To Scoff or Not To Scoff? (Updated)

Three comments originally posted here were on the subject of the TTC strike on May 29th.  I have moved them to the post specifically dealing with that issue.  If you want to comment on the strike, please do so there as it makes my editing job simpler.  If you want to talk about fare collection issues, please comment here.  Thanks. 

Sometimes, events unfold in unexpected ways.  What seemed like a bit of late afternoon trivia has turned into front page news. Continue reading

Old Wine in Old Bottles

Today the Feds were on hand to announce funding of the Union Station expansion.  Shhh.  It’s a secret.  This contract was awarded at the TTC meeting in April and tendered much earlier.  You were not supposed to notice.  Ottawa is trying to convince Toronto that they love us.

Earlier today, I was on CBC’s Ontario Today show talking about this announcement and its implications for transit in Toronto and surrounding communities.  Here is a precis of my position. Continue reading

Streetcar Fleet Planning

May’s TTC meeting included a comprehensive presentation on the streetcar fleet situation in response to the Commission’s clear desire to proceed with plans for new cars as soon as possible.  The intent is to take this presentation (along with the Bus Fleet Plan described in a separate post) to Budget Advisory Committee on June 9, to Policy & Finance on June 20, and to Council on June 27.  Continue reading

Bus Fleet Planning

TTC staff presented a Bus Fleet Plan at the May Commission meeting as part of a general overview of the fleet situation.  This brings to the foreground important issues that are part of the TTC’s and the City’s budget planning process. Continue reading

Christoper Hume and Jeff Gray Write About Transit

The Sunday Star had an article by Christopher Hume called The Error of Our Subways.

While the rest of the world embraced the importance of transit, Toronto wasted time and money on momuments to egotistical politicians and technology boondoggles.

There are a few glitches in Hume’s article, but it’s good to see this whole debate getting an airing.  If we are going to spend money on transit, let’s spend it in the right place.

Meanwhile, Jeff Gray writing in today’s Globe reports that the number crunchers at Queen’s Park have combed through recent Federal Budget papers, and have found not one penny to pay for the Spadina subway extension to York University. 

How long will it take for someone at Queen’s Park to wake up to the fact that they could build a really great LRT network focussed on York U with the $1.3-billion represented by the provincial and municipal shares of the Spadina subway proposal? 

The fact that York U and their supporters have wasted so much time and effort on a subway proposal shows how badly understood the real alternatives are.  That’s the legacy of those wasted decades and the thinking that brought us the Sheppard subway.

I remember former mega-mayor Mel Lastman saying that “real cities don’t use streetcars”.  Sorry Mel, but real cities built transit systems while Toronto argued where to put a few miles of track.

Can Dalton McGuinty and David Miller save us from this folly?  Do we have to wait until both are safely re-elected before we start considering alternatives?