Rob Ford’s Transit Fantasy

Update (September 22, 8:45 am):Yesterday, Rob Ford was on Newstalk 1010 to clarify how he will be able to make up the $250 million revenue that would be lost if he cut the Land Transfer Tax and Vehicle Registration Tax. In the interview, he was asked about the Transit City funding and how it is the province’s decision to allow it to be redirected to other things, such as his plan to extend the Sheppard and Bloor-Danforth subways (see the rest of the original post after the break). He basically felt that if the province deny the use of the money for what “70 percent” of the public in Toronto want, they will have to face what that does for them in the provincial election next year.

This man really has no idea about just how different this funding is, compared with previous projects. In the past, and this includes the Spadina-Vaughan subway extension currently under construction, the funding provided allowed the TTC and the city to build new infrastructure that became their property. The funding in place for three Transit City lines is to build infrastructure that will be owned by the province (under Metrolinx). The TTC  will be heading up the construction project and will be the operator of the lines. Of course, Rob doesn’t seem to realize that if the city wants nothing to do with these lines,  Metrolinx does not have to use the TTC to build them, nor to operate them. We could very well have LRVs sporting a green GO Transit livery that are part of the GO network.

As for the “70 percent” who want the subways, I wonder what happens to that figure when the question is framed around having 16 km of new subway instead of 55 km of LRT lines, including the 13 km under Eglinton. I suspect there are a lot of people not so in favour of two subways to Scarborough Town Centre if it means losing out on something else close to their home. Then, there are the people in Malvern. They would benefit from these two subway extensions, compared to what they have now, but not compared to what they will be getting. The subways would virtually seal the fate of no extensions out their way.

The original posting follows the break…

Updated (September 8, 6:15 pm): clarified the point about replacing some downtown streetcar routes with buses. 

I’m sure Rob Ford would prefer to call this a ‘vision’, but fantasy is the more appropriate word. As much as I agree with Ford’s stand on the spending issues at city hall, it baffles me how someone presumably cost-conscious could advocate what is careless spending of money on subways for the sake of appearing to make transit look better.

You can read for yourself his Transportation Plan, but here is my take on some of his points appear after the break.

Subways make sense

Subways are more reliable, carry ten times as many people as streetcars, move faster and can be scheduled at convenient times. Properly managed, they can also provide an affordable transportation choice for people and families in Toronto.

There is an implication that LRT lines are nothing more than streetcars, so there is nothing incorrect with saying that “carry ten times as many people as streetcars.” For someone so concerned with spending problems with city hall, why on earth would he advocate something that has “ten times” the capacity if the need is only for twice, four, or even six times the capacity? His attempt to equate LRT with streetcars is shown by the fact he never uses the term “LRT” in this plan. Fiscal prudence would dictate that one must consider the correct mode for the current and projected needs of a corridor.

We will complete the Sheppard Avenue Line as a subway line.This will include 12 km of new track and up to 10 new stations between Downsview and Scarborough Town Centre. Cost: $3 Billion.

His costing is reasonable, given that $250 million per kilometre is an acceptable cost. That said, this is on the low end and there may be some additional start-up costs as this involves two separate segments. I am not as opposed to this as I am with radial extensions, as it does create a network-enhancing connection with the extension to Downsview. In my opinion, it would make better sense to connect this with the Spadina-Vaughan extension and leave the YUS line terminating at Downsview. A small bit of cost savings on the Spadina-Vaughan construction could be had by completing stations for four-car trains like the existing Sheppard line. That is pretty much a moot point now that the Spadina-Vaughan extension is underway. The eastern end is also a network-enhancing connection, whether we are talking about the current SRT, an LRT-converted SRT, or a Bloor-Danforth subway extension (see below).

That said, there remains the issues of where the $3 billion will come from (see below) and, more importantly, there will be a duplication with the Sheppard East LRT. Being a Metrolinx project, Toronto council and the TTC will have virtually no say in whether this goes forward or not, not to mention that construction is already underway.

