On March 16, 2017, Metrolinx released a series of studies dating from July 2016 containing the “Initial Business Case” reviews of proposed new GO Transit stations. The list came from an earlier process in which Metrolinx began with every conceivable location for new stations on the planned Regional Express Rail (RER) network and winnowed this down to those that were, broadly speaking, workable. The New Stations Analysis from June 2016 explains this process and the outcome, the choice of whether a station is “in” or “out” of the network, is summarized in the following map:
I asked Metrolinx why the detailed reports on each station were only released now rather than concurrently with the Board report.
Q: … the station analysis reports were only released [March 16, 2017] although they are dated July 2016. Moreover, the Board considered a report on this subject in June 2016 but the detailed reports have not been summarized nor presented to the Board publicly at this or any following meetings. Why has it taken so long for these reports to be published?
A: Upon approval from the Board last June, we engaged with our municipal partners and other stakeholders to finalize the documents. Metrolinx requested formal confirmation of funding from municipalities by November 30, 2016. Once that was received, we worked to get the business cases posted as soon as we could.
If one reads only the summary report presented to the Metrolinx Board, one might have the impression that many of these stations show a positive benefit for the network. However, the detailed reports tell a different story and beg the question of how Metrolinx planning staff got from the business cases to the conclusions in the Board report.
The posted reports are dated over six months ago, and their date does not reflect more recent work, if any, with “municipal partners and other stakeholders”. Whether this is only an editorial oversight, the basic issue is that the case made in the station analyses is not as rosy as the one presented in the summary report to the Board.
A key issue here is that many of the stations form part of Mayor Tory’s SmartTrack plan, and a Metrolinx report throwing cold water on their effectiveness would run contrary to the claims made for SmartTrack’s potential. One might ask whether the Board was misled about the potential harm the SmartTrack stations could bring to GO/RER’s goals.
- Any new station adds travel time to a GO Transit corridor.
- Demand models are sensitive to travel time, and they predict a loss of ridership if trips are slower.
- New stations could bring new riders, but these are not necessarily sufficient to offset the loss of longer trips which are the raison d’être of the GO network.
- New riders from stations close to Union make shorter trips at lower fares leading to a net revenue loss even without considering the SmartTrack proposal to charge “TTC fares” for travel within Toronto.
- The loss of longer trips drives up the modelled use of autos for commuting compared to what would have happened without these stations. This has a compound effect through the business case analysis because many factors depend on reduced auto mileage.
There are three fundamental issues here. First is the problem of repurposing the regional GO/RER network to provide local service within Toronto. Although SmartTrack as proposed in John Tory’s election campaign included very frequent service, what is actually to be implemented is considerably less ambitious thanks to constraints (both physical and financial) on GO’s investment in additional capacity. Planned peak period services are:
- Stouffville (Scarborough) corridor: 7 trains/hour with an average headway of 8.6 minutes
- Kitchener (Weston) corridor: 6 trains/hour with an average headway of 10 minutes
- Lake Shore East corridor: 11 trains/hour with an average headway of 5.5 minutes
The only corridor to receive service at the level foreseen for SmartTrack is the Lake Shore, and this is applicable only to stations from Danforth (at Main) to Don (at or near the Great Gulf East Harbour development). This higher service level results from the combination of trains on both the Lake Shore East and Stouffville corridors serving these stations. Any new ridership due to SmartTrack has to fit within capacity planned for GO/RER.
Second is a problem of assumptions in the modelling. In all cases, a new station is seen as slowing down GO service, but a major benefit cited for GO/RER electrification is the ability to serve more stations with no increase in trip times over diesel operations. The business case models assume a 1.8 minute delay for each additional stop, and this translates to ridership loses for the long-haul travellers whose trips are affected. However, this analysis does not take into account the possibility that new, electrified service would be implemented concurrently with the new stations thereby eliminating the delays.
