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TTC revamps approved

Transportation agency recommends province give the TTC $424 million for signal system, new trains

Nov 24, 2007 04:30 AM Tess Kalinowski

Transportation Reporter

The TTC has received fresh support to expand capacity on its overburdened Yonge-University subway line in a large package of transit improvements approved yesterday by the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority.

The province's new transportation planning body is recommending the province give the TTC $424 million over the next five years to install an automated signal system and add 21 trains and crossover tracks on the 55-year-old Yonge line.

Together, the improvements would allow Canada's oldest and busiest subway line to handle 30 to 50 per cent more passengers by 2017.

Work on the signal system, known as automatic train control, has already begun as part of keeping the TTC in good repair.

The computerized system, considered the international standard, replaces the colourful wayside signals that tell train operators whether to speed up, slow down or stop.

But as the TTC tries to keep up with a backlog of renovations, items like that have contributed to a massive shortfall predicted to hit the commission's long-term capital budget.

If the province agrees to pay for the subway improvements, it would alleviate that shortfall – an estimated $698 million to $1.5 billion between 2008 and 2012 – according to TTC chair Adam Giambrone.

The new trains, to be delivered starting in 2009, can accommodate about 10 per cent more people – 1,200 to 1,300 passengers – and are considered about three times as reliable as the existing model.

They also come ready to use the new signal system, which will make it possible to run them at higher frequency, said Giambrone, who also sits on the GTTA.

"You take all of that together and we have up to a 50 per cent capacity increase. You could run a train every 10 seconds but you wouldn't be able to get people on and off trains, so you have to be realistic," he said.

The Bloor-Danforth line, which isn't quite as crowded yet, will eventually be converted to automatic train control too, he said.

The GTTA also is recommending $7.1 million for startup costs on the Transit City light rail network and a designated bus lane on Yonge St. between Finch and Steeles Aves. that would give mass transit vehicles from around the region priority on the heavily congested stretch.

The subway improvements, including the new Toronto Rocket trains, are a prerequisite to expanding the Yonge subway into York Region, TTC chief general manager Gary Webster told the GTTA.

The TTC projects were among more than a dozen selected by the authority as the next round of transportation priorities among a $9 billion regional wish list.

Others include bus rapid transit along Hurontario St. in Mississauga, another BRT line along Dundas St. in Burlington and Oakville, and service expansions on York Region's VIVA transit.

There's no guarantee Queen's Park will fund the projects, but all are among the 52 improvements called for in Premier Dalton McGuinty's MoveOntario 2020 plan, announced in June.

An earlier list of so-called "quick wins" – projects chosen because they could be initiated quickly and demonstrate the GTTA's seriousness about getting the region moving – was released in July.

It included a series of GO Transit expansions, improved bus service in Hamilton and a new Cornell transit terminal in Markham.

In September, McGuinty endorsed that list.

The GTTA has also committed to creating an integrated web-based trip planner that would allow transit users to easily plot trips that require transferring across the various regional transit systems.

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well from what i saw on the Star, Viva's phase 2 on yonge st from RHC to Steeles looks like its dead as it has not been listed as a priority (only from RHC to newmarket) unless their definition of "investment in service improvements on viva" means a whole lot more....thanks for ruining viva...i hate politics and random lobby groups who protest for nothing <_<

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well from what i saw on the Star, Viva's phase 2 on yonge st from RHC to Steeles looks like its dead as it has not been listed as a priority (only from RHC to newmarket) unless their definition of "investment in service improvements on viva" means a whole lot more....thanks for ruining viva...i hate politics and random lobby groups who protest for nothing <_<

Don't go by the Star; take a look at the actual GTTA documents at http://www.gtta.com/en/business/20071123/Nov07agenda.htm . There, you will find that the Viva monies are for fleet acquisition and Phase 2 planning; the actual construction of a dedicated ROW lane was *not* eligible for Quick Win approval because it requires an EA process. Even the Durham BRT approval is ONLY for a Viva Phase 1-style implementation; the dedicated ROW approval would come later.

If you look at the Alternative Funding Process (AFP) documents, you will see that the southern Yonge Phase 2 is listed as a category 1 priority at this moment, meaning it's still on the books and it's currently considered to be a high priority.

