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On the plus side, it looks like we won't have to worry about the day that Ford discovers the word Maglev.

Ford will be gone soon. Unfortunately, NIMBYs are forever.

Dan

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Ford's got a lot else on his mind, after today...

Or less depending on what form of intoxication he decided to partake in after the last of the ITO was released today.

Ford will be gone soon. Unfortunately, NIMBYs are forever.

True. But I was more concerned about Ford's "money is no object when it comes to buying votes" side linking up with those NIMBYs along the rail corridor. Hence Ford discovering the word Maglev.

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Ford will be gone soon. Unfortunately, NIMBYs are forever.

Dan

Ford is like a cockroach on steroids: swat as you might, that bugger just won't die. He doesn't seem to know what's best for him or the city, or else he'd be in rehab and out of the media spotlight by now. Think of a child with his hands in his ears yelling "elalalalalala" when his mom tries to reprimand him for playing with dad's favourite Turbotrain in the sandbox.

Not to mention, there's still a bunch of his "Ford Nation" followers that will blindly vote for a crack smoking, thug-hugging, drug dealer chillin', drunkin' stupor walkin' lame-duck mayor just because he personally returned a phone call to them, is saving them a few cents, or is their political brother from another mother.

His solution to the Weston NIMBYs would be simple: make the whole line a subway, and build a freeway from downtown on top of it. Out of sight, out of mind. ;) Or just, you know, demand the TTC run it with buses from Union because it's a gravy train.

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Think of a child with his hands in his ears yelling "elalalalalala" when his mom tries to reprimand him for playing with dad's favourite Turbotrain in the sandbox.

Ford Nation: "It must have been a Bachmann and so it deserved it. You should be praising that child for ensuring their dad can now take away their allowance money and spend it on the things he feels entitled to."

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word around Willowbrook is that first deliveries for the U-P equipment is late summer 2014.

Thanks for bringing the discussion back on track (seriously how many times does this pun get used here?).

The UP Express Quarterly Report being presented to the Metrolinx Board today shows the latest progress on the cab cars.

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The UP Express Quarterly Report being presented to the Metrolinx Board today shows the latest progress on the cab cars.

An interesting report with lots of signs that work is progressing.

I do get a bit curmudgeonly when I read statements like:

  • Completed a Guest Service Summary which outlines the requirements for staff interaction and training opportunities related to guest touch points across the UP Express journey. This serves as a basis for all day-to-day operations necessary to deliver a differentiated guest experience.

     

I'm just cynical enough to wonder if this translates as "Consultant borrowed a copy of the GO CSA Training Manual and highlighted the things UPE staff ought to do likewise, invoice in the mail"

Why doesn't Metrolinx just schedule a couple additional training courses for the CSA introductory training? Why isn't UPE simply applying GO's protocols - which are tried and true? Other than familiarization with the new cars - not that big a deal to add to GO training - what more do UPE staff require….how to pass trays of canapé's to all the business travellers?

Sarcasm off

- Paul

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Indeed, one of the rumours I'm hearing is that there will not be a "CSA" or equivalent position on the UPE trains. It will be more akin to the engineer-conductor situation on CP, with the conductor being located either within the consist or in the trailing cab.

Dan

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Because it isn't GO. That is the main thing that people don't understand about the service.

I understand it quite well. My point is, there is no need for an additional freestanding agency to run this service.

On a dollars per (any index you can think of) basis - route miles, passenger volume, revenue volume, train miles - this agency will be expensive, benchmarked against other GTA transit agencies. Whereas, the incremental cost of adding this service to the GO mandate would be much less, as GO can likely absorb the overhead functions without adding staff or resources.

Would we set up a separate transit company to run the 192 Airport Rocket route?

I appreciate that this route needs to be excellent - so some of the design work for bells and whistles such as downtown checkin make sense. But do we need to develop a new brand and a new "customer experience" theme? Would the service not perform just as well if it looked and felt like a GO route?

Chicago Airports - transit operated by CTA

London Airports - transit operated by London Transit

Paris - transit operated by RER

Rome - transit operated by FS

Vancouver - transit operated by Translink

Toronto seems to be bucking the trend here.