We will extend the Bloor-Danforth Line to Scarborough Town Centre. This will run on the elevated SRT platform and will connect to the Sheppard line at Scarborough Town Centre, completing a “closed loop” making travel across Toronto much easier. Cost: $1 Billion.

Has Rob Ford ever taken a subway?!? Does he not realize how much space is required for a right of way, or for making a turn?

Placing a subway on the elevated SRT platform is problematic for two reasons. First, I believe the loading gauge of the subway will pose a bit of a problem with two trains up there. Even if there is enough room, there may be an issue with the weight of a heavy rail mode on that infrastructure. Ford’s plan also intends to have this subway extension operate on the at-grade section from Kennedy to north of Ellesmere as well as the tunnel under the CN line. That tunnel is a major reason why the RT would need major work for Mark-II ICTS cars. It would require a total replacement for full size subway cars.

Then there is the whole issue with the fact that the current subway alignment at Kennedy is parallel to Eglinton. Getting from there to a north-south alignment is not an easy task and requires an alignment that would basically be totally new, such as curving to a north-south alignment under Midland Avenue. This negates using the existing infrastructure up to the elevated section, adding about a billion dollars to the construction cost. Perhaps, his plans involve tearing down Kennedy Station and rebuilding it on the east side of Kennedy so that this curve can be made west of the station. That would add only another third to half a billion dollars, not to mention the time subway operations east of Warden would be suspended, but it’s all about saving money!

While I’m on the topic of the SRT, the current funding commitment involves not only converting the line to true LRT, but also extending it to Sheppard in a first phase, and later on to Malvern Town Centre in a second phase. Replacing this with a subway extension pretty well means no higher order transit to Malvern for at least a half century, if ever. Has Ford forgotten about the people of Malvern, or does he just not give a damn?

Where we cannot afford subways, we will use clean buses.Combining Express and Collector buses will improve transit service along major arterials. Zero net cost. Cost to purchase and operate new buses will be offset by savings from reduced purchase of streetcars, sale of existing streetcars and reduced streetcar system maintenance.

The capital cost of a bus is less than an LRV, but that is not the whole picture. As an example, compare the new articulated buses that VIVA will be getting later this year from Novabus. These buses cost about $933 thousand each while the new LRVs for the legacy streetcar network cost about $4.9 million each. To properly compare this, one must consider vehicle capacity and life expectancy. The Novabus LFS Artichas a capacity of 112 passengers (seated and standing) while Bombardier Flexities have a capacity of about 176 (seated and standing). A bus will typically last about 15 years while an LRV can be expected to last for 30 years. The capacity difference makes the cost of the buses increase by about 57%  and the life expectancy doubles that. Thus, for the same capabilities we are comparing a $2.93 million bus with a $4.9 million LRV.

The big difference is in the operating cost, and the largest part of the operating cost is the cost of the driver. Where capacity is needed, buses require a greater number of vehicles. On capacity alone, the LRV should cost 57% more to operate, but the energy costs also must be added to this. While all energy costs will rise, I suspect that fossil fuels will rise faster than electricity.

Another consideration is that it is easier to get provincial and federal funding for capital costs than it is for operating costs. If the capacity is needed, should we not be spending more on the capital cost, which is more likely to get funding from other levels of government, in order to keep the operating costs down? It should also be noted that when we are talking about actual Light Rail routes, as opposed to legacy streetcar routes, we are talking about routes where two and three car trains can be operated, which further brings the cost down to a point where it is significantly lower than what buses would cost, not to mention the capacity level that is beyond that of buses.

We will improve traffic flow downtown by removing some streetcars. Streetcars on downtown arterial streets will be replaced with clean buses that provide the same capacity on the same routes. This will make the system safer and more accessible for all users. It will also improve traffic flow. Zero net cost. Cost to purchase and operate new buses will be offset by savings from reduced purchase of streetcars, sale of existing streetcars and reduced streetcar system maintenance.

