Updated November 26, 2013 at 5:50 pm:
I have written a commentary on the City of Toronto budget as it affects the TTC on the Torontoist website.
For further information please see:
I will add comments here on some of the details at a later date.
Updated November 21, 2013 at 10:50 am:
The TTC Board approved a fare increase effective January 1, 2014 at its meeting on November 20. The new fares together with a comparison to 2013 fares appear in the following table.
As expected, the Commission opted to freeze cash fares on the premise that these are most commonly paid by people for whom large volume purchases are difficult (i.e. the poor) and who would be disproportionately affected by an increase to $3.25 (8.3%). Instead, the Metropass trip multiple is bumped by 1 so that the breakeven point for the adult pass is now 49.5 rather than 48.5 trips.
The result of this scheme, detailed in the table, is that single fare media go up by about 1.9% while adult passes rise by about 4.1%. The claim is that passes are purchased predominantly by people who are employed and who can afford the larger increase. The increased multiple does not apply to Students/Seniors whose trip multiple actually falls slightly because the pass prices are rounded.
TTC Management argues that the average number of trips taken by a pass holder, as determined by trip diaries that a sample of users keep, has risen from 70.5 in 2010 to 74.3 in 2013 with the result that there has been a drop in revenue per trip. The increased multiple is supposed to partly compensate for this. What management fails to establish is whether the extra riding imposes any real cost on the TTC through service needs, or if these are simply “convenience” trips that would not be taken if a full fare were required just to ride a short distance.
The table shows the effective fare for each pass type presuming that the holder of the pass takes 74 trips/month.
The discussion about fares took some odd twists as Commissioners tried to establish that sticking the extra cost to pass holders could be justified. Glenn De Baeremaeker reasoned that moving to a $3.25 cash fare would create extra lineups at collectors’ booths in the subway as people asked for change. He completely misses the fact that the token fare, at either $2.65 or $2.70 is difficult to purchase with exact change as is the Metropass during the flurry of sales at month end. When the proportion of fares paid by cash is considered, the amount of “extra” delay at booths will be trivial, but if this makes the Commissioner sleep more easily for his decision, so be it.
Commissioner Anju Virmani, not usually the most talkative member of the Board, spoke from her private sector background and asked about internal efficiencies. Although she only joined the Board as a “citizen member” recently and this is her first budget cycle, I find it astounding that she appeared to be unaware of the years of cost-cutting measures and reviews of TTC practices under the Ford/Stintz regime. She even brought up ideas such as naming rights and philanthropic support for the transit system, something that tends more to address capital than operating budgets, and which in any event cannot possible produce revenue on the scale needed to sustain the transit system. Moreover, such “donations” create a tax expenditure for the federal and provincial governments, and so the net cost of the contributions would not fall wholly to the private sector donors.
Completely absent from the budget debate (or from Management’s report) was any information about alternative fare strategies or service designs and their effect on budgets or fares. It is no secret that the TTC will roll out Presto in 2014, and yet there is no mention of the need to shift away from the existing Byzantine transfer rules that cannot be implemented in the smartcard medium.
Among the options that should have been included in the report, but were not, are:
- Move to a time-based fare of two hours. At a meeting on November 19, 2013, in Southern Etobicoke (which will be the subject of a separate article), the TTC’s Mitch Stambler stated that the cost of a time-based fare could be $20m/year.
- When the Service Standards were rolled back to the pre-Ridership Growth Strategy level, the estimated saving in operating costs was about $14m/year. Even allowing for a backlog of needed improvements, an allowance of $20m/year to return to the RGS standards would be reasonable.
- The operating subsidy per ride has fallen from $0.93 in 2010 to $0.78 in 2013 (with an expected rise to $0.79 in 2014). If the 2014 subsidy were at the same per-rider level as in 2010 (17.72% higher), the subsidy would be $76m higher than the level actually proposed by the City Manager. If inflation at 1.5%/yr were included, the per rider subsidy for 2014 would be $0.986 and the added subsidy would be about $80m.
Chair Karen Stintz was surprised to learn about the drop in per-rider subsidy because she had thought that it was to be maintained at a higher level, about $0.82. Her own policies, however, with continued support of subsidy cuts (if only through the inflation effects of a frozen subsidy) during a period of riding growth directly led to the lower subsidy per ride.
Commissioner Josh Colle proposed , as part of an amended budget approval motion, that the City return their operating subsidy per rider to 2010 levels or higher. This is unlikely to fly for 2014, but it sets the stage for a debate on restoration of TTC funding cuts in future years. Colle also proposed that both the Provincial and Federal governments be approached to increase transit funding.
Although the budget as passed still has a $6m gap that is nominally to be filled by additional savings to be found as the year goes on, Chair Stintz indicated that she will push for the City to increase the 2014 from the City Manager’s proposed $428m to $434m to cover this. In the new world of a City Hall with Mayor Ford’s influence and moral sway deeply eroded, the City budget debates in general will take on a new tone as the artificial austerity of a regime unduly focused on tax cuts begins to unwind.