- Paul

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Slightly different scenario Paul.

While most transit agencies are set up to try and minimize their burden on the public purse (moreso in Canada), UPX seems to be set up to try and be profitable - or at least, as close to profitable as possible. Think CN prior to privatization - they did run profits at times in the 1980s, although there were also years where they didn't.

The other one, and to be honest this is the one that scares me most, is that by setting it up in the manner that they have it should be a lot easier for the Government to sell the service as it hasn't been tangled with GO.

Dan

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The other one, and to be honest this is the one that scares me most, is that by setting it up in the manner that they have it should be a lot easier for the Government to sell the service as it hasn't been tangled with GO.

I don't know if fear is the correct thing to have with the possibility of UPX being sold. However, the real concern with keeping UPX separate from GO is whether UPX and GO will be set up as competitors and thus make it difficult to make improvements to either service in the corridor like adding a milk run component with additional stations to UPX for example.

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I don't know if fear is the correct thing to have with the possibility of UPX being sold.

Think of the whole 407 sale scenario and be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Think of the whole 407 sale scenario and be afraid. Be very afraid.

Precisely, although Skyfirenet's suggestion had also crossed my mind. Most specifically, if it stays in public hands there is an opportunity for the service to be improved in the long run to become the western leg of the DRL, or at least provide a far better service to north-western Toronto than currently exists. If it gets sold or leased out to private interests, what is the likelihood of that kind of thing happening? Probably far less.

Dan

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Precisely, although Skyfirenet's suggestion had also crossed my mind. Most specifically, if it stays in public hands there is an opportunity for the service to be improved in the long run to become the western leg of the DRL, or at least provide a far better service to north-western Toronto than currently exists. If it gets sold or leased out to private interests, what is the likelihood of that kind of thing happening? Probably far less.

Dan

You mean the 407 would have been a perfect east-west right of way as well as a perfect revenue tool to help pay for transit?(; Yes be very afraid especially if Hudak ever gets in. He already wants to scrap the LRT projects.

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Precisely, although Skyfirenet's suggestion had also crossed my mind. Most specifically, if it stays in public hands there is an opportunity for the service to be improved in the long run to become the western leg of the DRL, or at least provide a far better service to north-western Toronto than currently exists. If it gets sold or leased out to private interests, what is the likelihood of that kind of thing happening? Probably far less.

It doesn't even have to be privatized for there to be an agency turf war resulting in nothing getting done. They really should have rethought the whole project the second the 3P idea was dead.

As for the 407 comparison, need I remind everyone that UPX was originally supposed to be operated by the private sector. That's why I was questioning whether fear is the correct thing to associate with the privatization concern; albeit not rejecting it either.

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You mean the 407 would have been a perfect east-west right of way as well as a perfect revenue tool to help pay for transit?(; Yes be very afraid especially if Hudak ever gets in. He already wants to scrap the LRT projects.

I've never been convinced that the 407 is the ideal corridor for an east-west transit line. As for the tolls, frankly to think that the tolls would have been able to do more than buy a few buses a year is imaginary. If you look at the history of the toll increases, it was only after it was privatized that the rate of increases shot up.

It doesn't even have to be privatized for there to be an agency turf war resulting in nothing getting done. They really should have rethought the whole project the second the 3P idea was dead.

Agreed on both parts. I can't help but wonder why the Provincial government felt so inclined to begin what was a Federal project.

As for the 407 comparison, need I remind everyone that UPX was originally supposed to be operated by the private sector. That's why I was questioning whether fear is the correct thing to associate with the privatization concern; albeit not rejecting it either.

Not just operated - built as well. That fell apart fairly quickly however.

Dan

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Not just operated - built as well. That fell apart fairly quickly however.

Dan

You are right. I wonder if the private sector realized that it could be a money loser if only catering to air travelling public. It needs to be used for commuters as well. So it is strange setting up a separate agency.

I understand it quite well. My point is, there is no need for an additional freestanding agency to run this service.