In short; don't worry, Viva Phase 2 on Yonge from Steeles to RHC is still being planned. That may change when the Regional Transporation Plan is released next year, if the subway extension is prioritized. But it hasn't happened yet.

BTW, there is now a "regional presentation" document for the Quick Win projects at http://www.gtta.com/en/business/20071123/7...esentations.pdf . It makes for interesting reading.

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Don't go by the Star; take a look at the actual GTTA documents at http://www.gtta.com/en/business/20071123/Nov07agenda.htm . There, you will find that the Viva monies are for fleet acquisition and Phase 2 planning; the actual construction of a dedicated ROW lane was *not* eligible for Quick Win approval because it requires an EA process. Even the Durham BRT approval is ONLY for a Viva Phase 1-style implementation; the dedicated ROW approval would come later.

If you look at the Alternative Funding Process (AFP) documents, you will see that the southern Yonge Phase 2 is listed as a category 1 priority at this moment, meaning it's still on the books and it's currently considered to be a high priority.

In short; don't worry, Viva Phase 2 on Yonge from Steeles to RHC is still being planned. That may change when the Regional Transporation Plan is released next year, if the subway extension is prioritized. But it hasn't happened yet.

BTW, there is now a "regional presentation" document for the Quick Win projects at http://www.gtta.com/en/business/20071123/7...esentations.pdf . It makes for interesting reading.

It appears that the GTTA is really getting ontrack with the proposed projects throughout the region, and that they are serious about improving transit. The one problem at this time is that the federal government (Harper) has openly refused to transfer money to cities because "Cities are bodies of province, and are not the responsibility of the federal government." So even if these project go through, some of the systems in the area (especially TTC) will not be able to operate transit on these new projects because of lack of operating funds. That, to me, is the only current flaw in the system, and it needs to be corrected now, before the damage to the transporation system is irreversable.

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well from what i can see it looks a bit better, but im still wondering what they will really plan for the future...

the map on the presentation shows that they plan to extend the subway to hwy 7.. in the future

that would affect viva substantially if that happens .

btw, has the phase 2 been EA approved yet?

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well from what i can see it looks a bit better, but im still wondering what they will really plan for the future...

the map on the presentation shows that they plan to extend the subway to hwy 7.. in the future

that would affect viva substantially if that happens .

The extension to Highway 7 is part of MoveOntario 2020, so I'd think we'd have to say it's "likely". Exactly how likely is still to be determined, but the GTTA is certainly operating on the basis that it's part of the plan. Keep in mind that no EA has yet been done, and subways do NOT get the accelerated EA available to most transit projects (to my recollection, anyway), so a subway extension will require a number of years of planning before construction can begin. I think it's safe to say that the extension may end up being one of the last MoveOntario projects to actually go into service - so Viva will have a role to play on that section of Yonge for some time to come.

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None of your links work.

I cut and pasted this directly from the STAR website, I did not check links, The STORY is what I was going for..not the links.

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BTW Couple of days ago the name got changed to Metrolinx, but it's still a subsidiary of the GTTA. To check out the homepage, click here: http://www.metrolinx.com/default.aspx

For news and info click on that link: http://www.metrolinx.com/NonTabPages/1/New...ation/News.aspx

Both links should work IIRC.

Edited by Vern7094

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Poached from Steve Munro's website. The TTC apparently is making news all the way in Philadelphia. Apparently, folks from SEPTA came to visit to see what they could learn from the TTC. How long has it been since people used to do this kind of thing?

Posted on Fri, Mar. 28, 2008

20080328_inq_toronto27-a.JPG

PAUL NUSSBAUM / Inquirer Staff

A streetcar in Toronto, which is increasing its reliance on them and other light-rail vehicles as it expands its transit network.

Phila. visitors compare SEPTA to Toronto transit

By Paul Nussbaum

Inquirer Staff Writer

TORONTO - Stepping past mounds of lingering snow melting at the curb, a group of 30 Philadelphia-area transit officials, planners and students recently climbed aboard Toronto's hot vehicle of the future: a streetcar.

"All else being equal, we get more riders on streetcars than on buses," said Scott Haskell, route planner for the Toronto Transit Commission. "Some people who wouldn't ride a bus will ride a streetcar."