How does he define “some”? Just how does he expect to get savings from “reduced purchase of streetcars”? Perhaps he will pay the cancellation fee out of his own pocket.

I am very dubious about Ford’s high hopes of getting a good price for the sale of existing streetcars. There is no market for the CLRVs and ALRVs that are at the end of their lives, so he is talking about the sale of the new Flexities. There will be a market for them, but keep in mind that we will be on the hook to pay for them and it is likely that the sale will not provide us with enough to cover that cost. Imagine planning to sell a new car that you have not yet taken deliver of: do you expect to get the purchase price? Never mind the issue of having to re-gauge the wheels as there are no buyers out there who use TTC gauge.

The point about reduced streetcar maintenance is a joke because buses need maintance. Given that we will need about twice as many buses as streetcars, the cost of bus maintenance will likely be higher.

This Transportation Plan will cost $4.7 Billion over five years
The Province of Ontario has already committed $3.7 Billion to fund Phase I of Transit City. We will work with the province to re-allocate this funding to our Subway Plan. The remaining $1 Billion will be raised through private financing.

So let me get this straight: Rob Ford wants to get the province to re-allocate funding. I don’t imagine that the province will be easy to move on this. More importantly, just how much of that committed $3.7 billion is still there? The Sheppard East LRT construction is already underway and Tunnel Boring Machines for Eglinton have been ordered, so some of that is spent already.

More importantly, he seems to be unaware that $790 million of that $3.7 billion is committed to York Region for VIVA rapidways. Does he plan to work with York Region to re-allocate this? I would like to see him try. 

Furthermore, Ford wants to take funding that is going to provide 55 km of higher-order transit service across the city and use it to build about 16 km of subway, mostly in Scarborough, but he will still need to raise an additional $300 million to do this ($700 million of his $4.7 billion plan is for other projects, so his plan needs another $300 million for the subway construction, assuming his numbers are correct). That sounds like a cost effective plan to me (using italics because there is no sarcastic font).

On a positive note, I will add that his plan to improve traffic flow with synchronizing traffic signals and the construction of connections in disjointed roadways is reasonable. These initiatives are needed to improve the operation of the transit network. All too often, I see these things tossed away because they also improve flow for private vehicles. We Canadians love to cut off our collective nose to spite our collective face far too often. Sometimes, improving public transit involves projects that also improve private car operation.

Ford has been criticized for having a “one note” message by speaking only of fiscal restraint. This plan was an attempt to break that and make him look multi-faceted. I believe it actually works against his one-note message of fiscal restraint. For all of his cries of cutting spending and stopping the gravy train, he wants to piss a whole lot of money on TWO brand new gravy trains: one along Sheppard and one replacing the SRT. This will cost the taxpayers dearly.

13 Responses to “Rob Ford’s Transit Fantasy”

  1. W. K. Lis Says:

    He wants to replace the streetcars with buses? We have 248 streetcars, but will need 496 buses to replace them, which we don’t have (if not more). Congestion will be worse, because, Mr. Ford, buses do bunch.

    Can’t he explain why cities that reintroduced light rail or streetcars had seen increases in ridership?

    Cal’s comment: I should have made it clearer that he will remove “some” routes, not all. Though, there are rumours that he would like to get rid of all streetcars within 10 years. Even so, there is a good 2:1 ratio for buses. I have updated the body of the post to make this clearer. He still falls very short of being able to pay for this change.

  2. W. K. Lis Says:

    I understand that an Environmental Assessment had to be done for the current Transit City projects, as well as the Queens Quay project east of Bay Street, which includes the streetcar right-of-way. Wouldn’t an Environmental Assessment have to be done to remove streetcars from the streets of Toronto? Wouldn’t Rob Ford have to prove that removing streetcars and replacing them with buses are good for the environment? And which version of EA would have to be done?

