Presto! Pay Now, or Pay Later (Updated)

Updated July 8, 2011 at 10:00 am:

[Readers new to this item should read the original post, and then come back to the top of the item for the update.]

At the Commission meeting, I presented this deputation.

In the discussion that followed, it became clear that there are aspects of the deal between the TTC and Presto that the parties would prefer to hide from public view.  Some of the details are up to Metrolinx to release, not the TTC.

On the matter of the recapture of the provincial loan for the cost overrun on the project, TTC’s Chief General Manager Gary Webster explained that Metrolinx had agreed to “hold the TTC harmless”, to use the legal phrase, against extra costs beyond what fare collection now costs the system.  Apparently the payback of capital is very similar to the proposed arrangement with the proponent of the Open Payment system.

There would be no payment to Presto before savings in fare collection costs begin to accrue, although the detail on these payments remains to be worked out.  The intent is that the sum of the cost of Presto service and the loan repayment will not exceed current costs.

Questions remaining unanswered include:

  • If the load is to be repaid over 10 years, but if there has not been enough cumulative saving in fare collection costs by then, what happens with the outstanding debt?
  • Is Queen’s Park contributing anything additional to the Presto project, or is the entire cost overrun entirely on Toronto’s back?
  • How aggressively will the TTC have to migrate riders from the current system to Presto in order to generate the hoped-for savings?
  • What is the status of Presto on the bus system given that the report proposing the financing scheme does not mention buses at all?

During the debate, Chair Karen Stintz stated that any regional integration would not occur until after 2015, presumably when Presto was fully rolled out.  Indeed, it is not practical to restructure fares before the fare collection system can handle whatever new tariff is in place.  Again, this begs the question of the status of the bus fleet which handles a great deal of cross-border travel.

Commissioner Minnan-Wong, unsatisfied with the level of detail in the discussion, moved deferral of the item, but this was voted down with only him in favour.

A update report on the status of negotiations with Presto will come back to the Commission in October or November 2011.

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The Route to Ashbridge Carhouse (Updated)

Updated July 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm:

At its meeting on July 6, the TTC board accepted the staff recommendation that the access route to Ashbridges Bay Maintenance & Storage Facility remain on Leslie Street.  The presentations accompanying the discussion were more extensive than those in the online version and I have reproduced selected pages below.

My deputation to the meeting argued that the TTC should keep open the Knox/Russell routing option in case problems with the Leslie option are even worse than are now known.

Several others appeared in support of various options and alternatives.  Neighbouring businesses and residents on Leslie are generally opposed, while Canada Post maintains its strong dislike of the Knox route.

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Service Changes in July 2011

In a previous post, I described the diversions that will begin on July 11 around the reconstruction of the King/Bathurst grand union.

Beginning July 18 and continuing until early September, the 506 Carlton diversion around the Gerrard Street bridge, originally announced for June 19, will actually get underway.  Trackwork on the bridge has been in rough shape with slow orders for some time.  The planned date for return of streetcars to Gerrard Street is September 11.

Westbound service will run via Broadview, Dundas and Parliament.  Eastbound service will run via Parliament, Queen and Broadview.  Cars have been added to the schedule to compensate for the added mileage.

Effective July 31:

192 Airport Rocket: On the northbound trip, buses will serve the upper level bus stop at Jetliner first, then the arrival level at Terminal 1 and the arrival level at Terminal 3.  On the southbound trip, buses will exit the Airport via the ramp to southbound Hwy 427.  These changes are intended to free up running time to improve service reliability.

504 King: Streetcar service will return to Roncesvalles Avenue, although King cars will continue their diversion around the track and overhead work in Parkdale via Shaw and Queen.  There are only minor changes to some off-peak headways so that the running times work out.  However, I suspect with the traffic congestion on Queen and the inevitable streetcar short turns, service on Roncesvalles will not be as good as what is now provided by a dedicated bus shuttle.

Runnymede Station: The construction at Runnymede Station is supposed to be officially completed now, and 71 Runnymede, 77 Swansea and 79 Scarlett Road will return to their normal routings.

512 St. Clair: Overhead between St. Clair and St. Clair West stations will be retrofitted for pantograph compatibility.  Buses will replace streetcars on this section of the route after 10:00 pm weekdays, and all day on weekends.  The TTC claims that there will be timed transfers at St. Clair West.  Regular service resumes on September 4.

A Few Questions About Eglinton-Crosstown (Update 3)

Updated July 4, 2011 at 11:10 am:

Recently, the Toronto Star reported that Metrolinx had claimed that the travel time by underground LRT from Kennedy Station to Jane Street would be 25 minutes.  They have now confirmed that the correct figure should be 35 minutes.

Also, the full presentation given at the recent board meeting regarding the Eglinton line is now available online.  Only the station design portion had been posted originally.

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Bloor-Danforth Late Sunday Openings for Viaduct Beam Work (Updated)

Updated July 1, 2011 at 8:45 am: The slow order on the viaduct has been lifted both ways, and trains are running at normal speed between Broadview and Castle Frank for the first time since December 2010.

Original post from June 23:

This coming Sunday, June 26, and three additional Sundays through to late September, the Bloor-Danforth subway will not operate between Pape and St. George Stations until after noon.  A replacement shuttle service will be provided.

This will allow work on the bridge beams and track that has proceeded at a snail’s pace since the slow order, both ways, was imposed last December.

The full announcement is on the TTC’s site.