Updated September 6, 2013 at 11:10 am: There is an excellent article by Stephen Wickens on his blog recounting the sorry history of Queen’s Park’s imposition of the ICTS technology on the Scarborough route.
It is worth noting that the ICTS cars cost over $2-million each 30 years ago, an outrageous sum. The price to Vancouver was much lower, well below $1m each, and the TTC order was used to funnel money from Queen’s Park to offset the development costs of the new technology. This is what passed for a “transit strategy” in the Davis government.
Updated September 5, 2013 at 11:00 am: My comments about Transportation Minister Glen Murray’s Scarborough subway announcement yesterday are now online at the Torontoist.
The original post follows below.
The prestige and success of the TTC, and of transit in general, depend on its being seen as constantly improving. A great deal of time has been wasted between 1969 when the TTC first proposed the SLRT [Scarborough LRT], through the failed premise of GO Urban (which should have been running in 1975) to the present. Only the rising cost of operating a car has driven up ridership during a period when the Commission’s common response to complaints was to cite its “service standards” and look the other way.
Despite the cost of fuel, there is a large demand for transportation in the Metro region which will not abate. Pressure for the completion of the expressway network continues at least partly because the TTC network does not address large segments of the travel demand.
If the Scarborough line fails, and with it the promise of comparatively cheap suburban rapid transit lines, the TTC will have set back its own future and the future of Metro with it.
Letter from me to Julian Porter, TTC Chair, June 12, 1981, in anticipation of a decision to change the mode of the proposed Scarborough LRT to the provincial “ICTS” technology.
In the intervening decades, we have been badly served by Queen’s Park, Metro/City Council and the TTC with scheme after scheme based on short-term political considerations, make-work projects and “who you know” transit planning.
Little more needs saying.