I will return to this topic as the City budget process continues through early 2014.
Original article from November 13:
The TTC will consider its Operating Budget on Monday, November 18. Included in the proposed budget are:
- Options for a fare increase
- Plans for service improvements to cope with rising demand
- Increased operating subsidy from the City of Toronto
This article is a preview in advance of the Commission meeting. I will update it with additional information from debates and from a review of the detailed budget documents when I have access to them.
The total Operating Budget for the “conventional” system (Wheel-Trans is separately funded) is projected to increase in 2014:
($000) 2013 2014 Budget $1,540,948 $1,600,559 Subsidy Required 410,951 434,081
The proposed subsidy from the City of Toronto falls short by $6-million and this must come either from better than expected operating results or from a Council decision to increase the subsidy beyond the level that will be recommended by the City Manager in the City’s forthcoming budget.
With the total operating budget going up by almost $60m, and a requested subsidy increase of $23m, the remainder must come from other sources, primarily fares.
Ridership in 2014 is expected to increase from 528-million in 2013 to 540m in 2014. The subsidy per rider will increase from $0.78 to $0.79, but will still be below the level of $0.93 in 2010. In that year, the subsidy was at roughly the same dollar level as proposed for 2014, but was a larger proportion of the overall budget. The subsidy’s value has been cut both in absolute terms and from the effects of inflation.
TTC Management examined three scenarios for a fare increase, and recommends that the Commission choose between two of them. Common to the three options is a five-cent increase in the adult token fare from $2.65 to $2.70 (1.9%) with proportionate increases in other classes of fare. The three variants are:
- Cash fares stay at $3.00 (not recommended)
- Cash fares rise to $3.25 (8.3%)
- Metropass trip multiple increased to 49 from 48 which, combined with the base fare increase, would take a Metropass from $128.50 to $133.75 (4.1%)
The cash fare has been frozen since 2010, and the proposed increase makes up for inflation over the interim period. This will almost certainly be strongly opposed on the grounds that cash fares are disproportionately paid by those least able to afford them.
On the Metropass side, sales of passes have been climbing in recent years, and the number of trips taken by passholders is also growing. The effect has been that TTC revenues are slightly below expectation because more trips are taken at the flat rate a pass offers, and the effective fare per trip is lower than expected. TTC management continually attempts to bump the “trip multiple” for the Metropass (the number of full fares represented by the price of a pass), and this year they argue that the increased use of passes justifies asking passholders for more than an inflationary increase in pricing.
Depending on whether you are a token user, pay cash, or ride with a pass, you will view these proposals unhappily. Management appears to be asking the Commission to decide whether it wants to stick part of the extra cost to heavy users of the transit system, or to put the burden on the less frequent cash-based riders. Making this an either-or choice is an odd approach.
The underlying question is the philosophy of what fares are supposed to do. If they are regarded primarily as a way to raise revenue, then anything that looks like an opportunity to get more money from riders is attractive. If fares are regarded as a tool to increase transit riding with all of the attendant benefits to the city’s mobility, then pricing should avoid discouraging transit use.
The argument for low trip multiples on passes is that they encourage the “transit habit” as there is no marginal cost for an additional trip to the rider. Indeed, some of those “trips” that the TTC counts as “lost revenue” would not occur if riders had to pay a separate fare for them, and analyses purporting to show riders are somehow taking advantage of the system are misleading.
This will become more important if the TTC moves to time-based fares and throws out its restrictive transfer and stopover policies. At that point, the link between a “fare” and a “trip” will be broken because even the single cash fare will confer the ability to take multiple “trips” for a flat price. Management’s fetish with trip multiples represents a system view based on single fares be they cash, tokens or tickets, that will soon be replaced by one in which riders buy the ability to travel by time.
Experience in recent years suggests that transit service takes precedence over fares, and that small fare increases will not have much or any effect on continued growth in system usage. The inevitable debate, especially in the run-up to 2014 elections, will be over a fare freeze. This could be counterproductive as it would almost certainly lead to further service cuts unless the lost fare revenue is made up from increased subsidies.
Expenses and Service
The TTC responded to the Ford/Stintz era’s subsidy cuts with some internal efficiencies but most notably with service cuts both in the extent and frequency on some routes, and in reduced service standards (greater crowding). Both of these changes are “one time fixes” that control costs by paring what some regard as “fat” or “gravy” off of the system, but they cannot be repeated year after year. Once the marginal routes with nearly empty buses are cut, they cannot be cut again unless we redefine what is “marginal”. Once a bus or streetcar is full, it is full, and trying to cram more onto the service is counter-productive.
