Various media outlets have reported that the Expert Panel struck by Toronto City Council to review options for the Sheppard East line will recommend the original Transit City LRT plan, not a subway extension.
To the amazement of many, Mayor Rob Ford appears to be trying for a compromise, but given his history, that word probably has a different meaning for the Mayor and his circle than for the rest of us. The essential problem is to decide whether the subway will end somewhere west of Scarborough Town Centre (Don Mills? Victoria Park?) or if the “compromise” plan would presume getting to STC some day. If that’s the “compromise”, them building an LRT to meet the subway would come under fire as a waste of money, and we would be back, essentially, to Ford’s all-subway plan for Sheppard.
Meanwhile, TTC Chair Karen Stintz and Councillor Josh Matlow held a packed meeting in North Toronto to explain and advocate for the LRT option endorsed by Council. Although there is good support for LRT, an uphill battle remains to counter the Ford camp’s pro-subway spin.
City Council will meet in March 15, 2012 to consider the panel’s report which, if the agenda process runs true to form, should be available in advance of the meeting.
The TTC will implement several service changes on March 25, 2012. These are mostly in response to growing demand on the bus network, although this also includes slightly better service on the Bloor-Danforth subway at weekday midday and early evening.
Actual average loads for current service and the projected values following the changes are no longer included in the memoranda issued by TTC Service Planning. This means that we cannot see how close to the line ridership is, or to what degree it already exceeds service standards.
Correction: The average load information has been moved to a completely separate section of the service change memorandum, and I did not catch this.
Updated: The table of service changes linked here has been updated with the loading information.
Although many services will improve, the amount of service to be operated falls within the currently-approved budget. Looking further out, the budget includes the usual summer reduction in service levels, but there is provision for increases in the fall. By November, the TTC will be back at a service level slightly better than in January, just before the most recent round of cutbacks. That is on an overall basis with cuts in some services and loading standards going to pay for improvements elsewhere.
2012.03.25 Service Changes