    Cal’s comment: An EA is not needed to stop using something, nor is it needed to add a new bus route.

  3. Michael Forest Says:

    I am pretty sure that the Province and Metrolinx will not proceed with any of TC lines, if the newly elected mayor is against them. Ford might even be able to get a portion of funding (currently slated for Sheppard and Eglinton) towards his subway construction plan.

    Cal’s comment: I’m not so sure. First, the newly elected mayor will need council to cancel them. Second, if Miller’s attempt to twist the province’s arm after the deferral was announced is any indication, I don’t see them capitulating to the wishes of the new mayor at the drop of a hat. Any possible change at Queen’s park won’t be for another year, which will put TC projects all the more past the point of no return.

    However, his subway plan has many flaws and they will affect the outcome:

    1) He will never get the VIVA’s 800 million portion.
    2) Danforth subway extension will cost significantly more than $1 billion he announced, due to the problems of placing subway on SRT alignment.
    3) Some money are, or will be, already spent on TC work (design; Agincourt grade separation) as well as cancellation fees.

    In any case, he will have to either build Danforth extension or upgrade the existing SRT. So, his Sheppard subway plans will have to be scaled down. The Yonge - Downsview link is unlikely to be build, and even the eastern extension might not reach all the way to STC.

  4. gricer1326 Says:

    I saw a comment on the National Post side which says: “HUGE waste of money , Sheppard subway needed to be completed from Downsview to Scarborough, Eglington should be a subway not half baked under ground streetcar no matter how modern. Typical Toronto spend to do half a job which we will be stuck with forever.”

    Cal’s comment: I agree that the Sheppard Subway needed to be built from Downsview to STC for it to be useful, but that had to be cut back to what was built. Now, to complete it to that full extent, the cost cannot be justified by the ridership and usefulness we will ever get from it. The issue with Eglinton is that the central portion that will be underground will provide the capacity needed for the foreseeable future, but at a lower cost than a full subway line. The eastern and western ends of the line need a much lower capacity and can be easily served by through-trains from the central portion that need not be in a totally isolated right of way, let alone a tunnel. Of course, we could just build a full subway in the central section and feed it with LRT lines at the end, but just wait for the cries of those who want a one-seat ride. We cannot provide a one-seat ride all over the place, but where it is practical to do so, shouldn’t we do so?

    As well as: “Shows how McGuinty Liberals do NOT listen to what the voter/taxpayers want - Torontonians want Subways not streetcars. These lines will create more gridlock and be less reliable and less speedier than the current Bus System.”

    Where are these people getting their information? We already had our chance for big subway construction and guess what? We blew it. So this is the compromise. The TTC suggests that the Eglinton line will be attracting more riders than the Sheppard Stubway. If that is the case, I don’t see why it would be so hard to lower platforms and install trolley wire in the Sheppard subway and run the TC cars all the way to Yonge.

    Saying “Torontonians want Subways not streetcars” is a red herring, because there is a difference between “streetcars” and “LRT”. Rob Ford’s “transit plan” does a nice job of NEVER using the term “LRT”. I could easily make the case that most people would prefer to be given a 20 dollar bill instead of a 100 dollar bill by going around and offering strangers a 20 to see if they would be willing to take it. I would be willing to bet that most would, and I could claim that more said they wanted it over anything else that I just happened to not mention.

    Ideally, the Sheppard Subway should be converted to an underground LRT, but not now. Right now, that would be seen as a waste of money. Let the Sheppard East LRT be built and operate for a few years. Assuming the TTC and the roads department (who will be charged with implementing proper signal priority) does not mess up the operation, the public will begin to appreciate it. Eventually, the idea of a one-seat ride to Yonge will create public support for such a conversion. I have stated in the past that a conversion could take place that would allow this conversion to be done without a total shutdown of rail operations between Yonge and Don Mills (though, buses would have to be added to help carry the load during conversion).