One might argue that if only the TTC operated its routes more efficiently, they could provide better service with the same number of vehicles. This is certainly true to some extent, but some service problems arise from issues – such as inadequate scheduled running time – that cost money to fix. Other problems are external effects – such as the poor use of road space with severe congestion arising from traffic regulations that favour parked vehicles over moving ones. Neither of these will be addressed overnight.
The total expense budget for 2014 is projected to be $59.6m greater than in 2013. Of this increase, $17.1m is service-related mainly to keep pace with growing demand while staying within the Commission’s service standards. Details of where the service increases will occur have not yet been announced, but unless there is a change on the subway (such as the long-planned extension of the St. Clair West short turn to Glencairn), it is likely that this money will be spent on surface routes.
Peak service is constrained by fleet size, but in 2014 there will be both new buses and, finally, new streetcars although these will be partly offset by the retirement of older vehicles. The fleet plans, which form part of the Capital Budget, are not part of the online versions and I will not be able to comment on them until I review the detailed budget papers.
The TTC expects some of the cost of service increases to be offset by lower operating costs through the use of larger vehicles (buses and streetcars). Details of replacement ratios and the degree to which additional capacity will be provided as part of the articulated bus and streetcar rollouts are not yet clear. (TTC Management plans to bring a streetcar rollout plan to the December Commission meeting.)
I will leave further review of the budget until after the Commission meeting and a perusal of the detailed budget papers.
This argument is hogwash for TTC users. Unlike many GTHA transit agencies who force riders to purchase 10 fares in order to get the ticket discount, TTC tokens can be purchased in quantities as low as 3.
Cash fares are for occasional users, not for regular users who have cash-flow issues.
While we are at it, the TTC needs to get in line with much of the rest of the GTHA and charge ONE cash fare for all passengers. Concession fares should be only available with tickets or passes.
How big (or small) a percent increase in property tax would be needed to return to pre-Ford service levels, let alone standards that actually match population growth?
Steve: In the 2012 operating budget, management estimated that the elimination of the Ridership Growth Strategy would save $14m (page 4). Allowing for the possibility that this was not a full-year figure, and that service would now address higher demands, a reasonable working figure would be $20m. Property tax revenue for 2013 provides $3.713-billion [see 2013 budget at page 49]. Therefore, an additional $20m would require a tax increase of 0.54%. There would also be capital budget implications because reducing the service standards allowed the TTC to avoid one year’s worth of bus fleet increase and to defer the construction of a new garage. This only affects peak period service which could not be fully restored unless (a) we waited for a few years for new bus deliveries or (b) kept some existing vehicles in service longer than originally planned which, in turn would have an operating cost.
I personally think a lot of this has to change in the minds of the politicians and the people as well.
Why is it that we fight with such vigor for healthcare and education to have no costs to individuals? They are totally paid for by the tax payer. And these are expensive services. Healthcare alone takes up almost half the provincial budget.
Yet, with transit (for both roads and transit), there is this heavy emphasis that people should pay! I don’t know about you, but transit (includes roads) is something most of us use every single day. Most of us use it for things just as essential to life as a visit to the doctor or an education. We use it for work or to buy groceries. I just don’t see why it gets such a low-position in the minds of people relative to healthcare and education.
I’m not arguing that healthcare or education is not important. It’s just wild that transit and roads and infrastructure in general gets such a low emphasis. We squabble over a hundred million here or there … on something people use every damn single day. But we don’t bat an eye when tens of billions are spent on healthcare or education.
We have people rabid about costs and efficient usage about LRT versus subway and density arguments …
Why does society not hold healthcare or education up to the same scrutiny?
Again, I’m not saying we should or shouldn’t scrutinize such spending. It’s just the mentality of people puts transit and infrastructure to the backseat that is surprising.
Until that changes, I’m not sure if the funding for transit will get any better.
You mentioned that
Is this true? A time based system would, for example, charge people by the minute, meaning that slower trips gain more revenue. Isn’t that a bad idea? I mean, that means that if the TTC offers slow service or induces delays, they get paid more for the same amount of distance! It is an incentive to offer slower service.
Wouldn’t it be much better to charge fares based on distance instead? That would create an incentive to offer faster, cheaper, and more efficient service. In a distance based structure, there is an incentive to build high speed/high capacity systems to move people quickly and cheaply (better service). In a time based structure, there is no such incentive, because a slow bus that winds around and stops all over the place (worse service) generates more revenue!
Steve: In discussions about a fare system with PRESTO, the most commonly cited model is a time-based fare such as is already used in some 905 systems. For one fare (whatever that might be) you get to ride for, say, two hours with any number of stopovers, transfers, doubling back, etc. A mileage-based system would also be possible, but it is harder to implement through an incremental rollout, and it also requires knowledge of where people leave each transit vehicle, not just the times that they boarded. A mileage based system also penalizes those who make long trips, the very people we want to attract out of their cars onto the transit system. It would be likely that a mileage-based fare from the outer parts of the 416 to downtown would be comparable to GO Transit fares.