Depending on the corridor and the degree of electrification, some trains could remain with diesel power, typically those running to the outer ends of routes beyond electric territory. These long trips would suffer more delay than the shorter electric-propelled ones. However, if the diesel trains run “express” past some or all of the new stations, the resulting service levels will be less attractive to riders, and the wait for a train to Union from an inside-Toronto station would be a substantial portion of the total trip.
I asked whether electrification had been taken into account:
Q: In the studies, there is a reference to the extra time needed to serve a new station on the line, and in the case of Lawrence East this adds 5% to the upstream travel time. Has this number been adjusted to reflect operating characteristics of electric trains? One important point in the electrification study was that these trains could sustain more stations with the same running times as existing diesel trains having fewer stops.
A: Electrified vehicles were assumed in the calculation of delay time.
This does not address the issue that if stations are added concurrently with electrification, there may be no change in travel time and still possibly a net improvement.
Q: For corridors with multiple proposed new stops, there is the question of the cumulative upstream effects which, I suspect, are not additive.
A: The business cases analysed stations individually and independently. Effects of adding multiple stations to a line would be cumulative, creating trade-offs between end-to-end trip time and the journey time of individuals taking advantage of new stations. This limited the total number of stations that could reasonably be added to a corridor.
That last comment is telling in that it effectively says there is a point where making a route more “local” is counterproductive. This is no surprise, except possibly to SmartTrack advocates.
A related issue acknowledged in the studies, but apparently not in the modelling, is that other factors will influence the choice between driving and taking a GO train – increased road congestion, the difficulty of obtaining parking at one’s destination, and a reduction in car ownership levels over coming decades. A large component of the negative analysis for some stations arises from a ridership loss than may not materialize.
The third problem is the proposed “TTC fare” on SmartTrack services, and the parallel efforts by Metrolinx to change the TTC fare structure for “rapid transit” services to more closely match its own fare-by-distance model. Demand studies for the Scarborough transit network have shown that a TTC fare (defined as the current flat fare with free transfers between routes) combined with very frequent service (12 trains/hour) contribute substantially to potential ridership for SmartTrack. Without these, less demand migrates from the TTC network to GO/RER.
To put these issues another way, there is little point in adding stations to the GO network if the combination of location, service level and fare attracts little ridership inside Toronto, while extra travel time for trips originating outside of Toronto drives riders back to their cars. That said, I believe that the unattractiveness of GO as an alternative to TTC would be a more serious effect than the anticipated ridership loses because other factors would affect a decision by long-trip commuters to move away from GO.
Indeed, if capacity on GO services were compromised with large volumes of short-distance riders, this could be as much of a deterrent to GO ridership as the extra time spent at inside-Toronto stations. The Business Case reports do not address network capacity issues because they review each station proposal in isolation except where station catchment areas overlap.
Almost all recent controversy between Toronto and Queen’s Park centres on capital subsidies for a number of projects, and operating costs are left for another day. However, the position of GO and SmartTrack in the network is intimately linked to operating costs as this will affect the sharing of incremental expenses for new station operation, pressures for additional capacity and service, and fare subsidies by Toronto to bring GO fares down to “TTC” levels.
The current studies do not address the relationship of SmartTrack to existing GO stations and the question of whether “TTC fares” will be available at Milliken, Agincourt, Kennedy, Danforth, Bloor, Weston and Etobicoke North stations, let alone stations on other GO corridors within Toronto. Why should a rider from a SmartTrack station travel downtown for a “TTC fare” while those at Rouge Hill, Cummer, York University, Kipling or Long Branch be forced to pay on the GO Transit tariff?
How much is Toronto, a city that refuses to properly fund its own transit system, prepared to subsidize travel on the GO network within its boundaries?
The following sections review each of the proposed stations on the GO network as presented by the corresponding Interim Business Case report, grouped by corridor.
Toronto Council has agreed to fund eight stations, six of which lie on the “SmartTrack” corridor from Scarborough (Stouffville line) through Union Station to Weston. Two stations are part of the Barrie corridor.