  5. gricer1326 Says:

    True…but the Sheppard subway has such low ridership running extra buses might not be necessary. Besides, they only use two trains, you could theoretically extend the platforms on one side to 6-car trainlengths to handle the extra loads (there is provision for this) and do the conversion work on 1 side and run the flexities on the other track while the same work is done. That’s where you might have to extend the remainder of the Sheppard bus to Don Mills but the terminal facilities are already in place at Don Mills station so it wouldn’t be outrageously difficult. I dp think it would be better to start while you have the funding but not at the cost of the ECLRT. That project seems like the most feasible line since the original Scarborough LRT.

    Cal’s comment: Ah, but we are not talking about today’s ridership, but some future point where it is likely to have grown due to the SELRT.

  6. gricer1326 Says:

    The Stubway is even more useless than the Scarborough RT. If the SELRT carries enough people the conversion to subway may become necessary. Right now the Sheppard line operating now isn’t useful enough to be cost-effective as a subway line and therefore should be converted to LRT while we’re still building it. As I mentioned before it wouldn’t be outrageously difficult and would save the TTC a a whole lot in terms of operating costs. Then, 10-20 years down the road when the line has been extended to Downsview and it is crammed like a train of sardine cans, we look into converting the line to a subway with all this extra money flowing in from the rest of the TC system.

    Cal’s comment: The numbers are just not there for Sheppard to be a subway line. The TTC’s own numbers presented at the various open houses for the SELRT show an initial peak demand of 3000 pphpd. This will increase the load on the subway a bit, but it is mostly from the current bus ridership. Even if this were to grow by 10% each and every year, it would take 13 years to get to the bare minimum level where subway would be justified.

    It is not enough to justify subway construction, even using “forward thinking” arguments. Projecting future growth on a line is too simplified as it does not take into account the rest of the network. A particular line might eventually require subway capacity, if nothing else is built around it. What if another parallel LRT line is built two to four kilometres away from it? In all likelihood, the initial line will never need subway capacity. Plus, there is a huge benefit of building two parallel LRT lines over one subway line: alternate routing in an emergency. Sure, that alternate will be very crowded when a line gets shut down for a few hours, but it sure beats what we have now when a subway line gets shut down and they only have a few dozen buses to fill in.

  7. gricer1326 Says:

    Ok, great, so now we have two lines instead of one. Now we get more money for other transit initiatives. You’d almost wonder why the words “cost” and “effective aren’t in Rob Ford’s vocabulary.

    Cal’s comment: What I fear is that Ford as mayor will make headlines bending over to pick up shiny pennies, nickels, and dimes while wads of fifties and hundreds fall out of his back pocket and into a sewer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a “cut the waste” type of person who tends to be conservative where it comes to fiscal issues (my experience in politics is no secret). I hate the “those are just drops in the bucket” argument against some of the things Ford makes waves about. The bucket is filled with drops and every saving that can be found counts. However, one must be responsible with the big spending as well, and Ford’s stance on subways and streetcars shows he will piss away billions while making headlines about saving the tax payer 500 grand. That is not respect for taxpayers.

  8. gricer1326 Says:

    Building a useless subway line just to make yourself look good isn’t exactly responsible is it? Once again, you can spend less and make more on 2 LRT lines which serve Toronto better and carry pretty much what a subway can. Someone needs to drill this into his head.

    Cal’s comment: It is erroneous to say, “carry pretty much what a subway can.” LRT is an ideal mode for situations where buses are not sufficient and subways are overkill. In those situations, the statement has truthiness (my apologies to Stephen Colbert), but there is the implication that it can handle 30,000 ppdph, which it cannot.

    To use an analogy, would it make sense to outlaw the manufacture, sale, and use of cars that seated more than two people? We would be left with sports cars and Smarts, but if you needed more seats, you would have to purchase a minivan or SUV. Anyone who espouses the building of subway lines where subway-level ridership cannot be justified had better advocate that ban before they have any credibility.

