No way to run sub­way

For­mer TTC chair says buses, LRT and trains must stay to­gether

North Toronto Post - - News - KAREN ST­INTZ Karen St­intz is a for­mer city coun­cil­lor, elected in 2003, and was a chair of the TTC. She lives in Ward 16 with her fam­ily.

Now that Premier Ford has re­designed Toronto City Coun­cil, his next step will be to try and re­design the op­er­a­tion of the Toronto Tran­sit Com­mis­sion, in par­tic­u­lar the sub­ways.

Many peo­ple may ap­plaud this move, es­pe­cially if those same peo­ple have been frus­trated by the daily op­er­a­tion of the tran­sit sys­tem or the never-end­ing squab­bles about tran­sit ex­pan­sion.

For those who live in mid­town, the frus­tra­tion is mag­ni­fied by the con­struc­tion of the Eglin­ton Crosstown LRT. Although most agree that the con­struc­tion is nec­es­sary, it does lit­tle to stem the daily ir­ri­ta­tion of a crowded sys­tem and crowded streets. One could be for­given in think­ing that hand­ing over the sub­way sys­tem to the province would be a vast im­prove­ment.

The Ford ad­min­is­tra­tion would be do­ing a great ser­vice to the province by as­sert­ing more au­thor­ity over the plan­ning and ex­pan­sion of tran­sit across the GTA.

Metrolinx is a pro­vin­cial or­ga­ni­za­tion cre­ated to plan and fund tran­sit ex­pan­sion for the re­gion. That vi­sion was never re­al­ized as lo­cal city coun­cils con­tinue to ex­ert un­rea­son­able con­trol over tran­sit ex­pan­sion.

Hav­ing this dealt with at the pro­vin­cial level would be a great step for­ward. The ac­tual op­er­a­tion of the tran­sit sys­tem is quite a dif­fer­ent mat­ter.

The TTC is an in­te­grated sys­tem, which means that the sub­ways can­not be sep­a­rated from the buses. Tak­ing over op­er­a­tion of the sub­way sys­tem with­out buses, street­cars and LRTs would be lo­gis­ti­cally and fi­nan­cially chal­leng­ing be­yond logic.

When con­struc­tion be­gan on the Crosstown line, the province wanted to op­er­ate the line. Once the lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges be­came clear, the province rightly re­al­ized that op­er­at­ing part of the sys­tem was not fea­si­ble and agreed that the newly con­structed line would be op­er­ated by the TTC.

If the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment wants to op­er­ate the sub­ways, it will have to op­er­ate the buses, street­cars and LRT and add half a bil­lion dol­lars to its books on an an­nual ba­sis. That alone won’t make the sys­tem run any more smoothly be­cause what the sys­tem needs is more re­li­able fund­ing.

The city and its res­i­dents have learned that the province can pretty much do what it wants when it comes to city gov­er­nance. If it wants to take over the sub­ways, there is not much to be done ex­cept grin and bear it.

How­ever, if it hap­pens, it cer­tainly won’t help the trains run on time. But it will cost the tax­pay­ers might­ily and add un­nec­es­sary de­lays and ob­struc­tions to an al­ready frus­trat­ing com­mute.

Metrolinx’s Crosstown LRT line will be op­er­ated by the TTC

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