In contrast to Philadelphia, which has abandoned many of its streetcar routes, Toronto is bolstering its fleet of beloved "Red Rockets" and making new streetcar routes with dedicated lanes a linchpin of its expanding transit system.

In Canada's largest city to examine firsthand the sprawling complexity of a system that moves 1.6 million riders a day across 3,182 square miles, the U.S. visitors discovered lots to like.

They also saw some familiar problems, like the struggle to develop an automatic fare card.

They found things they could only dream of in Philadelphia: frequent service (about two minutes between peak-hour streetcars, buses and subways); free transfers; packed vehicles at all hours; fare revenue that covers 75 percent of operating costs, and a transit-oriented culture.

They also found some puzzlers. No train from the airport? A subway with no obvious reason to exist? Eleven different transit agencies?

Toronto's transit system, unlike Philadelphia's, serves a region that is booming. Enlarged in 1998 by merging old Toronto with six surrounding communities, the city has become a magnet for about 70,000 immigrants a year. The greater Toronto area draws an additional 30,000 a year.

The city is home to 2.5 million people. The region has 6 million, half of whom were born outside Canada.

Philadelphia, by comparison, has about 1.5 million people, and the eight-county Pennsylvania-New Jersey region about 5 million.

One of the prime lessons for the Philadelphia-area visitors was that a transit system that is extremely convenient, dependable and safe gets lots of use. And, because it gets so many riders, it requires a smaller government subsidy than any U.S. transit agency.

"It's a chicken-and-egg thing," said Harris Steinberg, director of PennPraxis, a planning arm of the University of Pennsylvania Design School, who was on the tour. "They understand you have to make the investment to develop the ridership."

The three top attributes of the Toronto system are "service, service, service," noted Edward D'Alba, president of Urban Engineers, another in the group.

"With frequent and quality service, public transport works for everyone," Alba said.

"The fur-coat crowd rides transit as well," he said. "It is not the mode of last resort."

The visitors spent two days this month meeting with transit officials and riding trains, subways, buses and streetcars in a trip coordinated by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and Penn's School of Design regional transit planning studio. The William Penn Foundation paid the $75,000 tab.

Toronto needs to seize the "chance to be beyond bold" in expanding its transit system, Paul Bedford, former chief planner for Toronto, told his guests. "We'll never get another chance like we have now."

"People aren't totally stupid," Bedford said. "They're starting to realize that they're at the tipping point in gridlock tolerance."

The largest of greater Toronto's transit agencies is the Toronto Transit Commission, which carries about 76 percent of the region's passengers on its buses, subways and streetcars. The Government of Ontario's "GO" trains and buses transport about 10 percent, and the rest of the riders are scattered among nine much smaller municipal systems.

The Toronto commission is, in some ways, comparable to SEPTA, with about the same size workforce (roughly 10,000) and operating budget (about $1 billion). But it carries 50 percent more passengers: 460 million, compared with SEPTA's 301 million a year.

With so many more customers, and a higher base fare ($2.75 versus $2), the Toronto commission recovers about 80 percent of its operating costs from riders, compared with about 43 percent for SEPTA.

"Cost is much less important to customers than speed and reliability," Haskell said. "We never abandon routes."

"The best thing to do is run more service. It's all about adding more service," he said.

"So far, everyone is willing to pay the price."

The next big push for the Toronto commission will be to add seven light-rail routes, each with a dedicated right-of-way. Planners hope the light-rail vehicles, dubbed "the new Rockets" in homage to their popular cousins, will carry 175 million passengers a year by 2021.

"We're now going to start blanketing the city with light rail," said Rod McPhail, director of transit planning for Toronto. "They're cheaper than subways and better for the environment than buses."

John McGee, SEPTA's chief officer for revenue and ridership, met with Toronto officials to see how they are progressing in their shift to a "Presto" automated fare card. Two years since awarding a contract, the Toronto system is still in the midst of tests.

"Many of the things they learn are transferrable," McGee said. "We can learn from decisions they make about equipment - do they keep old equipment or supplement it? And we can learn from how they deal with the vendors [of the fare card and equipment]."

