Tag Archives: YRT

The debate over Subways or LRT transit is over – David Miller will see his vision for Toronto


"Transit City" billboard promoting p...

David Miller‘s original plan for Transit City will go ahead. The debate is over and it’s time to move on. It is pointless to delay building transit in Toronto and we should accept the conclusion. According to the original plan, if Transit City was started on time the Sheppard portion would have been completed by 2014. Hopefully the province will get it done quickly and on budget. Any further delays will add to the overall costs. Oddly enough construction on the Sheppard portion of the LRT will not begin until 2014, in a municipal election year. Is it a coincidence? Rob Ford may want to consider leaving this issue alone during the next election. Let’s look at the Downtown Relief Line (DRL), or something else. Unless he has a Federal ace card up his sleeve he may find himself on the wrong side again.

http://www.thestar.com/mobile/news/transportation/article/1167448–metrolinx-recommends-sheppard-lrt-building-start-in-2014

David Miller launching "ICT Toronto"...

David Miller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

VIVA Bus Drivers in York Region and the ATU


 

VIVA

VIVA

I am not sure if the union members of the ATU for VIVA are living in a cavern somewhere but there is a global economic crisis. This strike has gone on for long enough. It is time to GET BACK TO WORK and figure this out now! Viva is York Region’s express bus rapid transit service, supplementing YRT’s local services. York has contracted Veolia to operate its 90 Viva buses for about $20 million annually. I think we’ve had enough of this strike! It is time for transit to become a priority for our politicians. Make transit an essential service!

Time to make York Region Transit an essential service

Update: Hooray! The strike is over! A two-week strike by 170 Viva bus drivers in York Region is over. Drivers voted Friday to accept Veolia Transportation’s contract.

URGENT NEWS! Viva Strike is back on for York Region…


 

YRT - VIVA BRT Strike

YRT - VIVA BRT Strike

I am listening to the news and it seems that the VIVA strike is back on for tomorrow morning @ 4AM. There has definately been a break down somewhere down the line. The news is on CFRB and 680News at the moment. The information below is from 680news. Make alternative plans now!

Note: This does not affect YRT buses, however there is no way that they can handle the load, so the contracted TTC buses and GO Transit may become good alternatives. I will try to post information about alternatives a bit later. 

Update: You can arrange a lift through Carpool Zone or to call the YRT/Viva Customer Service Centre, at 1-866-668-3978. Extra customer service agents would-be available on the phone and at the main service centres.

http://www.680news.com/more.jsp?content=20080924_194001_11804

Opinion: I am starting to wonder, is it is time for Metrolinx to take over ALL transit services in the G.T.A (the Greater Toronto Area) and make it an “essential service”? Or is this a rejection of ATU Local 113 and Bob Kinnear?

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2008/04/26/5395786-cp.html

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080418/transit_strike_080418/20080418?hub=TopStories

http://www.cfib.ca/legis/ontario/pdf/on0375.pdf

York Region Viva bus service ends Wednesday September 25 2008 at 4am – No service in York Region


 

VIVA on strike for Wednesday

VIVA on strike for Wednesday

680News staff | Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 7:42 pm

 

Thirty-five-thousand commuters in York Region will have to find another way to work or school come Thursday morning.

That’s because Viva bus drivers will go on strike starting at 4 a.m.

Union members turned down a tentative settlement by 61 per cent, Wednesday, and that group represents 165 bus operators.

In a press release, Bob Kinnear, President of ATU Local 113, which represents the bus drivers said “we are a democratic union and our members have spoken.”

He added “Veolia management [the company that runs Viva Transit] knew that the strike would being tomorrow (Thursday) if their offer was turned down and I have informed them of the results of the vote.”

The major issues in negotiations are wages and sick time.

At this point no further talks have been scheduled.