Several scenarios were used to evaluate the stations, although not all options were considered in each case because local circumstances ruled them out.
Beyond the question of demand models and potential for ridership gains or loses discussed above, other factors appear commonly through these station reviews. Notable among them is the difficulty of attracting new riders to stations on the rail corridors within Toronto. These lines tend to lie in industrial districts well away from major residential or job markets. They are dependent on walk-in trade, to the extent that any exists, as well as connections from TTC routes. Unlike the typical 905-area GO station, the new sites within Toronto will not be surrounded by acres of parking and cannot depend on park-and-ride as their primary source of traffic. This makes the combination of service frequency, speed and fares even more important if GO/RER is to provide a credible alternative to or supplement of the TTC network.
A recurring problem with the reports is that selective data such as daily gains or loses of riders are sprinkled in the text, but the consolidated numbers are given only for a 60-year evaluation period. Where changes are reported, they are not given in context relative to the base numbers of projected riders, nor, as mentioned earlier, with any reference to the available capacity on each corridor. All of the financial effects (hard and soft) flow from these ridership numbers, but it is unclear how they were derived or how alternate assumptions might affect them. To avoid repetition, I will not mention this for each study, but statements regarding ridership, revenues and costs should be treated with caution.
I have asked Metrolinx for additional data on existing and projected demands so that these can be compared with the effects reported from the station modelling exercises. I will add this information when it is available.
Finally, there is an odd viewpoint about what constitutes a “nearby” station in several of the studies where the distance from a potential station to residential density is seen through the eyes of a suburban driver, not as by a city resident who measures trips in blocks, not kilometres. This is especially troubling when access to a station would require going out of one’s way or a difficult walk where where local geography interferes with a “crow fly” access path.
This article deals with stations in the Stouffville and Weston corridors. In a second installment I will turn to the Barrie and Lake Shore corridors.
This corridor branches off of the Lake Shore East corridor at Scarborough Junction, just west of Scarborough GO station (at which Stouffville trains do not stop). It runs north between Kennedy and Midland with existing stops at Eglinton (Kennedy station), Sheppard (Agincourt station) and Steeles (Milliken station). The line is single track, although a project to double-track it north of the portion of the corridor GO shares with the SRT is now underway.
The reports claim that several options were considered for some or all stations in this corridor:
- Base case: RER network, no new stations, no fare integration, 2031 demand projected from 2013.
- Option 1: Base case + one new station, a 1.8 minute schedule effect, all trains stopping, the SRT has been removed.
- Option 2A/B: A 3rd track is added to provide express operation skipping the new station.
- Option 2D: TTC fare at new station
- Option 2E: Addition of demand from major development proposals
Despite this list of options, the reports do not actually contain information on how each of these options performed in modelling or costing. Only Option 1’s results appear in the text.
Each of the stations is evaluated in isolation, and so the effect of building more than one (Finch East and Lawrence East) will be different from a one-station addition.
This station is included in the list of six SmartTrack stations to be funded by the City of Toronto. It is key to provision of mid-Scarborough access to “rapid transit” following the shutdown of the SRT’s station at the same location.
The station design below is a preliminary one for the purpose of this study, but it gives some idea of the physical layout a station here will involve. Of particular note is the need to remove the SRT before this structure, including its double track, can be installed. This begs a question about how soon this station could actually come into service given that the SRT is supposed to continue operating until the Scarborough Subway opens in 2026. This implies that GO would have to continue operating over the shared section of the corridor until that date, and the Lawrence East GO station would open at best in 2027 depending on the complexity of construction. Note that the study assumes an opening date for the SSE of 2023 [p. 13] even though the later date was well known by the timeframe in which this study took place.
The bus loops now included with the station are abandoned and are replaced by parking access, just the sort of madness that infect so much GO planning, even though integration of this “SmartTrack” station with the TTC is an essential part of the plan. Transit passengers would use stops on top of the overpass, and this report uses a rather sunny description omitting the fact that riders now have direct access from the bus loop to the SRT platform.