The fare increase is to pay for the wasteful numbering of the lines. The idea to drop meaningful line names to change them to meaningless numbers unnecessarily was pioneered by TTC CEO Andy Byford who is doing it for the sole purpose of selling the Downtown Relief Line (DRL) as Future Line 5 or Future Line 6 thus deceiving suburbanites into accepting the Downtown Relief Line to be sold to us as Future Line 5 or Future Line 6.
Steve: That is total crap. I am publishing your comment only so that I can reply to it.
This sounds an awful lot like a post made here last week. Same person? Personally I say no to fare increases to pay for wasteful subways on Sheppard, to Vaughan and Scarborough Centre.
It is proposed that (adult) tokens go up by $0.05.
What would be the impact if other fares went up by $0.05 as well?
Steve: That depends on exactly what question you are asking. I presume you would want Metropasses to go up at least by the equivalent percentage. Between passes and tokens, this accounts for the lion’s share of the TTC’s revenue.
In any event, if you look at the details of the proposed fare increase, you will see that all ticket rates go up by five cents — tokens, students/senior and children’s fares. Therefore what you ask is already built into the TTC’s proposal.
Cash fares should cost more than bulk fares. It is not a question of whether cash users pay more because cash fares cost more to process. Fares purchased through Presto can be calculated to the nearest $0.01. Cash fares have to increase in multiples of $0.05 since the $0.01 coin is no longer in circulation. JR East and West are already publishing about this as fares are set to increase with the consumption tax hike. In fact, the unprofitability of processing 1 and 5 JPY coins have resulted that cash fares be rounded up to the nearest 10 JPY.
Cost by mileage may seem to penalize long distance travelers, but the impact could be softened by introducing discounts. If someone can make and prepay 15 return trips from Mount Joy to Union every month, a 20% discount could be used to soften the blow.
The trend is heading towards cashless transactions. The cost in processing cash payments means less dollars to the running of the transit system. Air Canada has already moved to cashless cabin. If all transactions are made by Presto, it should bring a substantial cost savings.
I’m in agreement w/Calvin, that concession fares should not apply to the ‘cash’ option.
This simplification would serve to generate modest new revenue (as more people bought tickets) but that helps reduce cash-handling costs, and provides more revenue stability (advance purchase).
A lot of systems in Europe only use line numbers or letters and no names, probably because they run on many, many streets. It is also a lot easier to put 1 or S1 on a sign than Yonge-University-Spadina-York Subway. I am not against using numbers as part of the identification but I am in favour of using an extra letter at the start to identify the type of service. In France the subways use M for Metro whilst in Germany they use U for underground. In case you haven’t notice the TTC got rid of route names on street cars in the 70s; 501, not Queen, 504, not King etc. If you think that the fare increase is to pay for renumbering the subway lines then you need to get a life.
The TTC [budget] still has to be approved by city council. Expect to see the Ford brothers try to make cuts by filibustering. Especially the part okaying the purchase option for 60 additional new streetcars, based on the Ford brothers history.
Steve: The 60 streetcars are “below the line”, i.e. not yet funded. That discussion will come later in 2014 when the TTC would actually place the order. If they are smart, they will wait until after the provincial election.
re: the Metropass multiplier. Some additional riding is trips made on the weekend or outside of peak hours. These trips may or may not have an impact on capacity and service requirements, depending on where and when they occur. However, some additional riding is stopovers, which are not permitted under the current transfer rules. With a Metropass, I can exit my local subway station on the way home and stop at the grocery store before getting on the bus to go the rest of the way. Technically this is considered two trips, but it has no impact on capacity (I am just taking a slightly later bus), and little impact on revenue because it is an opportunity trip made possible by having the pass (the stopover would not have been worth enough to drop another token).
Steve: This is another good example of how the TTC misrepresents the revenue “loss” of passes. Their formulas will all be turned upside down once we move to time-based fares.
I’d rather have a higher fare increase (and pay more) if it meant that service could be improved.
Steve, in my experience most people buy tokens at the token machines, and are not going to do so just at the end of the month. Plus, if the Commissioners really wanted to save some money they could put in more machines for Metropass purchases, or allow for Metropasses to be purchased online somehow and sent to users. And if they wanted to promote online sales, they could offer some sort of discount.
I am not. I use tokens and PRESTO, and the increase is only five cents. A PRESTO trip on Mississauga Transit, for example, is already $2.70. There are other things the TTC could do to make me happy like a co-fare with GO if you use your PRESTO card or time based transfers (sorry to TTC management, but I don’t see the transit systems in places like Oakville, Mississauga, or Hamilton suffering by doing this.)
In other words Steve, you mean saving money thanks to cutbacks. Running two longer buses or streetcars instead of three means less service. When replacing one bus/streetcar with a newer bus/streetcar which is longer, it should be done on a 1:1 ratio where more buses/streetcars is not possible and not on any ratio which reduces frequency.
