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Old December 25th, 2008, 12:39 AM   #881
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allurban View Post
TTC would be able to do anything and everything that the newcomer cities could do if they had the funds. They have been starved of proper funding since 1994, that is 15 years of lost opportunities.

Cheers, m
The fact of the matter is that the TTC DOES have enough money for basic infrastructure maintenance (they have several millions to spend on this new notification system and for "supervisors" which were never needed before). The staff have been hired. How many people does it take to fix one escalator or to clean a small blocked off area? When routine maintenance is not happening, there's a deeper problem here.


=====

But the TTC has assets which it is holding on to stubbornly while the system is falling apart. It has unused land around subway stations which could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars. TTC management could be more aggressive in coming up with development plans.

I realize a large portion of the funds are directly recovered from the farebox and that the provincial/federal government doesn't subsidize the system. But fares continually rise, has there been any improvement in service? From my personal experience, there has been no improvement. TTC employees are already the highest paid in North America.


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Old December 25th, 2008, 12:47 AM   #882
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Toronto's TTC, the subway plus the surface transport, used to be model for many North American cities, US as well as Canada.

It still compares quite well with other cities.

Yet clearly, Toronto's growth has simply outpaced the ability to finance public transit or other vital public infrastructure.

Toronto would probably benefit from having more decentralization of Canada's immigration inflows.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 08:52 AM   #883
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skybean View Post
The fact of the matter is that the TTC DOES have enough money for basic infrastructure maintenance (they have several millions to spend on this new notification system and for "supervisors" which were never needed before). The staff have been hired. How many people does it take to fix one escalator or to clean a small blocked off area? When routine maintenance is not happening, there's a deeper problem here.
Funding for new improvements such as the countdown timers and the wages of new supervisors are not the same type of funding as maintenance and cleaning of subway stations. The funding itself is one part, the necessary allocation of the funding is another part.

And yet, I do agree that the TTC does not have the "culture" (be it in operations, service, maintenance, or openness to the public) that it ought to have.

Culture in an organization comes from management...but a lack of funding will definitely affect management and employee behaviour.

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Originally Posted by Skybean View Post
But the TTC has assets which it is holding on to stubbornly while the system is falling apart. It has unused land around subway stations which could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars. TTC management could be more aggressive in coming up with development plans.
Selling off assets is not necessarily the best choice for the TTC to make. They ought to be getting into a leasing relationship with local developers so that they own the land and lease the air rights over and around stations. Ideally, TTC would be developing station area like MTRC in Hong Kong.

But TTC has always been in the transport business, not the land development business. They have sold air rights over stations and lines before (consider the Yonge line which was open cut north of Bloor at one time)...But this was always on a small scale.

TTC is trying to move it onto a bigger scale. They have a division that manages the air rights over their physical assets ... I believe it is less than 2 years old.

TTC is trying to retain some control over the property instead of selling it off wholesale.

Look for the Islington and Kipling and Warden station redevelopments over the next 5 years, as well as decking over Davisville and Greenwood yards by 2020-25.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skybean View Post
I realize a large portion of the funds are directly recovered from the farebox and that the provincial/federal government doesn't subsidize the system. But fares continually rise, has there been any improvement in service? From my personal experience, there has been no improvement. TTC employees are already the highest paid in North America.
the TTC was profitable until they moved from Subway zone fares to flat fares. That was a political decision. TTC was keeping fares low but someone decided to cut the 100% capital and 25% operations funding that TTC received ... and also decided to scale back the earlier expansion proposals. Those were also political decisions.

Then consider the recent replacement of buses. Capital funding is provided by the federal and provincial government ... but tied into the purchase of a) Ontario-Made Orion Buses b) Winnipeg-made New Flyer Buses c) "environmentally friendly electric hybrid buses" d) environmentally friendly biodiesel buses.

Then we could look at the subway extensions. Sheppard? Vaughan? Both political decisions. Freezing fares...also a political decision.....

