, for the most part, to the territory where all-day 15-minute service will be provided. This will be the core of the “RER” network with less frequent, diesel-hauled trains providing service running through to the non-electrified portions.

One important aspect of the line-by-line chart of service improvements is that there will be substantially more trips (most in the offpeak) before electrification is completed. This allows GO to “show the flag” as an all-day provider and build into a role as a regional rapid transit service, not just a collection of peak period commuter lines. This will also give local transit a chance to build up to improved GO service over time rather than a “big bang” with all of the changes awaiting electrification.

Over the five years 2015-2020, the Kitchener corridor will see the greatest increase in number of trains, although many of these will not actually run through all the way to Kitchener. The service build-up will finish in 2017.

The Barrie line will receive weekend service in 2016-17 with weekday off-peak service following in 2017-18. The Stouffville line also gets weekday service in 2017-18, while weekend service follows in 2018-19.

Minor off-peak improvements are planned for both Lakeshore corridors in 2018-19.

Peak service improvements relative to today vary depending on the corridor:

  • Lakeshore East: 4 more trains by 2018-19 on a base of 45 (9%)
  • Lakeshore West: 6 more trains by 2019-20 on a base of 47 (13%)
  • Stouffville: 4 more trains by 2018-19 on a base of 12 (33%)
  • Kitchener: 6 more trains by 2019-20 on a base of 15 (40%)
  • Milton: 6 more trains by 2019-20 on a base of 18 (33%)
  • Barrie: 2 more trains in 2019-20 on a base of 14 (14%)
  • Richmond Hill: 4 more trains by 2018-19 on a base of 8 (50%)
  • Total: 32 more trains by 2019-20 on a base of 159 (20%)

Other than making trains longer (where this has not already occurred), that’s the limitation of peak period growth for the next five years on GO Transit. This has important implications for projections of greater transit commuting along the GO corridors, and especially for the shoulder areas within Toronto itself that lie along GO routes, but also face capacity and travel time issues with the local transit system. Unlocking gridlock may be the goal, but the rate of service growth could not be described as “aggressive” especially against the background growth in population and jobs.

This will, or at least should, lead to renewed discussion both of rapid transit capacity within Toronto, and on how GO Transit will address growth beyond 2020. Where should new capacity be provided? What are the realistic upper bounds for various options? How will Toronto deal with demand for expanded suburban subway service to handle growth in the 905?

It is quite clear from the electrification dates that an electric SmartTrack is not going to start running soon, and with frequent all-day service to Bramalea, Aurora and Unionville using diesel-hauled trains operating well before electrification is completed, one might wonder just where SmartTrack as a separate “local” service will fit in.

Beyond these questions lie the more complex issues of travel that is not bound for Toronto’s core. “Gridlock” is commonly cited as the rational for transit spending, and yet this spending does little to improve travel anywhere beyond existing corridors to central Toronto. Demand in the GTHA is not conveniently focused on a few points, not even on Pearson Airport which is a major centre, and single-route improvements do not address the diverse travel patterns of GTHA commuters.

Ontario will spend billions on transit in the coming decade, and sticker-shock has already set in with the huge amount of infrastructure needed. Even this is only a start and the work to truly address travel requirements of the coming decades is only just starting.

College & Spadina Reconstruction (Updated May 8, 2015)

Updated May 8, 2015: The TTC has posted a time-lapse video of the reconstruction for those who want to see the whole thing in two minutes.

On Monday, April 6, 2015, the TTC began reconstruction of the intersection at College & Spadina. The work is planned for a three-week interval, and as of April 10 the project is moving along swiftly. During this work, 510 Spadina buses and 506 Carlton cars are diverting around the site. Resumption of through service is planned for Monday, April 27.

As with all such jobs, the work began with demolition of the existing intersection followed by the pour of a new concrete foundation on which the new track will sit. The track was pre-assembled at Hillcrest Yard and then broken apart into panels which have been delivered to the site on many trailers spotted around the intersection. The TTC’s Brad Ross posted an excellent photo on Twitter of the fully assembled intersection.

Reassembly begins with the diamond in the middle of the structure, and works outward to each arm of the intersection.

My thanks to Harold McMann for the photos of early stages in this work.

Updated April 12, 2015 at 1:40 pm: New gallery added.

Assembly of the intersection began on Friday morning, and two days later, it is nearing completion with only the south quadrant still missing. At the end of the gallery below, the track panel that will be the southbound section of the south quadrant is being reading for its move into position.

Updated April 18, 2015 at 1:10 pm: New galleries added.

Tuesday, April 14: Assembly of the approaches to the intersection is well underway.

Saturday, April 18: Concrete work around the tracks is substantially complete, and some pedestrian paths through the intersection have been shifted onto the pavement to allow work to begin on sidewalk and curb repairs.

The Evolution of Service on 512 St. Clair

The St. Clair streetcar route has seen its share of political battles over the years. Back in 1972, it was the heart of the fight to save the streetcar system from a plan that would have dismantled all routes by 1980 when, wait for it, the Queen subway would have opened. As a first step, trolley buses (remember them?) displaced from the North Toronto’s route 97 Yonge were to take over St. Clair with buses replacing streetcars on a 1:1 basis, a huge cut in the line’s capacity.