Barry Seymour, executive director of the planning commission, said he especially liked Toronto's rail-to-bus service, which provides smooth transitions and little waiting between buses and trains.

Laurie Actman, the chief policy development officer of Select Greater Philadelphia, came away impressed with how "Toronto regards transit as a key component of their sustainability strategy, not surprising since the city and country is way ahead of the United States on placing importance on environmental issues."

One of the Toronto priorities that the Philadelphia-area visitors envied was the determination to build higher-density or "intensified" housing and commercial developments around transit hubs to reduce dependence on cars.

One thing "that really impacted me was the sheer size of development within a quarter to half a mile of the Toronto subway stations," said Andrew Levecchia, senior planner for the Camden County Improvement Authority.

"Thirty thousand to 40,000 people at a transit node. This is what we need. . . . They seem to be more willing to intensify density" than suburban Philadelphia residents, he said.

Shawn McCaney of the William Penn Foundation said the trip was valuable for providing members of the group something to compare SEPTA to.

"SEPTA matches up fairly well against Toronto's transit system," McCaney said. "In my opinion, the real dramatic difference is not between the transit systems themselves, but rather how Toronto and the greater Toronto region seems to have much more effectively exploited its transit system as an economic development asset."

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Poached from Steve Munro's website. The TTC apparently is making news all the way in Philadelphia. Apparently, folks from SEPTA came to visit to see what they could learn from the TTC. How long has it been since people used to do this kind of thing?

The TTC used to be reguarded as the top agency in North America and the 'high watermark' during the 70s and 80s. This kind of thing happened on almost a daily basis. During the 90s, however, investment in the system waned, and the lack of maintenence showed itself especially in the Russel Hill accident. Coupled with the major cutbacks in 1996 and the Conservative government halting all payments to transit, the TTC barely stayed afloat, and we're still recovering from those days (and aren't close to recovered yet).

As recently, we aren't reguarded as a 'benchmark' usually. I guess the Transit City plan is quite bold, and what would attract visitors, but we don't have anything built yet, and they can easily compare diagrams from their offices in Philadelphia. The only benifit I can see for visiting now is to see the 'before' pictures of the TC corridors.

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http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/498344

Here we go again.

<_<

http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/497894

Guess we can kiss this idea goodbye once and for all.

:D

i don't really care if the randomly test me or not. i had to do it while working for PMCL and Can-Ar, there's no reason why I can't be now.

-c'mon. you knew declaring us an essential service would be expensive. don't act so surprised the the gov't is backpedalling.

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i don't really care if the randomly test me or not. i had to do it while working for PMCL and Can-Ar, there's no reason why I can't be now.

-c'mon. you knew declaring us an essential service would be expensive. don't act so surprised the the gov't is backpedalling.

I'm not surprised and I knew it would be expensive. I just wish all the knee jerk reactions to any strike would now just accept the fact also as this is now a dead issue and will never happen, so quit crying for it. :D

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How about this Mr Kinnear - you give on drug testing (and post-Metrolink the public's gonna want to know operators are not distracted) and you stay non-essential.

The study figures in the paper don't seem to indicate where cost of strikes comes into the contract costs.

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How about this Mr Kinnear - you give on drug testing (and post-Metrolink the public's gonna want to know operators are not distracted) and you stay non-essential.

The study figures in the paper don't seem to indicate where cost of strikes comes into the contract costs.

You know that's never going to happen especially since his mandate(and his job survival) depends on fighting and eventually defeating drug testing. As for non-essential status, they already have/are that so it's a moot point.

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You know that's never going to happen especially since his mandate(and his job survival) depends on fighting and eventually defeating drug testing. As for non-essential status, they already have/are that so it's a moot point.

Pertaining to the drug testing....i think that it's important to see that it's a safety issue. As a driver of any public motor vehicle you have the responsibility for the safety of the individuals you are transporting. Just like at any job you shouldnt be on any substance during working hours, that could compromise your ability stay focused. So......why would you object to being tested since you shouldnt be doing it in the first place?

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Pertaining to the drug testing....i think that it's important to see that it's a safety issue. As a driver of any public motor vehicle you have the responsibility for the safety of the individuals you are transporting. Just like at any job you shouldnt be on any substance during working hours, that could compromise your ability stay focused. So......why would you object to being tested since you shouldnt be doing it in the first place?