The placement of the station’s entrances and accessible mini-platform allow an improved, more direct transfer to be made between Lawrence Avenue TTC bus services and the proposed GO station. Access would be facilitated from atop the Lawrence Avenue road bridge overpass down to the station’s central platform via new elevators/stairs. TTC bus stops currently located east and west of the road bridge footings would be relocated onto the bridge itself. No lay-bys would be provided. The mini-platform is positioned directly between the two sets of elevators/stairs, minimizing travel distances for passengers with mobility needs. All station entrances would be accessible. [p. 7]
Current TTC plans for the revised Scarborough bus network do not include any routes terminating at this station. This might be a SmartTrack station, but there no effort is made to create either a “mobility hub” (as Metrolinx would call it) or an attractive, well-served connection to the TTC.
The additional stopping time for this station is forecast to cause Stouffville GO ridership to drop by 490 passengers [p. 10, Table 4-1]. This translates to a substantial negative value for this site by the loss of long-haul trip revenue and associated effects of additional driving and congestion. The transit feeder service will only be attractive to riders living directly on the Lawrence East bus route.
Ridership forecasts indicate that Lawrence East would attract an estimated 495 new passenger trips in the AM peak period in the 2031 scenario, or approximately 1,405 new trips per day. The station would serve predominantly as an origin station (rather than a destination station), with virtually no passengers expected to alight at the station in the AM peak period. Additionally, an estimated 60 existing GO rail passengers would be expected to use the new station, instead of their current station, to enter the GO rail system during the AM peak period (175 passengers daily).
While the introduction of this station would have the potential to attract a number of new riders to the system, it would also result in an additional delay for a significant number of existing riders destined to Union Station and beyond. An estimated 5% increase in overall travel time would be experienced by upstream riders as a result of trains stopping at Lawrence East. Any delay is expected to deter some existing upstream riders, in this case, resulting in a loss of approximately 665 passengers is anticipated in the AM peak period, or almost 1,895 riders per day, in the 2031 scenario.
When balanced against the estimated new ridership that the station would generate, an expected net loss of approximately 170 new AM peak riders (490 daily) is anticipated to result from the introduction of a station at Lawrence East. [p. 20]
The projected loss of riders and fares over a 60-year evaluation period is shown in the table below. As detailed earlier, these numbers must be taken in the context of the study assumptions, notably the loss of riders through additional stopping time. If this is offset by faster electrified operation, or if the actual effect on riders is less than projected, then the fiscal situation may not be as gloomy. That said, a concerted effort would be needed to ensure that the station has a good transit catchment area, and in that regard it would be competing with the many routes that will feed into STC station. Moreover, STC station will probably open well before the Lawrence East GO station and will establish demand patterns based on a network with no rail station at Lawrence East.
The report is contradictory on the potential for nearby development saying that the station has “Insufficient densities and moderate development activity” [p. 10] and yet listing several possible development sites [p. 13]. However, the phrase “The station is … not well-situated” appears repeatedly in the section on Real Estate Market Demand [p. 18] in respect of current and future residential (condo) and commercial developments.
The capital cost of the station is estimated at $23.2 million (2015).
Ellesmere Station was evaluated as a potential future RER station, but did not make the cut due to low demand and development potential.
Like the station at Lawrence East, an Ellesmere station assumes the removal of the SRT structures. Access would be provided from bus stops on top of the bridge over the corridor rather than from stops at the end of the approach ramps as is the case with the SRT station. Unlike Lawrence East, there is no existing bus loop. This is a very lightly used SRT station.