TTC Fares have risen as Toronto Council has been forced to cut back funding - also a political decision. TTC wages go up...well, someone has to negotiate these contracts and agree to pay these wages. There has to be some kind of justification for the wages.

Make TTC an "officially essential service" and wages will increase...and there will be reduced service. Maintain TTC as an "officially non-essential service" and keep wages at the same rate...but sacrifice service.

Either way...it is a political decision.

But TTC has improved service...quietly...over the past few years. The thing is, it is all happening on the surface routes, not the subways, So perhaps it is not as easy to notice. Also, TTC is not saying much about the improvements, and some of their plans for the future (ROW) are still quite controversial.

Cheers, m
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Old December 28th, 2008, 02:58 AM   #884
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Canada gets many things right, but signage has always been one of those small things that always irritates me here. It's usually inadequate, confusing, or non-existent.
I was just thinking the same thing and I thought I was the only one. It's so true, it seems Canada is just crap at signage. I have no idea why. That signage in Union Stn and their reasoning is absolutely ridiculous.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 10:02 AM   #885
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Interesting article.

Quote:
A futuristic vision for the TTC - from 1910

With remarkable prescience, a century-old report anticipates Toronto transit's current predicament
Feb 07, 2009 04:30 AM
Iain Marlow
Staff Reporter

The tale of the present-day TTC's mediocrity seems to have been a tale foretold – for a fee, to be precise, by a New York City consulting firm called Jacobs & Davies, Inc.

In 1910, the company's engineers produced a report for Toronto's council on the feasibility of an underground rail network, recommending the system's creation with reference to the flourishing underground systems in London and New York.

Three things about the report are noteworthy, nearly 100 years after it was submitted.

First, noting the "fan-shaped" nature of Toronto's development, it favoured the construction of a subway that looks astonishingly similar to the downtown "relief" line featured in Metrolinx's regional transportation plan from 2008 and debated by council in late January: "We believe the wisdom of this proposal is indubitable ... some diagonal routes would seem to be strongly needed, and of course the longer they are delayed the more expensive this surgical operation will become..."

Second, the report predicted the current situation of Toronto's public transit under the city's control: "...we would not be understood to favour municipal operation, as we are convinced that such operation, even with the best will in the world, is usually incompetent and wasteful and unsatisfactory to the public."

And third – ironically, considering this report resulted in city council commissioning another report, which ultimately voided the first – it prophesied the difficulties associated with having transportation subject to the political whims of councillors, noting the difficulty in creating and sustaining a rail network "with ever changing government."

In late January, city councillors voted 31-13 to ask Metrolinx, the provincial agency tasked with rolling out the region's transit system, to prioritize the "relief" line over a Yonge line extension into York Region – moving it from a 25-year plan into a 15-year one. The line is designed to loop from Pape or Donlands down through Union Station and back up again to Dundas West.

The move symbolizes the desire of some councillors to thicken the downtown core's strained transit network over expanding into the suburbs. But York Region's vice-president of transit and Metrolinx's chair both seemed anxious about Toronto not playing by the regional plan's rules. And so again, the debating continues; meanwhile the TTC rusts.

But as the century-old report implies, we should not be surprised by the state of the TTC, which acts heroically under the strain. Toronto's public transportation has a surplus of demand and dissatisfaction and a deficit of money and political courage. "Maybe we do have the system we deserve, given the inattention we've paid to it and the lack of investment that has occurred over a number of decades," says Eric Miller, director of the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto.

"We need a much more complete system, a much denser network, a higher frequency system, more high-order transit, both within the city itself and out into the 905."

We're behind, but we know that. In Toronto, we have underserviced neighbourhoods, subsidized routes into the city's fringes, and unreliable service in the core. In rush hour, the subways and streetcars are bursting.