I personally have no problem with alcohol/drug testing as I don't use drugs and don't misuse alcohol. My view is that this should be applied to ALL motorists. This past weekend an impaired driver drove the wrong direction on the 403 and killed two innocent people. Test all motorists! Set up random drug test sites at the side of the road and randomly pull over motorists for testing (by taking urine samples and saliva swabs, as well as having them do a breathalizer test). Is this an invasion of people's privacy and an abuse of their cival rights? Keep in mind that driving and having a driver's licence is a priviledge and not a right. ANY impaired driver has the potential to cause death.

While we are at it, why don't we implement manditory driver retesting every five years to keep your licence. All TTC drivers are subject to recertification every five years by the TTC. Why not have this become a provincial requirement for all licenced drivers? This would certainly enhance road safety.

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I personally have no problem with alcohol/drug testing as I don't use drugs and don't misuse alcohol. My view is that this should be applied to ALL motorists. This past weekend an impaired driver drove the wrong direction on the 403 and killed two innocent people. Test all motorists! Set up random drug test sites at the side of the road and randomly pull over motorists for testing (by taking urine samples and saliva swabs, as well as having them do a breathalizer test). Is this an invasion of people's privacy and an abuse of their cival rights? Keep in mind that driving and having a driver's licence is a priviledge and not a right. ANY impaired driver has the potential to cause death.

While we are at it, why don't we implement manditory driver retesting every five years to keep your licence. All TTC drivers are subject to recertification every five years by the TTC. Why not have this become a provincial requirement for all licenced drivers? This would certainly enhance road safety.

All well and good except drivers will still find a way, any way to cheat. With all the supposed existing RIDE checks et al, people still drive drunk, with fake licences and insurance, etc,. Why? Because they can and have nothing left to lose. Testing may and should expose habitual abusers, but short of locking them up once they get caught, don't see much political will there.

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All well and good except drivers will still find a way, any way to cheat. With all the supposed existing RIDE checks et al, people still drive drunk, with fake licences and insurance, etc,. Why? Because they can and have nothing left to lose. Testing may and should expose habitual abusers, but short of locking them up once they get caught, don't see much political will there.

Maybee with mandatory testing it will reduce the number of people who abuse substances currently, and help them seek help to deal with their issues? Even if it saves 1 person's life i think it's worth while doing.

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Time for some "lighter" news from the Toronto Sun:

Weighty price for heavy TTC tokens

New form of coin puts undue pressure on transit office floor

By DON PEAT, SUN MEDIA

Last Updated: 18th November 2008, 2:13am

The TTC has a weight problem.

After switching to the toonie-like tokens and eliminating the paper tickets, the sorting room where the commission counts out all their fares is starting to crack under the 1,000% weight gain.

"The building is safe," TTC spokesman Brad Ross stressed yesterday. "Our engineering staff have been in there and they're doing all sorts of work to come up with a solution to this problem to ensure it remains safe."

All the TTC's efforts to fight counterfeiting seem to be inadvertently tipping the token scales.

The original aluminum tokens, replaced two years ago, put about seven tonnes on the floor of the 22-year-old building.

Two years ago, then-TTC chairman Councillor Howard Moscoe unveiled the new harder-to-fake bi-metal fares that he dubbed "Teeny Toonie Tokens." But it turns out, although they each weigh only 1.65 grams, there is nothing teeny about these tokens.

The new tokens added an extra 300% to the weight, pushing it up to 21 tonnes. When the TTC eliminated paper tickets in the fall, in a another bid to avoid counterfeiting, they added another 20 million tokens into circulation, that pushed the weight up an additional 700% to a total weight of around 70 tonnes.

Tokens aren't the only item weighing the commission down, the loss of paper tickets has driven up cash fares, adding almost another tonne and a half in coins, Ross said.

"We recognize we have an issue here so we're working to deal with it," he said.

TTC engineers have checked the building and shored up the basement ceiling.

"The shoring up is precautionary because of all the new tokens coming into the building," Ross said.

By mid-December, the floor of the room will have a carbon fibre product underneath it. The basement columns will also be extended too "to help with the load."

Ross said all the fixes will be done for less than $1 million.

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