Much of the text in this report is similar or identical to the corresponding sections of the Lawrence East report. The demand section for Ellesmere
Ridership forecasts indicate that Ellesmere would attract an estimated 400 new passenger trips in the AM peak period in the 2031 scenario, or approximately 1,140 new trips per day. The station would serve predominantly as an origin station (rather than a destination), with no passengers expected to alight at the station during the AM peak period. Additionally, an estimated 154 existing GO rail passengers would be expected to use the new station, instead of their current station, to enter the GO rail system during the AM peak period (554 total daily boardings).
While the introduction of this station would have the potential to attract a number of new riders to the system, it would also result in additional delay to a significant number of existing riders destined to Union Station and beyond. An estimated 1.8 minute increase in overall travel time would be experienced by each upstream rider as a result of trains stopping at Ellesmere. Any delay is expected to deter some existing upstream riders In this case a loss of approximately 660 passengers is anticipated in the AM peak period, or almost 1,880 riders per day, in the 2031 scenario.
When balanced against the estimated new ridership that the station would generate, an expected net loss of approximately 260 new AM peak riders (740 daily) is anticipated to be generated by the introduction of a station at Ellesmere.
The 60-year projection for riders and fares is shown below.
The projected capital cost is $23.2 million (2015).
The station at Finch East is included in the list of six SmartTrack stations that would be funded by the City of Toronto. Its design is considerably different from the one used at Lawrence East and at Ellesmere. The station plan below shows a “future grade separation”, but in fact this work is part of a separate project GO plans to undertake separately from work on SmartTrack.
Finch East station is estimated to have 621 boardings in the AM peak period and 1,777 boardings daily in 2031. There are no AM peak period alightings estimated for this station. In 2031, it is expected that ridership at Finch East would increase to 3,743 trips daily.
After subtracting the approximately 4% of upstream riders that would be lost due to the additional travel time to serve the new station, there would be a net loss of 42 daily boardings in the GO system in 2013 and 89 daily boardings in 2031. This net loss would occur because the ridership gained at the station is expected to be less than the upstream ridership lost. [p. 33]
The plan includes a large bus loop, but the TTC projects that only two routes (39 and 199) will pass the station. It is unclear why such a large facility is required, and unlike the large terminal at STC station, this will not be a location fed by outside-416 operators who can connect to GO further north.
The projection of rider and fare losses for Finch East are substantially different from those for Ellesmere and Lawrence East stations. Notably the change in “upstream boardings” is only 40% of the level shown for the stations further south even though the delay to the trip is the same 1.8 minutes for the addition of one station. It does not make sense that 60% of the lost riding would occur at Agincourt (the only station between Finch East and Ellesmere or Lawrence), and so there is something fundamentally different in the demand model for Finch East as it relates to travel time and lost ridership.
I have asked Metrolinx to clarify the difference in these estimates. Quite clearly if the expected ridership and revenue losses are under- or overstated at any of these stations, this will have a big effect on the financial projections.
The station’s projected cost is $108.9 million (2015). This does not include the cost of a grade separation which is estimated at $56 million [City report on RER grade separations].
Kitchener (Weston) Corridor
The Weston corridor branches off from the main Union Station corridor west of Bathurst Street and travels diagonally northwest. This is the same corridor used by the Kitchener GO service and the UPX to Pearson Airport. There are existing stations at Bloor, Lawrence (Weston) and Etobicoke North. A new station is planned to link with the Crosstown LRT at Eglinton (Mount Dennis). It is not yet certain whether this will be in addition to or as a replacement for the existing Weston station.
New stations have been proposed in two locations. One, broadly speaking, is at Liberty Village which lies south of King and west of the corridor. Alternative sites for this have been included in the IBC report. The other location is at St. Clair Avenue.
As with stations in the Stouffville corridor, the studies make reference to optional configurations, but do not include results from examination of the options.
A station generally in the Liberty Village area is one of the six SmartTrack sites that will be paid for by the City of Toronto.