"Sure, it's nice to have a seat, but in any big city in the world, people stand," says Paul Bedford, Toronto's former chief planner and a board member of Metrolinx. "The collective `we' is going to have to figure out how bad we want to invest in building the transit networks we need. That so-called relief line, as far as I'm concerned, is just one of many lines that makes total sense ... You've got to build a network.

"But you can dream all you want if you don't have the funding sources."

The cobweb-like networks of London or New York are not always comfortable, either. But there is a sense that they befit the cities they lay beneath. They were created in the heady days when businessmen invested in subway systems for profit, not for the public good. Toronto already suffered from poor service and belligerence from the Toronto Railway Company, and privatization did not seem the route to take.

The first subway line was not the result of a funding of "vision" by politicians. The TTC dug from Union Station to Eglinton Ave. only after a surplus piled up during World War II, when gas was a luxury, there was a surge in ridership, and the TTC was unable to invest in new bus tires, let alone new streetcars.

So they proposed a subway under Yonge and Queen Sts. The Yonge line was opened in 1954, and they eventually built the other line on Bloor St. instead of one along Queen St., but by then things were changing. Rates of car ownership have soared, suburban sprawl and highways have rolled out across North America, and urban landscapes have shifted to favour the automobile, says Scott Haskill, a senior planner at the TTC.

Though Haskill is hesitant to draw comparisons between starting new lines then and now, it appears that we only rolled up our sleeves to dig a new subway line after the impetus of a global war. And although surveys, Haskill says, show riders don't mind fare increases as long as it means they will get better service, some of the funding moves for the larger networks, such as London's congestion charge, required politicians to take huge risks. Heading into a global recession, it's unclear whether money and valour will be readily available.

Bedford estimates, in published journal articles, that the transit system Greater Toronto needs would cost around $100 billion. Such a network would require stratospheric levels of funding. That could mean charging tolls on all the 400 series highways, the Don Valley Parkway, and the Gardiner, which Bedford estimates would raise almost $1.5 billion a year. More might have to come from a greater share of the gas tax, part of the income tax, and portions of federal or provincial sales taxes.

"This type of revenue menu," Bedford writes in Planning Futures, "is neither unique nor radical. It is how major urban transit systems are built, funded and sustained in major city-regions around the world."

For Steve Munro, an influential transit critic, the issue is simple: If we want people to climb out of their cars and onto the TTC, public transit cannot loom as an uncomfortable, off-putting obstacle between points A and B.

"We have to not make do with `just good enough,'" Munro says. Because talk of road tolls and increased fares has continued without anyone really having a clear idea of what it would be like to have a truly great public transportation system. The system must morph into a pulsing facet of the city, as distinct and pleasant as Queen Street's bistros.

"The goal is to make it easy to get around the city," Munro says. "The TTC has done such an appalling job of showing what good is."

source: http://www.thestar.com/News/Insight/article/583747
Toronto
image hosted on flickr



Beijing



Toronto

King Station at the heart of the financial district. How is this acceptable? It's totally shameful.

Beijing



Toronto
image hosted on flickr



Beijing

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Last edited by Skybean; February 8th, 2009 at 10:31 AM.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 03:37 PM   #886
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Well, some of Beijing's older stations are quite run-down, although nowhere near exposed rusted metal.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 08:29 PM   #887
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Why are you using Beijing as an example? There are far more aesthetically pleasing metros out there. Plus, AFAIK, Beijing has crap frequency even compared to Toronto.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 05:08 AM   #888
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Beijing is a sprawled-out city that began with 2 key lines, and in recent years, has added quite a lot more. Geographically and from a population distribution perspective vs. subway coverage, I think Beijing is somewhat comparable to Toronto. There were large parts of the city that were not close to the subway system, and even with all the construction that has happened and new lines opening lately, coverage is still nowhere as dense as New York / London.