I concur with this. Regular users of the TTC are going to purchase tokens/tickets (or in the future, a PRESTO card) as they are cheaper.
I also agree with the CASH fare being $3.00 for everyone. If you want to save money, use a token, pass, PRESTO card, ticket, etc. And most people I know who use any transportation system does this now anyway. Only the occasional user would not do this.
I honestly don’t have a problem with the fare increase for 2014. Two big reasons. One the second subway platform is suppose to open in mid 2014 and Pape Station will supposedly have its second exit open at the end of 2013. So no I don’t have issues. Yes city subsidy is low but I’m not sure why ppl are complaining other than city subsidy. Safety has just gone up because of the second exit at Pape opening in 2013.
Steve: But, to be clear, the second platform at Union and the second exit at Pape are projects that are paid for in the capital budget, not from fare revenue.
Steve: The 60 streetcars are “below the line”, i.e. not yet funded.
Where do those 15 streetcars for the Waterfront lines fit in? Is it simply how some of the 204 are funded, how some of the 60 are funded … or 15 more in addition to 264 to make 279?
Steve: I don’t think anyone has thought of consolidating those budget lines. The 60 cars are for ridership growth, and they will consume all remaining storage on the system once the CLRV/ALRV fleets are gone. If we need more, then I suspect Hillcrest might be a good satellite yard once Harvey Shops is no longer the main streetcar repair site.
Transit fares should not be an income support or poverty reduction strategy. Income support to the young or elderly (or poor or unemployed) should be in the form of cash grants by the city (province, whatever). Not in the form of reduced transit fares. Transit pricing should be designed to maximize ridership (for a given dollar subsidy).
Use the right tool for the job.
If my admittedly shakey math is correct, an increase of 5 cents per token means that, when I feed a $20 bill to the token machine, I will get 7 tokens, and $1.10 in change. At present, a $20 gets me 7 tokens and $1.45 in change, which usually turns out to be a Loonie, a quarter, and a bunch of nickels. At least with the new fare, the machine should give me a Loonie plus only two nickels, meaning less weight to carry around.
(“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!”)
I wonder how much it’s costing Toronto to subsidise commuters who live outside the city? Perhaps they should pay a higher fare as they are the ones who are putting the biggest strain on the system.
Steve: There is a lot of reverse commuting that could be said to be putting a strain on the 905’s road network, and there’s an argument to be made that 905ers commuting into Toronto contributes to Toronto’s tax base through the jobs and offices they occupy. I think the whole discussion would seem a lot fairer if provincial participation on transit consisted of more than the occasional megaproject, and if operating funds from that quarter were substantially higher.
That said, Toronto should not simply use any additional provincial (or regional) money just to reduce its own costs because overall that won’t contribute anything to transit improvement.
I hope that they will set aside some money to study the Downtown Relief Line (DRL) in the budget (i.e. the exact route as it’s not clear if it should run through Front St or King St or Queen St). The Downtown Relief Line has to be the TTC’s not just next priority but current priority.
I agree with you Steve on all things about the DRL except that I disagree with your previous comments that the Eastern portion should be built first. I think that the Western portion should be built first as the Western portion is highly dense compared to the low density neighbourhoods of Pape. Yes, I know that you want the DRL to go all the way to Don Mills and Eglinton where there is much more density than Pape but nevertheless the western portion is much more dense and will serve more people. The Eastern portion should be built as part of Phase 2. Moreover, the the more dense Don Mills and Eglinton area which is to be served via the low density Pape DRL will be well served by the Eglinton Crosstown LRT for the forseeable future.
Steve: By the time a DRL opens, the condo forest in the West Don Lands will be occupied as will other major developments in that corridor. Also, the capacity relief at Bloor-Yonge is needed much more from the east. As long as the DRL is presented simply as a “Pape subway”, it won’t get the respect it should in the wider network. Don’t forget that there are almost no high rises from Broadview to Main, but somehow the Danforth subway manages to be full.
Several public transit agencies do not have a cash fare for seniors, students, nor children. It is all one cash fare, equivalent to our adult cash fare. To get the discounted fares, the people have to get tickets or passes. Otherwise its full cash fare.
Maybe the TTC should consider having one cash fare, to ease accounting and passenger counts.
Steve: Easing accounting and passenger counts should not be a driver for a flat cash fare. Imagine being told that you must now pay $3 for every child in place of 75 cents just to make it easier to count the cash and the passengers. There are much more complex issues related to the rollout of smart card fare collection requiring our attention.
Ah, just looked carefully at the Capital Budget. Of the 15 new LRV listed under Waterfront Toronto Initiatives, 5 (West Donlands Streetcar Line) are actually a deletion. The 6 cars for East Bayfront and 4 cars for Bremner Blvd were both bumped another year into the future.