On a dollars per (any index you can think of) basis - route miles, passenger volume, revenue volume, train miles - this agency will be expensive, benchmarked against other GTA transit agencies. Whereas, the incremental cost of adding this service to the GO mandate would be much less, as GO can likely absorb the overhead functions without adding staff or resources.

Would we set up a separate transit company to run the 192 Airport Rocket route?

I appreciate that this route needs to be excellent - so some of the design work for bells and whistles such as downtown checkin make sense. But do we need to develop a new brand and a new "customer experience" theme? Would the service not perform just as well if it looked and felt like a GO route?

Chicago Airports - transit operated by CTA

London Airports - transit operated by London Transit

Paris - transit operated by RER

Rome - transit operated by FS

Vancouver - transit operated by Translink

Toronto seems to be bucking the trend here.

- Paul

The one I can think of is Narita. JR runs express trains to the terminals, as well as a private company Keisei. However, you are talking about 40million people and a law where it is illegal to take a private car to the airport.

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Not just operated - built as well. That fell apart fairly quickly however.

And thus my doubts about needing to fear the threat of another 407 like privatization. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned about the possibility on some level; especially if it would turn into a "pay twice for half the service" situation.

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And thus my doubts about needing to fear the threat of another 407 like privatization. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned about the possibility on some level; especially if it would turn into a "pay twice for half the service" situation.

While some small portions of the 407 may have been built with private money, the land certainly wasn't assembled by them but by the Government over many years - and that was the most expensive part (by several times).

Just because a private concern can't justify building something doesn't mean that they can't justify operating it. Take the capital costs out of the equation and all of a sudden it becomes much closer to a very viable operation.

Dan

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Just because a private concern can't justify building something doesn't mean that they can't justify operating it. Take the capital costs out of the equation and all of a sudden it becomes much closer to a very viable operation.

Agree - UPE could easily contract operations similar to what GO and other transit properties are doing. I'm sure potential operators would come forward. Of course, the capital investment is the biggest source of risk. If the province provides the capital, the operator has less risk = lower return.

The issue, as you note, is whether setting UPE up separately will lead to the best use of the corridor (and the public investment). I hear differing views already as to whether this is to be one four track transit corridor, or two parallel two track corridors. If you consider VIA as a third potential tenant, it gets more complex again. And more complex again if you add in the Relief Line (a good idea, IMHO). Putting a private operator in this mix seems dangerous since they will act single-mindedly about their "rights" to make a profit, possibly to the detriment of other value enhancing transit opportunities.

- Paul

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The issue, as you note, is whether setting UPE up separately will lead to the best use of the corridor (and the public investment). I hear differing views already as to whether this is to be one four track transit corridor, or two parallel two track corridors. If you consider VIA as a third potential tenant, it gets more complex again. And more complex again if you add in the Relief Line (a good idea, IMHO). Putting a private operator in this mix seems dangerous since they will act single-mindedly about their "rights" to make a profit, possibly to the detriment of other value enhancing transit opportunities.

- Paul

It's my understanding that this is a consolidated 4 track corridor, owned and being re-constructed by Metrolinx, with integrated signalling and switches. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that mean Metrolinx will control all operations (tenants, in your words) through GO Transit at the GO Transit Control Centre?

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I hear differing views already as to whether this is to be one four track transit corridor, or two parallel two track corridors.

- Paul

The correct answer is "none of the above".

It is being built as a three-track corridor. The location of the fourth track is available to be quickly built if needed.

Dan

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Just because a private concern can't justify building something doesn't mean that they can't justify operating it. Take the capital costs out of the equation and all of a sudden it becomes much closer to a very viable operation.

The point I was getting at Dan was that if it was such a great operating opportunity for the private sector, they would have renegotiated so that the operation side would have been kept in private hands while the capitol side would have been handled by the province.

Instead, the private sector bailed out completely from the project. That's why I keep stressing that needing to fear the threat of privatization at this point is probably excessive. That doesn't mean that the threat should be ignored and that we don't need to fear it once UPX has been running for a few years and has some level of success. However, all indications at this point are that the private sector has no interest unless you throw a lot of money at them. Hence my "pay twice for half the service" comment.

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