Last week, the TTC adopted a plan for rejuvenation of the streetcar fleet that will see the first new cars on the street by 2011. It’s taken a long time to get a plan that keeps everyone happy including the financial beagles, but this one seems to be acceptable to all.
Note that the version here is a low-res PDF file so that readers don’t have to wait forever for the bigger version to dribble down the line.
Now for a brief tour through the plan and some of its intriguing details.
This page shows the four main options under consideration:
- A full Life Extension Program (LEP) for the CLRV fleet and putting off any new car orders until the 2024 accessability requirement forces the issue.
- An LEP for about 3/4 of the CLRV fleet with a four-year deferral of acquiring new cars, but with final delivery still timed for 2024.
- An LEP for 100 cars plus immediate procurement of new vehicles.
- No LEP at all, plus immediate procurement of new cars.
A variant of option 3 was in the original 2007 budget, but a variant of option 4 is what the Commission has adopted.
Options — LRV Deliveries
This shows the delivery plan for the various options and suboptions. The points with the letter “A” in a circle are points where a contract award is required.
Note that in both versions of option 3, there is a break in new car deliveries. Basically what option 3 does is to procure some new cars to beef up the fleet for service expansion and new lines, but defers full replacement of the CLRVs based on their extra lifespan through LEP.
Both versions of option 4 involve immediate procurement with option 4b doing so in two stages — 50 now and 154 in 2012. By avoiding commitment for the full capital amount, we keep our options open if nobody wants to pay for the rest of the fleet.
Note that all of these give us a fleet of 204 vehicles that will be considerably larger than the capacity of the existing CLRV and ALRV fleets combined. The exact ratio depends on the specs of the cars we actually buy.
Streetcar Routes Converted to Buses
This map shows the options for freeing up streetcars to handle growth in demand while various options play out. Option 4 requires only that some of the King trippers (now operated mainly by ALRVs) be replaced by buses for a three year period pending the delivery of more cars. Given the mess that King is already in, this seems the worst possible place to “borrow” cars and replace them with buses.
By the way, nobody has mentioned where the buses will come from. Personally, I have other ideas but will leave them for a separate discussion.
Official Plan Streetcar/Bus Routes
Now life gets really interesting. Here is a map of various schemes in various stages of development. A few of them are quite striking including:
- Waterfront West goes all the way to Long Branch rather than stopping at Park Lawn.
- Kingston Road goes along Danforth Avenue into Victoria Park Station (which is to be substantially rebuilt as part of another project).
- Bremner Boulevard’s line is shown explicitly.
- The St. Clair/Eglinton LRT shows up. Who would ever have thought of a streetcar on Scarlett Road?
- The Sheppard East line is (a) not a subway and (b) enters the Scarborough Town Centre from the north.
- The Don Mills line has its southern terminus at Pape, although where they will put the vehicles and passengers is a mystery to anyone familiar with the station.
The purpose of this chart is to show the magnitude of the plans, to show them as a network, and to show the potential delay to their implementation if we don’t order new streetcars immediately.
Just what it says. The important part here is that the Net Present Value of option 1 (the one originally favoured by the fiscal conservatives) is in the same ballpark as the NPV for option 4. The only difference is the timing of the expenditures.
Note again that there is no provision here for the additional capital or operating cost of buses to provide service that would otherwise be handled with streetcars, or the impact such reallocation of resources might have on the bus network.
Options Summary and Recommendation
This consolidates both the information from all of the preceding pages.
Note that the Estimated Final Cost of $1.5-billion for this project includes inflation over the next 10 years. I look forward to a more detailed breakdown of this estimate, although the real issue will be the unit price of new cars once we have some bids to look at.
If the proposed LEP does not actually happen, the TTC has to shut down work now in progress on some of the supply contracts and may bear some costs involved in prototype production.
Bombardier won’t get to rebuild the CLRVs, and they will have to sharpen their pencils for a bid on new cars, something I suspect they would rather be building anyhow. Of course there is the question of competition from other bidders, and that will play out once the request for proposals comes out later this year.
There is still the tiny matter of funding all of this, but I am guardedly hopeful. Regardless of which level of government comes calling with loot, the total cost of this project is considerably cheaper than one subway extension and will have a huge impact on Toronto’s transit network.
This scheme, combined with a streetcar-laden presentation about the value of public transit in city building, is a huge change for the TTC and shows that there’s hope for some real advocacy in that quarter. When I see this sort of work on the macro scale, and hear good words of last weekend’s Transit Camp at the Gladstone where several senior TTC folks attended, I might even start sounding optimistic about the future of transit!
[For a review of the Transit Camp and links to related sites, click here.]