No More Subways? It Must Be Something In The Air

No sooner do I write about the TTC’s capital budget woes, but former Chief General Manager Rick Ducharme is quoted in today’s Star saying we shouldn’t build more subways.

“We can talk about plans, we can talk about co-ordination.  You can talk about smart cards.  All that to me is irrelevant.  You need big investments.  That stopped over 20 years ago.  I don’t really see any political visionary that really would take on the fight to do it.”

Ducharme’s not campaigning for the job.  But if he had his way, Toronto wouldn’t build another subway.  To him, it’s a waste of money to spend $2 billion on a few kilometres with a handful of stops.

The better, cheaper, faster choice is to hand over lanes of roads to buses and streetcars.  With $2 billion, the city and the region could be covered with fast-moving transit vehicles that won’t get caught in traffic and would have a predictable and reliable schedule.

… “Give me a dedicated rights-of-way, and it will work.” …

“You need a political visionary who’s got guts to say: `I’m doing it. I’m not going to listen to the complaints of car drivers.”

For the full story, click here.

Is this the same Rick Ducharme who allowed the Ridership Growth Strategy to be amended to include the Spadina and Sheppard Subway extensions?  If he feels that they are such a waste of money, why did he bring forward these schemes and recommend that the TTC endorse them as its top priority for expansion rather than an alternative proposal?

When the Toronto Star, the former CGM at TTC, and the chief transit rabble-rouser are all singing the same tune, something very strange is going on.  Now we need politicians in all regions and at all levels of government who will fight for transit.

David Miller:  It’s time you recognized that your constituency is the transit riders of the City of Toronto and started fighting for things that will benefit all of us.  Indeed a move away from subway-dominated planning will benefit everyone in the GTA by showing what can be done over a much larger area for far less money.  Toronto could lead the way in a transit renaissance, if only the Mayor would actually embrace the role.

One thought on “No More Subways? It Must Be Something In The Air

  1. It’s also the same Rick Ducharme who, only three and a half months ago, was described in his “The Car Rules T.O” interview in The Star this way:

    Ducharme agrees the extension of the Spadina subway line to Vaughan is the correct next move, which should be followed by completing the Sheppard subway line to Scarborough.

    It is the same article that implied Rick invented the “State of Good Repair” mantra, so maybe it didn’t get Rick’s view on subways quite right either.  But if it did, that’s a very quick reversal on a very specific point.  Maybe he’s thinking of running for office after all.

    Steve:  I think he should stay retired.  The TTC seems to be doing quite well without him.

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