  9. dentrobate54 Says:

    The major failing with Transit City is in its planners’ refusal to admit that the Eglinton corridor is already the point where subway technology is needed. Road median light-rail on its outskirts benefits no one, particularly long-haul commuters whom would constitute the largest share of Eglinton transit riders. Eglinton plays a major role in alleviating the Bloor-Yonge interchange which unfortunately isn’t as well talked about as the DRL. North-south feeder buses from the suburbs pile on tens of thousands of commuters onto the Bloor-Danforth Line that would be better off being intercepted at Eglinton.

    Cal’s comment: Eglinton is not at the point where subway technology is needed. The facts are that the ridership requirements out to the year 2031 show a requirement of only 5400 ppdph (see the display panels from the first round of open houses - page 14). As for a DRL, I am of the opinion that its eastern portion would best serve the network as a whole if it were to terminate at Eglinton and Don Mills, which would not only take a load off of Yonge by providing a better alternative to downtown for commuters east and north of that intersection, but also a better route for some between there and Yonge, which would increase some of the underused counter-flow capacity on Eglinton.

    But surface light-rail will not encourage as many to switch vs. a subway. Speed and frequency is also easier to control in a fully grade separated right-of-way spared from the mitigation of traffic lights or inclement weather which prevent trains from reaching their maximum speed levels. Crowd dispersal is also better handled via subways. Also isn’t the underground portion of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT now going to cost more per kilometre than a subway would? How many hundreds of millions of dollars will it cost our children’s generation to retrofit low-floor LRT stations to high-floor subway which will require higher roofs for the overhead wiring; not to mention having to bury all the road-median surface sections of the right-of-way? Also why build so many minor stops if speed and reliable of service matter? Why create complex u-turns for motorists trying to make a left-turn at several intersections? And why isn’t side-of-roadway, trenched or elevated ROW being pursued when there’s so many opportunities along the Eglinton corridor for such route alignment? Unless they plan on installing both local and express tracks to the LRT line (which again begs for ROW exclusivity) to call what they’re planning along Eglinton “rapid” is a major misnomer.

    There is a very small difference between the attractiveness of LRT over subway, compared with express bus or BRT. For some reason, any transit mode on rails is an order of magnitude more preferable than tires, even in mixed traffic. As for the cost of Eglinton, no the tunneled section is not costing more than full subway, but it is close. By my calculations, erring on the high side, the tunneled section comes in at no more than $243 million per kilometre, which is less than the very lowest-cost subway construction of $250 million/km for subways. Here is where I get that number from: The full 30 km project is pegged at $4 billion. 13 km of this will be underground, leaving 17 km above ground. Taking away the typical cost of concrete-encased median construction of $50 million per km, that leaves $3.15 billion for the 13 km of tunnel, or $243.3 million/km. I can definitely say that is high because I have underestimated the non-tunneled portion by excluding the cost of the underground portions at Don Mills and Kennedy Station.

    I am with you partly on the issue of side-of-the-road right of way, at least as far as the portion between Jane and Don Mills. With these being future major transfer points, it makes no sense to have an isolated right of way (the tunnel) extend to “almost” these points. Side-of-the-road is problematic in most cases within Toronto because of driveways, but these two parts of Eglinton do not have that problem. At the east end for instance, from the portal east of Brentcliffe all the way to Don Mills, there are no driveways or even south-side intersections, save for the Celestica ramp, which can be avoided by a slight deviation of the alignment to the south. Some of the cost of a new underpass at the CPR line could come from the $26 million cost savings of the side-of-the-road right of way over a concrete-encased median for this portion of the line. Since the station at Don Mills will be underground, the west portal would be at the side of the road rather than in the middle.

    So I charge that it’s those insisting that Eglinton go forward as a LRT line are only strengthening Rob Ford’s campaign, because to equate sleepy Sheppard/Meadowvale’s transit needs, for example, with Eglinton’s which is anchored by 24/7 major destinations such as the airport, Yonge-Eglinton, proximity to hospitals, post-secondary schools, office parks and countless shopping districts and high-rise apartment clusters; undermines the credibility of the entire Transit City plan.