The biggest difference is in how transit is prioritized. Beijing has spent a lot of money building new subway lines, and the photos show just how much new expansion is out there. Perhaps some of it is Olympics-driven, much like what Toronto hoped for in its Olympic (and now Pan Am) bid. Meanwhile, due to funding problems, the TTC has not been able to expand much over the past decade. The TTC has enough problems trying to balance its books and maintain the system, let alone find billions to expand and build many km of new lines.

I think the TTC realizes very well that transit expansion is necessary for a growing city. However, decades of financial neglect and starvation has forced it to be more realistic, and try to stretch every dollar it gets to the fullest. Hence, the key transit strategy doesn't seem to be building expensive subways anymore, but rather cheaper LRT and bus-only lanes, while minimizing subway expansion to the very key corridors (York University, perhaps Yonge Street as well).
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Old February 9th, 2009, 08:23 AM   #889
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iampuking View Post
Why are you using Beijing as an example? There are far more aesthetically pleasing metros out there. Plus, AFAIK, Beijing has crap frequency even compared to Toronto.
What's crap? I thought that 90 seconds at peak is pretty good.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 02:47 AM   #890
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What's crap? I thought that 90 seconds at peak is pretty good.
Except it's not 90 seconds but 150 seconds minimum...

*minimum not maximum...

Last edited by iampuking; February 12th, 2009 at 02:02 AM.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 12:06 PM   #891
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Beijing is a sprawled-out city that began with 2 key lines, and in recent years, has added quite a lot more. Geographically and from a population distribution perspective vs. subway coverage, I think Beijing is somewhat comparable to Toronto. There were large parts of the city that were not close to the subway system, and even with all the construction that has happened and new lines opening lately, coverage is still nowhere as dense as New York / London.
Beijing has been prioritized by the National government, remember.

In addition, most of China's wealth is funneled to the cities.

Not that I'm making excuses for the sorry state of Toronto's Subways.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 03:11 PM   #892
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^In truth though, this is precisely why transit in Toronto has stagnated.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 05:57 PM   #893
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Those turnstiles will eventually be replaced as the Presto Card gets fully implemented in to the TTC.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:10 PM   #894
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Those turnstiles will eventually be replaced as the Presto Card gets fully implemented in to the TTC.
I'm not holding my breath!
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Old February 11th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #895
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Quote:
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Beijing has been prioritized by the National government, remember.

In addition, most of China's wealth is funneled to the cities.

Not that I'm making excuses for the sorry state of Toronto's Subways.
Don't forget that the Chinese regime doesn't have public consulations, EAs, or any other transparency mechanisms... they can just expropriate land and start building.
Sometimes I wish we could do that in Toronto.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 04:26 AM   #896
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I think expropriation will be limited. The subways are mostly underground.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 07:31 PM   #897
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I think expropriation will be limited. The subways are mostly underground.
I meant generally any infrastructure projects not only subways.
But subways do need stations and access to those stations from ground level.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 07:49 PM   #898
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I meant generally any infrastructure projects not only subways.
But subways do need stations and access to those stations from ground level.
The point is you won't raze a whole neighborhood by building a subway station and its entrances. I don't see how expropriation would become a problem. Subways are probably the least disruptive on the community compared to highways and above-ground railways.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #899
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Despite all of Toronto's talk about putting priority on transit it has done nothing about putting in gas taxes and putting the money right towards transit. Also, despite what most people think, a good chunk of US mass transit expansion programs {like LA's} is done by a VOTER APPROVED sales taxes.
If Toronto really wanted to fund the TTC they could do it but that would require political balls.
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Old February 15th, 2009, 09:14 PM   #900
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people shouldn't whine about having insufficient funds for PT. people should have thought twice about embracing the car and constantly building out for the past few generations. as it stands now, it's pretty much impossible to have efficient (in terms of competing with the car) PT spanning the toronto area.

it's not completely a lost cause however. we could start with densifying the already-built areas. we're not going to blow up the historic rowhouses, but most of the built environment, aside from having insufficient density, also was built to a cost. their redevelopment would be the beginning stages of a transition to a more functional metro.
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