Missisauga uses a cash fare of $3.25 for everyone! To get a discount you must buy tickets. Pretty steep otherwise.
A TTC cash fare of $3 for adults, $2 for seniors, $2 for students and $1 for children old enough to sit in a stroller. Only babies being held should be free. Big kids in a stroller take up extra space and contribute nothing. As it is far too many children walking do not pay a fare. I have seen women get on with a Metropass and pay nothing for 2 or 3 kids in a stroller and walking! Operators are hesitant to make a fuss.
Then again, if they were smart, they would use the 60 streetcar order to help minimize cancellation charges associated with changing the SRT LRT conversion to the BD subway extension.
Where are the costs of the “Leslie Street Barns” noted in this budget? The Barns are one thing, BUT, how about the costs for what is happening on Leslie Street?
Steve: The $497m shown in the budget is for the entire project including the utility relocations and streetscape improvements.
This is a common common theme at many public transit advocacy conferences including the one I attended on Monday of this week. Instead of using transit fares to push social development we need to unbundle transit. Access to society is provided by better, more stable and reliable transit. Financial access to transit needs to be provided by social development agencies not the transit agency.
That said … there are many negative perceptions about people who are on any form of social assistance and these perceptions prevent the authorities from making the necessary decisions to unbundle transit from social development so transit agencies can focus on service.
Please explain how this would work.
Steve: When the order for LFLRVs was originally placed, all of the cars were “TTC” cars because Transit City was a City project. Subsequently, Metrolinx took over part of the TTC’s option for vehicles under the contract, but the total number of cars to be delivered and optioned stayed the same.
The TTC kept some headroom in its share of the total (i.e. they did not retain only the 204 cars now on order) so that they could add vehicles for growth and for new projects (mainly on the Waterfront).
Whether Bombardier will look favourably on the TTC’s now choosing to exercise their option for more cars as an offset to the order lost with the SLRT cancellation remains to be seen.
When does the TTC take care of utilities and streetscape? Weren’t the utilities aged to the point that they needed to worked on anyways?
Steve: If the TTC does work that triggers utility rebuilds/relocations, then they pay for it. Originally, there was talk of a contribution from Toronto Water given that the plant under Leslie is quite old and would have to be rebuilt in about 20 years anyhow. However, at the end of the day, the full cost of this work stayed with the TTC project.
The streetscape work, which is a comparatively small part of the total, is a “good will” undertaking so that there is some benefit to the neighbourhood for the upheaval of the construction.
In any event, the project is entirely financed from the City of Toronto regardless of which agency’s budget it shows up in. There is a good argument to be made for consolidating the costs because too often in the past, projects have been subdivided to hide the full cost of a policy decision. I regret to say that this has been the case with the implementation of the LFLRVs whose cost is sprinkled around various TTC project accounts. Every time a “new” cost surfaces, politicians legitimately ask “why didn’t I know about this”.
Another place this is happening is in the many projects to add capacity to the subway. We often hear about the high cost of a Relief Line, but never about the consolidated cost of all the projects needed to avoid building it, or which could be avoided or reduced if the Relief Line existed. For example, the TTC will tell you that the new signal system will allow them to run shorter headways, but neglects to mention the need for more trains, more operators, more yard space, expanded station capacity and higher operating costs. None of this has been included in the capital or operating budget forecasts.
The same thing happens in other projects outside of the TTC.
Steve, “Don’t forget that there are almost no high rises from Broadview to Main, but somehow the Danforth subway manages to be full.” All subway stations east of Main Station are in Scarborough and still you claim that Scarborough doesn’t have enough density to justify a subway. Also since as you say the Danforth subway is full which it often is even outside of rush hours, it is another argument to bury the Eglinton Crosstown LRT completely as then and only then will it serve as a Bloor Danforth Relief Line (i.e. a Relief Line for the overcrowded Bloor Danforth Subway Line much as the DRL will be a Relief Line for the overcrowded Yonge Subway Line).
Steve, “By the time a DRL opens, the condo forest in the West Don Lands will be occupied as will other major developments in that corridor.” By the time the Scarborough subway extension opens, there will be way more density in Scarborough and the Scarborough Centre area is already very dense.