All York Region Transit (YRT) buses will continue to run as usual because they are not part of Viva Transit.

read more | digg story

Quitely released press information – Government of Canada invests in Toronto Transit


No. H 218/08
For release – September 5, 2008

FLAHERTY ANNOUNCES FUNDS WILL BEGIN FLOWING TO SPADINA SUBWAY EXTENSION

Spadina Extension to Vaughan

Spadina Extension to Vaughan

TORONTO — People living and working in Toronto will begin to benefit soon from reduced traffic congestion, shorter commuting times, and cleaner air through the Toronto-York Spadina Subway extension. The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced that a contribution agreement has been signed by the federal, provincial and municipal governments, meaning that funds for the completion of the project will now begin flowing.

“The Government of Canada is helping to provide the students, commuters, and families of the Greater Toronto Area with transportation options, getting people out of their cars and onto public transit,” said Minister Flaherty. “We are committed to working with our provincial and municipal partners to improve transportation infrastructure across the country. The Toronto-York Spadina Subway extension is an excellent example of how we’re delivering real results.”

The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension project encompasses an 8.6 kilometre extension to the Toronto Transit Commission’s Spadina subway line, extending subway service to York University and the Vaughan Corporate Centre. With the signing of the contribution agreement, the Government of Canada will commit to paying up to $622 million under the Building Canada infrastructure plan towards the design and construction of this project. This is in addition to the $75 million already received by the project under the Public Transit Capital Trust.

In addition to the funding being made available for the Spadina Subway extension, several other transit projects in the GTA are being funded by the Government of Canada. They include:

  • York VIVA (Phase 1) — $50 million toward a $164 million bus rapid transit project;
  • York VIVA (Phase 2) — up to $85 million toward the second phase of this bus rapid transit project;
  • GO Transit Rail Improvement Program — $385 million toward a $1 billion project; Through this project, six of the seven rail corridors being used by GO are being upgraded, as well as some work around Union Station;
  • Brampton AcceleRide — $95 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund toward a $285 million Bus Rapid Transit project;
  • Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit — $83 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund toward a $249 million project; and
  • Toronto Transit Commission Strategic Capital Projects — $350 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund towards a $1.2 billion project.

The Government of Canada provided $500 million for public transit infrastructure in Budget 2008. This will provide up to $194.5 million to Ontario under the Public Transit Fund. Under the previous Public Transit Capital Trust, the Province of Ontario has received $351.5 million, which it can use for various transit projects over the next three years. In addition, all Ontario municipalities will continue to receive a GST rebate.

“It’s clear that for the Government of Canada, investing in transportation infrastructure for the people of the GTA has been a key priority,” Minister Flaherty said. “We are delivering on this priority even further today with the Spadina Subway extension.”

– 30 –

Contact:
Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
613-996-7861

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/e-news and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport Canada.

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.

Before You Move: Where Are The Next Transit Hubs?


Toronto Light Rail NetworkHere’s an easy question: where do you live?

Now here’s a much harder one: where should you live to ensure you’re near a GTA transit hub and how will the TTC’s plans for expansion impact the value of your home?

The answer to both queries can be worth thousands of dollars because the old real estate axiom about location, location, location has a well-known addendum: being near a subway or major transit route can instantly increase what your home is worth without you having to do anything at all.

But can you tell where they’re going to build or if the place you’re looking to buy will one day find itself on a subway or major transit line? The answer is yes, if you believe government plans about where officials hope to put the new routes.

Adding transit takes years of planning and a commitment of millions of dollars and all of it has to be done well in advance. That means the powers-that-be know where they’ll be putting the new tracks and trains as much as a decade or more before a shovel actually hits the ground.

One of those locations could be along waterfront-adjacent Cherry Street, which would make the folks on Condo Row lick their collective chops at the thought of bulging resale values.

“Streetcar access is phenomenal in terms of adding to value and presence … people want to be on a streetcar line,” said David Jackson, a Toronto urban planner.

Plans for the new tracks could start as early as spring 2009, while the underground expansion of the Don Mills subway line all the way to Morningside could have homeowners on the north side of town dreaming of dollars, though there’s no official date for that project to commence.

