A Transit City Cancellation Cost That I Missed

When Rob Ford announced that Transit City was dead, there was all sorts of discussions about what this really meant. Did that mean that everything about Transit City was gone, or just the name, or something in between. That was supposed to be sorted out by the end of January and now here we are in the middle of March and nothing has changed.

At this point, it is looking that only the underground portion of the Eglinton line will be built. Whether it uses LRT technology or gets changed to ICTS or something else remains to be seen. It is looking like the current administration wants to build the section from Don Mills to Kennedy Station underground, but I suspect the cost of doing that will mean that section will be left for a second phase that won’t get started during this administration and could end up being brought back to the original Transit City plan.

It also seems a good bet that the Finch West line will be cancelled, which brings up a cost that I never even though of. Recently, a TTC meeting had to deal with approving some increased costs with the Spadina-York subway extension. One of these, about $1.45 million, stems from the delay or cancellation of the Finch West LRT. The design of the Finch West station (at Keele) had a bus terminal that was sized on the presumption that bus service on Finch would be replaced with LRT service. This meant there were no bus bays for Finch buses and there was no access directly to or from Finch Avenue.

Thus, a new bus loop must be designed and an additional $1.45 million is needed just for the design fees. Just wait to see what added construction and land acquisition fees will be.

One Response to “A Transit City Cancellation Cost That I Missed”

  1. W. K. Lis Says:

    Another cost is the rising cost of fuel. The price of electricity is going up, but at a lower rate than petroleum costs. Petroleum costs affect gasoline, diesel, and asphalt costs. While inflation went up 1.7% in the 12 months to January, consumers also paid 6.4% more for electricity in January, but gasoline prices increased 13.0% in January. Since then petroleum went up very high, and forecasts are for those costs to continue to go up. Just wait until the prices for the first 3 months of 2011 come out.

    That means the fuel for each bus will go up more than the fuel for light rail. As consumers look for alternatives to their own cars, they will turn to public transit. That means more buses, light rail, heavy rail, and streetcars will be needed. Which ones will cost even more to operate, both for fuel and drivers?

    Cal’s comment: You are absolutely correct that gasoline and diesel will go up faster than electricity. Those fuels are still playing catch-up with along with the economy. Just before the economy fell, we were paying about $1.30 at the pump. When the economy fell, so too did pump prices to about $0.89. I commented to people I knew who reveled in the great pump prices that a marker that our economy was fully back on its feet would be the return of $1.30 per litre gasoline, plus a bit more for inflation (that would be $1.42 for 2011 folks!). We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting close. Over that time same, electricity prices just continued their steady rise.

    The other thing that people tend to miss when it comes to powering transit with electricity delivered by wire/third rail is the huge gain in efficiency of generating it in a large sized, fixed plant. Engines and turbines have a fairly narrow peak operating efficiency range, and this can be maintained in a large fixed plant. Operating an on board engine must involve a wide range of speeds and loads and cannot stay in that peak efficiency range. Even if we burned gasoline or diesel to generate all of our electricity to power electric transit vehicles, we would burn less fuel than if each vehicle were self powered by burning the same fuel on board. That also takes into account the fact that there are some transmission losses over the power lines.