Three locations were considered for a station serving this area:
- Northeast of Liberty Village
- Old Parkdale Station (Queen & Dufferin)
- Lansdowne south of Dundas
Liberty Village and adjacent areas are high density neighbourhoods where development is still in progress. Would-be travellers to downtown are faced with existing transit services on Queen, King and Fleet/Queens Quay depending on which route is closest to their homes. The lack of capacity on the streetcar routes is a chronic condition brought on both by the TTC’s streetcar shortage, but also by City Council’s refusal to adequately fund service. Whether this is appropriately “fixed” by a new GO/RER/ST station is a question not addressed by this study.
The Lansdowne station was rejected as having little potential because it is in a low density neighbourhood far from the developing areas south of Queen.
The Queen-Dufferin station is something of an anomaly because it is projected to generate more new ridership than the Liberty Village station further to the southeast. This may be because the commercial segment of Liberty Village is toward the west end of the district at Dufferin. This emphasizes how the primary function of either station site will not be to move residents to downtown, but to bring workers to the offices in Liberty Village. It is clear that this station has regional benefits, and yet its construction will be on the City of Toronto’s account thanks to the original outlook that it would provide an alternate way for people to travel from Liberty Village to downtown.
The proposed station at the west end of the King Street underpass below the rail corridor is the most centrally located of the three to existing and planned residential development. Access would be entirely by walk-in trade although transfer traffic from the streetcar service on King is conceivable in a unified fare environment. The station is designed for access from the south via a tunnel opposite Atlantic Avenue and from the north by an entrance near the south end of Dovercourt Road.
The combination of access path and service frequency is important because, for all their problems, the streetcar services will be closer to many riders and operate more frequently. In terms of convenient access, the Liberty Village station is only close by the northeast corner of its namesake district and the southeast part of a development area now building up along Queen Street. Many who live south of King would be closer to Exhibition station on the Lake Shore West corridor, and the new Liberty Village station does little or nothing for those living east of the railway overpass (from Sudbury eastward).
Although the station is located close to potential residential developments, it is unclear whether it would actually attract riding from parallel TTC routes especially if there service is improved, and a premium remains for riding the GO trains. The commercial district of Liberty Village is to the southwest and would not be well served by any of the proposed stations.
Ridership projections for this station are described as:
Ridership forecasts for Liberty Village indicate that a new station would attract an estimated new 1,735 passenger trips in the AM peak period, or approximately 4,945 new trips per day, in the 2031 scenario. This station would predominantly serve as a destination station (rather than an origin station), with approximately 94% of new riders alighting at the station. An estimated 50 existing AM peak passengers (140 daily) would also alight at this station.
While the introduction of this station would have the potential to attract a number of new riders to the system, it would also result in additional delay to a significant number of existing riders destined to Union Station and beyond. An estimated 5% increase in overall travel time would be experienced by upstream riders as a result of trains stopping at Liberty Village. This delay is expected to deter some existing upstream riders, resulting in a loss of approximately 270 passengers in the AM peak period, or almost 770 riders per day, in the 2031 scenario.
When balanced against the estimated new ridership that the station would generate, an expected net gain of approximately 1,465 new AM peak riders (4,175 daily) is anticipated to be generated by the introduction of a station at Liberty Village.
This is a very different situation both from the stations in Scarborough and the general pressure for a “Liberty Village” GO service for residents. The station would primarily be a destination, not an origin, and would therefore be serving people coming from other parts of the GO network to the commercial buildings in the neighbourhood. It would not be attracting riders away from the TTC. The degree to which it would attract SmartTrack fares depends on where the people commuting to this area live. If they are “in town” trips from other Toronto locations, then these are SmartTrack fares. Otherwise, they are GO transit customers from the 905.
One issue not addressed here is that a second track is planned for the Barrie corridor, and this will crowd uses on the north side of the combined Weston/Barrie corridor at this station. This affects not just the station but also the West Toronto Rail Path.
The projected capital cost is $30.8 million (2015), but the plan below does not include the required second track for the Barrie corridor’s planned service level. How this affects the cost of a Liberty Village station remains to be seen.
The proposed St. Clair station on the Weston corridor is one of the six SmartTrack stations that would be built at the City’s expense. It has a difficult location at St. Clair and Keele hemmed in by existing streets. This is a location where the City is studying the expansion of the street underpass below the rail corridor to improve traffic conditions. Any new station at this location would be built as part of a project to expand the underpass.
There is a rather odd statement in the study:
The station would also serve nearby lower-income residents, but overall transit benefits would be limited due to the lack of a direct connection to the St. Clair streetcar line and the potential for duplicated service at Mt. Dennis GO. [Executive summary]
Considering that the St. Clair car has a stop at Keele Street, the remark about a “direct connection” is hard to understand. Whatever was needed would be designed into a revised underpass and station. Mount Dennis station is more of an issue because it will intercept potential transfer traffic further north leaving only local demand for a station at St. Clair.
The area around the station is low density with much underutilized land and big box stores. Whether it would redevelop with a GO/ST station is a difficult question.
The St. Clair West (Kitchener) station is located in an employment and commercial district, near the western end of the 512 St. Clair streetcar line. The station is relatively isolated from its surroundings, cut off by the rail corridor to the west, the St. Clair Avenue underpass to the south, and an existing Hydro corridor to the north. With the exception of a new townhouse development west of the station site, the station’s immediate surroundings consist primarily of bigbox retail developments, industrial buildings, warehouses, and parking lots. Surrounding this predominantly commercial area is a ring of established residential neighbourhoods. [p. 6]
The plan below does not include all of the proposed tracks for this corridor, and therefore the property requirements maybe greater than shown. Also, St. Clair is shown in its current configuration, not with any widening of that road or extension of the rail underpass to make room for more tracks on the corridor.
The location is not well suited for future commercial development, and the degree to which residential development might occur is difficult to say. The study makes an odd observation about this:
The station is acceptably situated relative to current residential market demand. While there are no actively marketed condominium units within the catchment area, the broader Roncesvalles/Junction condominium market has approximately 1,000 units being actively marketed. Demand (i.e., sales) have averaged 200 units per annum over the past five years, and average sale prices ($5,683 per sq. m) are sufficient for market viability. [p. 20]
This is an example of the sort of outlook I mentioned earlier. It is unclear why someone in the Roncesvalles/Junction neighbourhood would travel north to St. Clair & Keele to board a train that will stop at Bloor & Dundas.
Ridership potential here is limited:
Ridership forecasts for St. Clair West (Kitchener) indicate that a new station could attract an estimated 455 new passenger trips in the AM peak period, or approximately 1,295 new trips per day, in the 2031 scenario. This station would serve more as an origin station (rather than a destination station), with approximately 87% of new riders boarding at the station. An estimated 110 existing GO passengers would be expected to use the new station to enter the GO system (instead of their current station) in the AM peak period, or 310 passengers daily.
While the introduction of this station would have the potential to attract a number of new riders to the system, it would also result in additional delay to a significant number of existing riders destined to Union Station and beyond. An estimated 5.1% increase in overall travel time would be experienced by upstream riders as a result of trains stopping at St. Clair West (Kitchener). This delay is expected to deter some existing upstream riders, resulting in a loss of approximately 298 passengers in the AM peak period, or almost 850 riders per day, in the 2031 scenario.
When balanced against the estimated new ridership that the station could generate, an expected net gain of approximately 160 new AM peak riders (460 daily) are anticipated to be generated by the introduction of a station at St. Clair West (Kitchener).
Over its lifetime, there is a slightly positive net fare revenue, but as with many other stations, this would replace longer trips originating further out on the corridor with short trips inside Toronto. Even though the fares balance out, other evaluation criteria show a net loss because longer trips are diverted, in the model, back to autos.
The projected capital cost of the station is $27.4 million (2015) exclusive of any cost of widening the corridor for additional tracks or replacing/expanding the St. Clair underpass.