So just how much of a bottom line difference are we talking about here?

“Easily thirty to fifty thousand dollars,” confirmed Toronto realtor Janice Mackie. “Thirty thousand dollars is a parking spot … you don’t have to purchase that.”

What’s more, given the constant rise in gas prices and the GTA’s traffic volume, the Better Way may soon be looking even better still.

And while the two mentioned above are among the more central and immediate transit expansion schemes in the works, there are dozens of others being hatched around the GTA and Ontario as well.

Toronto Transit City

Here’s where you can check out the best laid plans that are being laid out right now.

Transit City: Can tell you about planned expansions in the city of Toronto.

Transit City map: Have a peek at what a future light rapid transit system might look like.

Move Ontario 2020: See the plans for the rest of the GTA here.

Move Ontario 2020: See a map for the GTA

Waterfront Toronto: The downtown core may soon look a lot different than it currently does.

Metrolinx: Transforming transit in the GTHA

See original CityTV News video and read more | digg story

Toronto Transit Strike – The people are mad as hell!


A midnight strike by the TTC caught many people off guard, some showing up early this morning expecting a train, bus or streetcar only to find the lines abandoned. Last night, clubgoers poured out of bars when news of the strike spread.

“No way, no way,” Jorge Bayona, out with friends at Yonge-Dundas Square, said at 11:40 pm. “You’re kidding me. We live an hour away.” The shock on his face escalated to panic, and he and his friends started trying to conjure up contingency plans.

Danielle Consett, 25, also expressed anger at the TTC’s union for voting against the tentative agreement – in favour of a last-minute strike.

“It’s a danger to society,” she said. “It’s selfish. We have rights, too. We have the right to know about a strike 48 hours in advance.” In subways, an announcement was made at 11:23 p.m. telling ticket collectors over their private intercom that service would be shutting down at midnight.

A public announcement didn’t start until almost 11:30 p.m.

Many people showed up this morning at bus stops and subway stations on their way to work unaware therewas a strike.

TTC Strike

“It’s closed?” asked Dora Loyuk, 27, watching someone try to open doors at College. “I had no clue…” Loyuk was heading to work in the Richmond and Peter Sts. area. She said it will take her about a half an hour to walk.
“I’m going to have to call in and say there is no subway today. If they can give me more time to walk, then that’s fine.” At the Pape station, commuters who had not yet learned of the strike were stunned to find the doors locked.

“They should be shot,” said one man, apparently stranded from reaching his job. “Some people have to work, you know,” he said.

read more | digg story

Are you looking for transit related information?


Are you looking for transit related information? Have you had enough of the political promises? Look no further than the links below. From opinion on GO Transit expansion to the TTC spending and more, check out these links below for excellent commentary on transit related issues.

  • The Toronto LRT Information Page – informing GTA residents on what LRT (Light Rail Transit) is all about; promoting the idea of LRT as a preferred rapid transit option in most of the Greater Toronto Area.
  • Steve Munro – Transit Advocate – One of the best, if not top, transit advocate for the GTA. Taking time to analyze our transit options and how we spend our precious transit funds in the Toronto area.
  • Stephen Rees Blog – A transit advocate who worked for the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority on wide variety of policy issues. He offers enlightened opinion on transit related issues and light-rail.
  • Durham Transit Review – Covering news about public transit in Durham Region in Ontario.
  • Urban Toronto – Transportation & Infrastructure – Discuss transit related issues in Toronto.

If you have anymore links, please feel free to let me know and I will add them to my blogroll!

Andy MJ
Toronto,
Ontario

What to do about the Queen Streetcar and King Streetcar? Time for a “Transit Mall”!