    I disagree. A major benefit of LRT is that, in addition to filling in the space between BRT and subway, it can easily accomodate a wide range of capacity needs, from as low as 3,000 pphpd up to 20,000 pphpd. Sheppard/Meadowvale’s transit needs will likely never exceed what a two-car LRT train in a median can accommodate. I will admit that the core of Eglinton will eventually need a full subway, if nothing else is ever built. Even 20 years out, it will not be at the minimum level of subway, and even if it were, it is still only at half the limit that LRT can continue to provide. If Eglinton actually grew to where the central portion required 18,000 ppdph, longer trains between Jane and Don Mills and tighter head ways can easily accommodate it. The line is being designed so that three car trains can be used on its entirety, though longer is possible in the isolated section.

    No one will be shouting, “We must change this to subway,” the day the ridership reaches 10,000. The convenience of a one-seat ride on trains reaching further east and west will be too convenient, and since LRT is still within its capability, the idea would be considered foolish. I argue that by that time, we will be in a position to build some of the more luxurious parts of our transit network that will ensure that existing portions do not outgrow their capabilities. We need to play a lot of catch-up for the years when virtually nothing was built. We must stretch every dollar available to do this, and once that is done, we can pick and choose the nice additions.

  10. Matt Fisher Says:

    I hope the Transit City LRT plan is spared from the jaws of death. They cannot cancel this. If I was living in Toronto, I would not be voting for Rob Ford, but I don’t. I live in Ottawa, and currently, the whole light rail issue is a current issue. I ultimately would like to see the whole Transitway become LRT, but that will inevitably take time and cost billions to build from an Ottawa standpoint.

    A side of the road alignment for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line in the west section following the alignment of the cancelled Richview Expressway would make sense. I’m worried that if Rob Ford is elected, what if he really does close down streetcars? They can’t possibly move the same amount of people as buses. This whole repositioning Transit City as “Streetcar City” is 100% bogus.

    Cal’s comment: At least Ford won’t have a magic wand to waive if he gets elected. He does have to get council’s approval to do what he wants, at least as far as his ‘plans’ for transit are concerned. When it is made clear to council that the costs associated with most of what he has proposed actually are, it will make the waste at city hall that he wants to clean up look like a spilled glass of milk next to a major flood.

    For example with the streetcars, to cancel the contract would involve a yet-to-be negotiated cancellation charge. Then buses have to be purchased. While the cost to purchase enough buses to meet the same capacity as the cancelled streetcars will cost less than the streetcar purchase (with double lifespan of streetcars taken into consideration), that may not be so once the cancellation fee is worked in. Even so, the cost to operate all those buses will be higher, and operational funds do not come from the provincial or federal government. Ford’s plan suggests part of the bus purchase could be financed by reduced streetcar maintenance, but seems to forget that buses need maintenance as well. Of course buses will increase congestion on city streets, but also consider the fact that TWO new bus garages will have to be built for all these new buses. Even if it is possible to use the funds for the new streetcar maintenance facility, it only builds one of these.

  11. gricer1326 Says:

    I guess we have so much to look forward to.

    Cal’s comment: For sure. I am hoping that since transit is such a low priority, we may not see much of an attempt to dismantle anything while Ford tries to get support for higher priority issues. By the time transit issues come up, there may not be a whole lot of support from the rest of council as they will have seen what the ramifications will be, in dollars and traffic congestion.

  12. gricer1326 Says:

    If it is a higher priority, he’ll be facing some tough opposition. I think the important thing is not giving him any freedom, like the righties did to Obama in the states.

  13. totoilet Says:

    past time LRT was built from etobicoke to woodbridge to vaughan to keswick, jackson point

    then it would be a province worth enjoying

    if toronto doesn’t want to join the party, ok. dont