The Metrolinx “Big Conversation”: What are The People Saying?

Through early 2013, Metrolinx conducted roundtables across the GTHA to sound out interested citizens on the transportation plan, “The Big Move”, and on possible ways that this might be funded.  A summary report consolidating the input from each area makes interesting reading.

“Consistent, top-line themes” are identified right at the outset:

Participants across the region feel frustrated with the level of congestion they face on highways, roads and public transit. They feel the negative impact of gridlock on family life, work obligations and health. The inadequacy of existing public transit systems is a common concern for participants. GTHA participants agree that across the region – along its busiest routes – our roads, highways, subways, trains and buses are straining to meet demand.

The need for reliable and frequent service was heard consistently across the GTHA. Participants are looking for leadership among transit providers to collaborate and deliver improved levels of service that is better integrated across the region. Participants look forward to system improvements that will allow them to more easily coordinate their schedules, enjoy a wider range of transit options with less uncertainty and stress, and travel more efficiently and cost-effectively from A to B. [page 3]

A few points leap out here:

  • “Public transit” is a generic problem, not a “GO” or “TTC” or “HSR” issue, and there is no call for a few “magic bullet” solutions.
  • Frequency and reliability rank highly, and would-be riders want to see better co-ordination and service delivery.
  • Efficient and cost-effective travel are important.

A subtle but important linking factor here is that delivering on these issues requires a network approach, and high quality operations are at least as important as building new infrastructure. Continue reading