With the amount of vehicle interference in the downtown area once again the issues of streetcars has surfaced. With the need to improve transit, the debate over mixed traffic and streetcars, now and again pops up with the discussion turning to the old idea of a Queen Streetcar Subway. Unfortunately there is just too much development, which would make the cost of a full subway astronomically. However to be honest it is not really needed. With all of the talk about “Transit City” and the plans for major LRT improvements across the Toronto region little discussion has been some discussion about upgrading Queen and King Street. There has been discussion on resurrecting the idea of a subway or partial LRT / subway. But, there is something about the Queen and King Street that makes it not suitable anymore for subway use. There is a bit a “nostalgia” about the streetcar, especially in the downtown region of Toronto. However, improvements are definitely needed to improve the speed of streetcar service on Queen and King.

What some may not know is the fact that Queen and King carry enough people to justify a full subway. Granted, Queen and King does not need a subway, since it would just destroy the beauty of Queen and King. The amount of people using Queen and King justify it more than an extension to Vaughan or even the much ill-fated, uncompleted and neutered Sheppard Subway. Although there has been a lot of opposition the possibility of making Queen and King a “Transit Mall” this maybe the best option to fix the service needs of Queen and King. It may also be a better option to place Queen and King underground between Jarvis and just after University. On Queen, the original Queen Subway proposal already has a partially built subway tunnel. However, with a full “Transit Mall” between these locations it would not be necessary. Albeit, it could start at Church, instead of Jarvis. It’s extremely unfortunate that funds being tied up in the subway extension to Vaughan could have been used to built an elaborate LRT network around the entire city. Downsview Station is good enough and the extension to York University and beyond should be via a LRT network. In fact, let VIVA expand their own service using LRT technology to York University and let the TTC concentrate on service within the Toronto borders. But I digress!

“Transit Malls” exist in numerous places around North America, such as Calgary, Ottawa and places in the United States. It can work here! David Miller and city council need to move forward with a “Transit Mall”, with proper consultation. There will be opposition from businesses along Queen Street initially. However we are only talking about a small area of the downtown region. Adelaide and Richmond Streets parallel the downtown area and with improved transit service we may have the opportunity to make a substantial improvement to downtown life. Improving the atmosphere and experience of Toronto is a must. Those in opposition often quickly point to subways as the “answer” to everything. However, when you ask them who’s going to pay for it? Well, enough said! The same problems are happening now on Yonge Street now, north of Steeles. We do not need a subway into York Region; however we now have groups trying to stop the development of LRT’s for the region. Although I love subway trains financially they are just no longer viable. Queen and King can use a “Transit Mall”. It can do done, as long as it is done right!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”

Toronto, Ontario

Updated: Nov/20/2007
For additional details on
Toronto “Transit Mall” proposals and interesting debates check out the links below:

http://transit.toronto.on.ca/spare/0216.shtml

http://stevemunro.ca/?p=324

In an effort to provide more information about the Queen Streetcar and its history, ups and downs please take some times to view the links below.

http://www.blogto.com/city/2007/10/the_disaster_that_is_the_queen_streetcar/

http://spacing.ca/wire/?p=588

http://radar.planetizen.com/node/61807

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/toronto/story.html?id=4a6af842-875b-4923-b496-89cbcfcfb65f

 

Merging the TTC and GO under GTTA control?


The Toronto Star, CityTV (Breakfast Television) and other media outlets are reporting that the TTC maybe “high-jacked” by the Liberal Government of Ontario, which may have been secretly planned all along. Rumors are flying high that the TTC may be taken over by the Government of Ontario and merged with GO Transit, under the umbrella of the GTTA (Greater Toronto Transit Authority). Many have believed that this would eventually happen, since the TTC has become so large and important to the welfare of the GTA that it may have become just too large for the City of Toronto to handle. Of course speculation is that this may have been their plans all along. Many have wondered, for a while now, why the province was so adamant on expanding the TTC into Vaughan, and beyond, when it seem illogical for Toronto to care on managing transit into the other regions of Toronto. Greg Sorbara, one of the proponents of the plan, tied up funds to ensurCity Halle that the expansion into Vaughan took place. If this is the case it may have simply been the master plan of the province. Now the Liberal Government has a majority and there would be no stopping them from doing this. Of course this is only rumored, however one has to wonder if this was not the plan, than why bother with the GTTA? The Metropass has passed the mythical bar of $100, now costing $109 dollars. With the TTC complaining about funding, almost every year, the province may simply believe that the TTC is just too much for the City of Toronto to handle, removing control of the Toronto symbol from David Millers hands.