Scarborough density is 3160.9 / km^2 and has only 3 subway stations. North York density at 3439.2 / km^2 is barely more than that of Scarborough has 12 subway stations on the Yonge University Spadina Line alone which were constructed when the density in North York was less than half the density in Scarborough today. North York also has 5 more subway stations on the Sheppard Line and when that was constructed the density in North York was less than the density in Scarborough today. North York also has 5 more subway stations under construction in the subway extension to Vaughan (only counting the stations that would be located in North York and not counting those located strictly in Vaughan). North York also has 5 underground LRT stations under construction (Don Mills is also going to be underground) whereas the Scarborough portion of the Eglinton LRT has been conveniently made 100% on surface having to wait for green lights of traffic signals. Not a SINGLE Eglinton LRT station in Scarborough will be underground. North York is also set to get 2 more subway stations with the Yonge Line extension to Richmond Hill and this is the only new subway construction project that is shovel ready (not counting anything already under construction) and the only reason construction has not begun is due to overcrowding on the Yonge Line and NOT due to lack of density. So, North york gets 29 subway or underground LRT even though it has density barely more than that of Scarborough while everyone cries “not enough density” when there is talk of building even just 3 more subway stations in Scarborough (Scarborough currently has only 3). I am not surprised that while countless people claim that Scarborough doesn’t have enough density to justify a subway, NOT one of them ever mentions what the density actually is as they know full well that doing so will take apart their “argument”.
Steve, “By the time a DRL opens, the condo forest in the West Don Lands will be occupied as will other major developments in that corridor. Furthermore, the density in the Pape area and also the West Don Lands “condo forest” will be far less than dense than the Scarborough Centre area already is – the Condo Forest is already in existence in the Scarborough Centre area. Also the so called “condo forest” in the West Don Lands is all low rises compared to the high rises of the Scarborough Centre area. There is already high density in the Agincourt area of Scarborough with more high rises under construction which justifies a Sheppard subway extension east to at least the Agincourt GO station in Scarborough.
Steve: You seem to miss two important points that I was making. First, the demand on any transit line does not originate just at the stations and immediately adjacent development, but on its wider catchment area defined usually by surface routes (although one subway can be a feeder to another as we see on Sheppard). I actually have a big argument with those who argue that higher order transit is only justified if stations are surrounded by tall buildings because this ignores the feeder effect well-demonstrated in Toronto. Indeed, some proponents of the Scarborough Subway make that very point when they say that density and the small number of stations (compared to the LRT) doesn’t matter because everyone will get to the three stations by bus anyhow.
I was responding to a comment denigrating the Don Mills line because it runs up Pape Avenue with its low density. The point I was making was that (a) the density will be increasing and (b) there is a relief function for this line as well as network diversity (multiple paths) that it provides. There is absolutely no question that more capacity into the core is required and that it will not be possible to provide this with the existing subway system, contrary to the TTC’s earlier, but now partly abandoned claims. If we are going to build such capacity, at least it should go somewhere it can do some good in the wider network, hence Don Mills.
Quite bluntly I don’t give a damn which former municipality the stations are located in, and Toronto will be better off as a city when we stop trying to fight old battles about who gets what. In Scarborough, the LRT would have been completely grade separated, just like the subway, and would only have been slightly slower by virtue of the greater number of stations and the (much improved) transfer at Kennedy. By the way, since the TTC only plans to run every second train to Sheppard (based on their fleet plans), this means that people bound further out than Kennedy will have to wait for a train going to their destination. Some of the time saved with the transfer elimination will be consumed by the longer subway headway.
One other point about northern Scarborough is that it is very badly served by GO Transit even though there is one active GO corridor there and another possible one. Don’t tell me about fares — that’s a jurisdictional issue with GO and as much of an anti suburban Toronto attitude (in this case a 905 vs outer 416) as some of the claimed downtown vs suburb issues. Of course everyone is not going downtown, but GO could take a lot of trips that are bound from northeastern Toronto (Agincourt, Malvern) downtown a lot more cheaply than building one or two full-blown subway lines.
I have to agree Steve. Although I would like to see any TTC operation outside of Toronto being subsidized by those who are actually benefiting from it (i.e. the extension of the Spadina Line into York Region should be covered by York Region, both to build and to operate that section), however in general there are advantages to the ‘905’ people coming into Toronto – they are providing the businesses who they work for with the manpower they need (and they pay taxes – directly or indirectly – on the properties their business operate on.) Plus, the ‘905’ also attends sports, concerts, theatre, etc. in Toronto, all of which benefits Toronto as well.
This issue will become less of an issue the further we get from January 1st 1998 (when the ‘new’ Toronto officially began.) I still hear from people who refuse to accept that they live in ‘Toronto’ – they live in ‘Long Branch’ or ‘Scarborough.’ This is all nice, but we are all now part of Toronto and need to look at how things benefit not only our area but the city as a whole.
Well Mr Streetcar, I agree we are all in Toronto, I myself am at the Warden/KR area.
You should inform ROGERS, who still to this day addresses my bills as “Scarborough” and when I phone in for service they cannot find me, until I tell them I am in Scarborough( same applies to Bell and a couple of others, AND you should inform the City of Toronto that I am in Toronto. When I call for garbage concerns, they first ask what district I am in, Etobicoke, Scar etc.
I do not understand why the City still calls me “Scarborough”?
I accept the fact that I live in “Toronto” as opposed to “Scarborough”! But in the view of some I am a “downtown, latte drinking, socialist, unionist, liberal elite”! I am proud to be a union member; but I strongly believe in fiscal responsibility, with social responsibility (I hate seeing my tax dollars being wasted!); I drink Tim’s – black; I am not elite – I work hard (and earn every dollar). Yes, I am a proud member of ATU113, and I take pride in what I do as a TTC bus operator. I am proud of the former City of Scarborough. I hate the current politics of “us vs them” that has taken place since amalgamation – that has been the central focus of the Ford era at City Hall!! What has happened to the “what is good for the entire city” concept??
“Not a SINGLE Eglinton LRT station in Scarborough will be underground.”
… except for Kennedy. But don’t mention it to Metrolinx — clearly they goofed in their project whose goal is specifically to enrich the rest of the city at the expense of Scarborough.
Steve: Oh come off it. The original Transit City plan had a network of routes in areas in Scarborough that would never require the capacity of a subway. Then Queen’s Park got into the game, and suddenly the delivery dates drifted off into the future. For their next act, the Minister came up with his own version of the Scarborough Subway, along with some ill-considered comments about how we don’t need an LRT line to UofT Scarborough Campus or Centennial College because all of the students live in Durham.
To suggest that Metrolinx is giving Scarborough a hard time for the benefit of the rest of the city is crap. If anything, Metrolinx is giving a hard time to the entire 416 with project delays and indecision. Don’t try to make this into a “Scarborough against the world” story because that record is worn out already.
Then again, the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763 and we are all familiar with the views of some people in Quebec regarding that piece of paper.
Steve: Scarborough is not a conquered nation. If any part of the 416 has a right to that title, it’s Toronto, but “noblesse oblige” dictates that I, as a latte sipping downtowner, don’t mention it.
Nick L said about Toronto versus former municipalities:
True, but it will be a very long process. Prior to that date, I said that the only way to realize the true benefits of amalgamation would be if the new council were comprised of NONE of the councillors of the former municipalities. Even one former councillor in the first term of the new council would forever establish the separate entities on the way the new Toronto would work. The school boards were the same, and actually tried to adopt the continuation of policies that were different under the separate former boards.
William Paul wrote:
That is an issue partly Canada Post, though they can work with just “Toronto” as the city name, so companies like Rogers and Bell could just use that. Come to think of it, I believe that “North York” did not exist a location by Canada Post until sometime in the 80s (I don’t recall exactly when, but I seem to recall that Mel Lastman had something to do with it).
William Paul also wrote:
Separate districts may be beneficial for internal efficiencies (look at the district numbers used by the Police Services), but you should only have to give your address (probably with postal code) to get your concerns addressed. When I call PowerStream about a problem, their system has me confirm that the telephone I am using is in the area of the problem, so I don’t have to say if I am in Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, or any other area they serve.
Sorry, my sarcastic writing is not as clear as it should be—I failed to follow the main rule of sarcasm, which is to be obviously sarcastic.
That absurd accusations of anti-Scarborough bias are indistinguishable from some people’s real opinions is, I think, a sign that many are failing to engage with the discussion in a way that respects logic, evidence, and knowledge. This starts with an unwillingness to consider actual riding projections as compared to capacity for various modes, and continues on through not even noticing the relative costs of different options and right up to the Mayor’s inability to understand that the RT corridor is fully grade-separated.
If I feel a need to post a sarcastic comment again I’ll make sure it’s unmistakable as a real opinion.
Steve: I was beginning to wonder if something had possessed you!
The TTC really needs to get rid of the archaic transfer policy and put in 2 hour transfers like the 512. On the TTC webpage, the walking transfer policy is so long (with so many valid walking connections) that it would be hard for operators to figure out if the transfer is valid. Making the transfer 2 hours would simplify operations (e.g. no arguing about transfer validity) and reduce a transfer penalty to customers. The loss of 20 million/year is paltry compared to the subsidy of almost 1/2 a billion to keep things running.
As to the point of Scarborough not having underground stations, I live in Scarborough and I would prefer that it be up and running more quickly that having to waste time digging underground. It would be so stupid to build it underground if we already have HOV lanes on Eglinton. The plan was to convert the HOV lanes to a dedicated transit lane. Because there are no HOV lanes from Leslie to Black Creek, that is why it has to go underground. Calgary and Edmonton have no problems running their trains above ground on the medians of roads so why should Toronto have problems?
Well, one could say that amalgamation was the work of an external force imposing its views upon the citizens of the 416 area rather than it being a willing union based upon common interests and desires. As a result, you end up with a reaction that is similar to citizens of a conquered nation, albeit not as extreme, resulting in it being somewhat foolish to expect that time alone will make the underlying discontent go away.
But the British never defeated the Canadien forces, only the French ones. The British were smart enough to realize this so the let the Quebecois keep their language, law and religion.
Indeed, but the “external force” was Queen’s Park, not the old City of Toronto, which is why the Ford Nation-style suburban hatred of Toronto is such a bizarre result.