Keeping the Sheppard Subway Running

In another thread, Mimmo Briganti commented on the TTC’s revelation that we wouldn’t save anything by closing the Sheppard line.

So it turns out that closing the Sheppard subway would only save $300,000?  Total idiots!!  Why do they go out spreading such stupid PR when they don’t even have their numbers straight?  That $10M figure they quoted was supposed to be NET (after the replacement buses were added).

If this new figure is accurate, doesn’t it destroy your argument against the Spadina extension?  If the capital cost of the extension is paid for by the senior levels of gov’t, and the operating cost ratio (subway vs. # of buses) is similar to Sheppard, isn’t it peanuts to run the extension on a cost per passenger basis?

I don’t get it — these numbers just don’t add up!

I agree that the numbers just don’t add up, but there isn’t enough detail in the report and I have been too busy with other matters to try to work through an “alternative” estimate.  Alas, we still don’t have an estimated cost to operate the Sheppard line itself, only a claimed delta.

Going from a claimed $10-million annual saving to zero shows a huge error in estimating techniques and undermines the credibility of all of the TTC’s service and cost based proposals.  This has happened regularly at the TTC, but never on such a spectacular scale.

Note that the $300K figure is for closing the Sheppard and Spadina (north of St. Clair West) lines only on weekends.  There is no cost estimate for a full closure.  Of course, you can’t really close the Spadina line operationally because it provides access to Wilson Yard.  Sheppard at least could be mothballed, but you don’t get savings from that unless you close it 7×24.

The average weekday ridership on the Sheppard Subway, at 43,000 trips, is matched only by the Dufferin bus, and that route (a) is longer, (b) has good bi-directional demand, and (c) has good all-day demand.  The Sheppard riders are much more concentrated in space and time and would require a very frequent peak bus service.

As for the Spadina line, we must be absolutely certain that the capital costs will not block other deserving projects from being funded.  Otherwise we could sink every penny of provincial or federal grants into one line but still not have capital available to expand the rest of the system.

The TTC also published a cheerleading report yesterday about why the Spadina extension project must go ahead.  I will turn to that report in a separate post.