Ironically, moving the control of the TTC to the province would allow Toronto to better balance their books, now that council passed the new taxes. In some ways it would seem that the province may have been waiting for the results. Or it maybe a simple choice of choosing what they feel is best. We know that the Liberal government, although they promised, has not uploaded services that were downloaded during the Mike Harris years. What would happen if the province simply decides to take control of the TTC, covering all costs and leave everything else as is? Would, removing the TTC from Toronto’s books balance the budget? It definitely would help, however how would service be affected? Would the province run the service as is, or run it like GO Transit? Would they merge services with GO Transit? Would they start Zone fares? Would you be able to jump on the “GO” and then to the TTC seamlessly? There are hosts of unanswered questions. Or, is it time for the TTC to simply grow up?

TTC StreetcarThe TTC is a Toronto icon, from the storied streetcars of yesteryear to the way the subways were originally created along Yonge Street. I will not go into a rant about the TTC not being able to innovate and change the way they do business. The TTC, unlike other transit systems across North America, receives little Federal funding for operating costs. However, at least the Federal government did kick in the needed funding for the extension of the subway to Vaughan (ill-conceived, but done nonetheless). If this really does happen then some of the moves the government made, along with their promises for Move2020, would make sense. What we should debate is whether this is a good idea or a bad one? I am not sure if this is a good or bad idea, but do not be too quick to jump on the bandwagon? Does the province understand the needs of Malvern, King Street West, Don Mills, North Etobicoke or the Beaches? What about those routes that do not make a lot of money? Will they be continued or operate like other jurisdictions? Do they think streetcars or buses are more important? Do they care to support the “Transit City” initiative or Subway expansion? What does this mean for the YRT and VIVA? How about Mississauga Transit? These are all unanswered questions, which Torontonians, and GTA residents, should think about and want answers to. What maybe good for Markham, Vaughan, Mississauga and others, may not be good for Toronto, and so visa versa. The debate on merging the TTC with GO, and surrounding systems, has been going on for years, with pros and cons on both sides. This was not on the table during the last provincial election; however loosing the TTC may be the evolution of progress or the greatest public transit “coup” ever conceived by the Province of Ontario.

Read more news from the Toronto Star Article, below.
http://www.thestar.com/News/Ontario/article/269896


Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”

Toronto, Ontario

Time to get more use out of the Sheppard Subway line and go west?


To be honest, I love subways and I have a bit of a bias towards the Sheppard Subway line. I have always believed that if the subway was completed, or at least ½ done, than it would have never been considered as an option to close or shut down, in the Toronto tax crunch. I still blame the Harris “conservatives” for their shortsighted plan to fill in the Eglinton West Subway dig, which was already well under way. Along with the plan to offer a no frills Sheppard subway line, stopping it at Don Mills, rather than the obvious Victoria Park, or even better yet Warden Avenue in Scarborough. Regardless, what was done is done and we have a subway that needs finishing. However, there maybe a better plan, that has not been considered. The fact is that the Sheppard line exists and it needs to be completed. One of the transportation issues, I have found, in the city is the lack of an east-west line across the top of the city. Now that the Liberal Government has decided that the subway will go to Vaughan; even though I feel that it should only go to York University for now, consideration should be given to the idea of completing the Sheppard Subway westwards and then curving the Sheppard line north-west to York University and beyond. It was pointed out to me by ‘Cal’, from the Toronto LRT information blog,

“that extending the Sheppard line west to Downsview then up to York U/Steeles may be a better use of the money in terms of providing a more useful connection and making the Sheppard line more useful.”