An ironic point about this plan shows how riding patterns can shift depending on other aspects of the network. Before the Bloor-Danforth subway opened in 1966, St. Clair had very frequent service (every 1’00” between Oakwood and Yonge including the Rogers Road cars), and the line carried many people east to the Yonge subway. Vaughan Loop was a major transfer point to the Bathurst cars which ran into downtown via Adelaide Street, returning on King.

After BD started running, many riders shifted to north-south routes to reach the new subway line and its connection to a route downtown via the uncrowded University subway. Demand and service on St. Clair declined. Years later, with the opening of the Spadina subway, many riders shifted back to the streetcar because it provided a direct link to the University line with one less transfer. More recently, the population along St. Clair is growing adding to demand on the line.

Unlike most streetcar routes in Toronto, 512 St. Clair operates on a street with more than four lanes. The TTC proposed conversion to a reserved right-of-way in the early 2000’s and this was approved by Council in 2005. The actual construction took forever thanks both to a legal attempt to block construction and to fouled-up co-ordination between various agencies and meddling by local Councillors in the timing of work. (You can read the whole sad story on Transit Toronto’s website.)

By spring 2007, the first segment from Yonge to St. Clair West Station was completed, and streetcar service returned, briefly between St. Clair Station and Keele Street. Summer 2007 saw the launch of work on the western portion of the line, and it did not fully reopen until summer 2010.

Recently, the TTC has been messing around with the schedules on this route and adding supervision in an attempt to provide reliable service, a sad situation given that the route is entirely on reserved lanes. The evolution of schedules from 2007 to 2015 is intriguing, and speaks to the failure of what should be a showcase route.

512_ServiceHistory

The information in this table is organized with the impending March 29, 2015 changes at the left and progressively older schedules moving to the right. Only the January schedules are shown for 2011-2013 to save on space during a relatively quiet period for service changes on this route.

  • April 2007: The line operated over its full length, but with a right-of-way only on the eastern leg.
  • June 2010: Service resumes over the full route with shorter running times, particularly on weekends, and more frequent service than in most periods in 2007.
  • January 2011: Service during some periods on Saturday and Sunday has been improved by 2011 to handle demand on the route.
  • January 2012: Weekday midday service has improved over 2011, but there are no other changes.
  • January 2013: Peak service has improved slightly, offset by some weekend service cuts.
  • January 2014: A 2012 service cut on Sunday afternoons was partly restored during 2013.
  • July 2014: Slightly wider peak service (typical for summer) with improvement in Saturday early evening and Sunday morning service.
  • October 2014: Running times substantially increased in response to a large number of transit priority signals being out of order (13 along the route)
  • March 2015: Running times reduced (but not all the way to July 2014 levels) in response to repair of most (9) of the non-working TSP locations, and experience from a higher level of route supervision implemented in fall 2014.

It is worth noting that during almost all schedule periods, the allocated running times in October 2014 were equal to or longer than those used in April 2007 when most of the route ran in mixed traffic. Some of this was due to added recovery time (weekday schedules), and some to added travel time. In effect, the benefit of the right-of-way on scheduled speed was almost completely undone. This is partly, but not completely, corrected with the March 29, 2015 schedules, but there is still generally two minutes more running time for the route compared with most schedules from 2010 onward (presumably for the residual effect of non-working TSP locations).

A related problem on St. Clair has been irregular headways. The TTC’s stock response to complaints about this sort of thing is that “traffic congestion” is the root of all evil, and reliable service is impossible. In fact, as has been demonstrated by repeated analyses on this site, the real problem lies in uneven departures from terminals and from intermediate time points along the route. This cannot be explained by saying that operators are adjusting to known conditions because these irregular headways appear under all seasons, days of week and hours of the day.

In the fall of 2014, the TTC added route supervisors on St. Clair to act as dispatchers and regulate the service. This had some effect, but the level of on-street supervision cannot be afforded across the system. Indeed, there is no reason why dispatching on headways cannot be achieved centrally and at least in part automatically. This problem is not confined to streetcar routes, and it is a fundamental issue that TTC  management must address particularly as the effects of larger vehicles and wider scheduled headways accentuate the problem on streetcar and articulated bus routes.

How has the actual service evolved over the years? For this we must turn to the TTC’s vehicle tracking data. As regular readers will know, I have been looking at routes on a selective basis since 2007. The discussion below includes data from April 2007 (pre-construction), July 2010 (full line re-opened) and September-November 2014 (pre/post implementation of longer running times and more aggressive supervision).

Continue reading

The Dubious Economics of the Union Pearson Express

In today’s Toronto Star, Tess Kalinowski writes about recently released Metrolinx reports concerning the Union Pearson Express (UPX).

The items of interest are down at the bottom of the Reports & Information page and they include ridership forecasts from December 2011 and May 2013. The latter report was cited as background to the Auditor General’s 2012 Report on Metrolinx [beginning on p. 6 of the pdf].

Given that the projection is almost two years old, one might be tempted to say “maybe things have improved”, but that’s a tad hard to believe in the absence of any newer studies from Metrolinx.

There are great hopes, and even greater hype, for the UPX, and getting some basic information on the table is certainly worthwhile. Continue reading

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