In addition, the Sheppard Subway lines signaling system and design are based on newer technology, which would allow greater flexibility in the operation of trains (I.e. driver-less subway cars, the possibility of multiple lines, operations in different directions, etc…). It has already been stated that millions (maybe more) would have to be spent to upgrade the Yonge-University and Spadina lines. If this is the case, why not simply complete the Sheppard line westwards, along Sheppard Avenue and then northwards? Along Sheppard we would only need a stop at Bathurst, for now and since the trains are only 4 cars long, for now the platforms could be a bit smaller (in terms of the amount of people using the line). In addition, albeit maybe a bit of pie in the sky thinking, but we could also consider imploring some New York Subway style options in the northern part of Toronto. I remember at one point, before the EA (Environment Assessment) was completed for the Spadina line to York University one of the Toronto councilors wanted the line to go along Finch westwards towards Jane & Finch and beyond, due to the high-density in the area.We all know that the TTC will not send all trains north into Vaughan. I believe that it will be every third train; however I could be wrong (anyone can update me on that one to correct me on the intervals). This means that there will need to be a larger trail-track or interchange at either the Steeles or YorkUniversity stations. If this is the case, why not send one portion northwards into Vaughan and the other westwards along Finch or better yet , using a cheaper option, the Finch Hydro corridor into Etobicoke and beyond, using a Sheppard-Vaughan-Finch line instead? This is just an idea; however I would hope that Toronto officials and the provincial government would think outside the box a bit and complete the Sheppard line. It’s just an idea, but I hope that the Sheppard line put to better use.You will notice that I am not advocating going eastwards to Scarborough Town Centre. I just believe that if we can “kill two birds with one stone”, than lets use the Sheppard Line to complete Greg Sorbara’s dream of a subway to Vaughan and get a little more use out of the subway. I am a big believer in portions of the “Transit City” plan, offered by the City of Toronto. I just feel that we need to somehow finish or put Sheppard to better use. Of course I would have preferred an LRT, for Sheppard in the past, but that was said and done (no sense crying over split milk). If we have no choice, in getting a line to YorkUniversity than why not maximize what we can do for the city, now? Once the Sheppard-Vaughan-Finch line is completed, then we can end this argument and stain on Toronto’s past. We can then move onto using LRT, light-rail and other forms of technology to move people around the Greater Toronto Area. The unfortunate thing is politics, may again get in the way or progress. I can only hope that officials in charge will do the right thing.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

Invest in transit now, not later


In reading the history of Toronto and the TTC, high investments were made in public transit, which helped the TTC become one of the top transit systems in North America. However during an episode of the Agenda with Steve Paikin, which airs on TVO, one of the panelists mentioned that we need to make investments in transit now, not later. He pointed to the fact that Toronto’s population was at the size of the Mississauga’s, Brampton’s and York Region’s of today and they were digging subway infrastructure. Fast forward to today and places like Mississauga, Brampton, Durham and York Region are bursting at the seams and there is no talk of subways or light-rail. With the Move 2020 plan, the Liberals essentially promised to build pretty much everything that was, and is, on the books. I am not sure I believe that the 17+ billion dollars will be spent (this is Dalton McGuinty); however I do hope that this plan has been carefully thought out. How do these plans help to move large amounts of people quickly and defiantly? Should we not be talking about subways and LRT’s for places like Mississauga and Brampton? We have band-aid solutions now, like the Viva bus service and ideas for BRT right-of-ways, but what about heavy investment in transit. What purpose does bringing the TTC service to Vaughan serve? YRT/VIVA should concentrate on building service for York region, not only relying on Toronto. People do not necessarily head only to downtown now. Hurontario, in Mississauga, would be perfect for an underground subway. Where are the brave politicians, like the days of the old TTC guard, who will make the investment in public transit? If we continue to move down this ‘slow’ path, the Greater Toronto Area will eventually come to a stand-still. We do not need personal political projects that ensure politicians get elected. We need some brave individuals that we put their reputation on the line and do the right thing. Let the people in the know, use their knowhow and get the transit job done for GTA residents now, not later.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario