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Old February 27th, 2016, 07:40 AM   #1941
Nouvellecosse
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UPX's designed capacity isn't very high relative to a metro system. It's just a 2 to 3 car train running every 15 minutes with the intention of having most passengers seated. Union will be more than capable of handling that as is, as long as no one tries to misuse UPX or other commuter rail lines as a replacement for a metro system. The current passenger volumes of Union station is about 250,000 per day. If its usage increased by 100%, that would still be less than the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Union will be more than capable of handling much more suburban rail traffic but will never be the main downtown station for a subway line. The cost to expand it that much (along with upgrading the rail infrastructure) probably wouldn't be much less than just building a an actual subway line on a separate (and more appropriate) route.

Commuter rail systems that have high capacity and play a role as a metro system tend to have several stations in the central area rather than just one (systems in Sydney and Melbourne being good examples). The busiest station in North America, Penn Station in NYC, has about 600,000 riders per day, so not even it could handle the traffic of Sydney trains. Union station has been expanded and renovated multiple times during it's lifetime but it's still a single station designed to serve commuter rail and intercity rail.
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Old February 27th, 2016, 10:18 AM   #1942
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I don't see how a single train set of max 180 people, arriving every 5 minutes instead of 15, can strain Union Station. The numbers are miniscule - nowhere near Penn Station. If they want to up it to be comparable to a real urban railway, then they need to renovate the stations again. So with the current setup and train config, if one day they max out to subway-like frequencies of every 2 minutes, we're only talking about 7x180 = 1260 additional passengers every 15 minutes - about 1 GO train. I doubt the platforms will have problems dissipating these volumes. I also doubt the TTC can't handle this type of volumes either.

So if Union cannot handle this type of maximum case service improvement, then I don't see how GO can even introduce new services to the suburbs at all.

Then there are those that can get off at Dundas West to interchange to the Bloor-Danforth Line if they work near Yorkville. Not everyone necessarily needs to get off at Union.
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Old February 27th, 2016, 04:36 PM   #1943
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The other GO lines will be handling that amount and more once improvements have been made, and if all GO lines see major capacity improvements and ridership increases, then it isn't a question of whether there's enough capacity for increases to service on any one route, but instead if there's enough capacity for that route and all the other routes that would see capacity improvements. And remember, the issue with capacity isn't just one of the actual passengers, but also train movements through the central corridor.

What it really comes down to, is that the need for capacity is much greater than that in the dense, urban parts of the city. Any passenger volume that "isn't much" in terms of Union capacity is also not going to be much in terms of the capacity it provides to dense areas. 180 people arriving 12 times an hour is only about 2160 people per hour per direction, compared to the subways whose capacity is over 26,000 per hour per direction. So 2160 isn't even relevant in terms of congestion relief. That's less than 10% capacity which is less than the increase achieved by switching to open gangways on the Yonge line.

But of course Union is great for what it is, which is a transportation gateway mainly for suburban commuters and intercity travellers. There's nothing wrong with the fact that it won't handle high volume urban traffic. This isn't a problem or something that needs to be fixed.

What I'd hope to see if about 8 trains per hours peak serving each of the major GO corridors, with the inner zone and the outer zone each seeing about 4 trains per hour each. And of course using much longer trains similar in size to the current stock. Service on UPX would remain exactly what it is now, except being electrified. Ideally Union would top out with passenger volumes of 500-600 thousand per day, with over half of that from the Lakeshore corridor.
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Old February 27th, 2016, 06:42 PM   #1944
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The UPX's revised strategy means it will likely need to ramp up its capacity to be an ultimate commuter line, complementing GO service. The bottleneck isn't so much their terminus at Union. Even if they use the GO platforms, the renovations happening now will likely be able to handle these trains. The actual bottleneck is with the TTC's Union station, which is very small for such a major station. Keep in mind Union is not just an intercity / commuter station, but also a major subway station as well for urban residents. Not all suburban riders will end their trips at Union, so the interchange is necessary. I don't understand why such a major junction will not be a high-volume traffic location.

So if the UPX tracks can be shared with GO service, then there will be plenty of room for capacity expansion even if UPX trains don't end up using the infrastructure the majority of the time.

From a common sense angle, residents taking the north-south bus routes passing through UPX stations and tracks on their way to the TTC stations for downtown would wonder why the buses are not better integrated to give them the quickest route to downtown by interchanging for UPX. To me, missing this integration is a great waste of valuable resources. That's why overhauling UPX from train configuration to fare integration and frequency are all necessary.
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Old February 27th, 2016, 10:15 PM   #1945
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.. Union Station is in the process of a massive expansion, and has been since 2009. Its a billion dollar project, that is supposed to up its capacity to handle around 600k daily passengers. The project will take the existing Bay Street GO concourse and expand it, and construct another entire concourse on the other side of the station to more than double capacity. Plus there is another entire retail level being dug out below. The new York concourse is already open.. they have closed the Bay concourse for its renovation now. Everything is supposed to be done in 2017.

More info here:

http://urbantoronto.ca/database/proj...revitalization
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Old February 28th, 2016, 01:25 AM   #1946
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Somehow, I read that as New York concourse, and started thinking about Penn Station/Moynihan being open.
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Old February 28th, 2016, 02:40 AM   #1947
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post

From a common sense angle, residents taking the north-south bus routes passing through UPX stations and tracks on their way to the TTC stations for downtown would wonder why the buses are not better integrated to give them the quickest route to downtown by interchanging for UPX. To me, missing this integration is a great waste of valuable resources. That's why overhauling UPX from train configuration to fare integration and frequency are all necessary.
The only common sense angle is the question of why an airport express speciality route would need to provide that type of service when there are actual commuter rail services designed specifically for that purpose serving the same stations and destinations. If these services didn't exist, common sense would make a person wonder why not, but that would still have little to do with the airport shuttle. Not every service has to fulfil every role, as long as every important role is getting adequate service.

As for Union station, the fact that there's an adjacent subway stop with the same name has little to do with the capacity of the mainline railway capacity and operations.
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Old February 28th, 2016, 04:12 AM   #1948
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
The only common sense angle is the question of why an airport express speciality route would need to provide that type of service when there are actual commuter rail services designed specifically for that purpose serving the same stations and destinations. If these services didn't exist, common sense would make a person wonder why not, but that would still have little to do with the airport shuttle. Not every service has to fulfil every role, as long as every important role is getting adequate service.

As for Union station, the fact that there's an adjacent subway stop with the same name has little to do with the capacity of the mainline railway capacity and operations.
Well, the UPX should not have been built in the first place and they should have utilized the GO network. But the politicians were stupid. Now that the UPX is up and running, the new and expensive infrastructure needs to be better utilized.

The adjacent subway stop is an integral part of the commute from the suburbs. You need to look at both in combination. That's how the transit pattern works. A bottleneck at TTC Union will back up into the other Union Station. Ramping up GO service may not cause issues with their platforms, but may result in people getting stuck transferring to the TTC, or even just passing through the TTC concourse to cross Front Street.
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Old February 28th, 2016, 04:31 AM   #1949
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They've already done what's needed to better utilize the UPX by lowering the fare in order to reach the ridership goals. But the ridership goals are not high volume nor should they be.

Btw what do you mean when you say they "should have utilized the GO network"? The UPX runs on the same corridor as GO, and only had a spur to the actual airport built which would have been necessary even if the shuttle had GO branding.

As for the Union subway stop, I haven't heard any recent concerns about it. It's already been renovated to add additional platform capacity, so it's not something worth bringing up. The remaining issues are with the central mainline corridor's ability to handle sufficient rail movements, and for platform capacity and passenger circulation in the main Union station.

If you're interested in the ongoing challenges, Steve Munro has an excellent blog that goes into great detail about it. Here's one article discussing it: http://stevemunro.ca/2011/12/02/unio...idor-capacity/
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Old February 28th, 2016, 05:17 AM   #1950
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Option A: 4-6 minute peak frequencies and 7.5-minute off-peak frequencies with new stations serving Gerrard, Unilever, Bathurst-Spadina, Liberty Village and St Clair West
Am I wrong to be not too big on these new stations? People from the 416 don't even use the GO Train and I'm willing to bet that most commuters from the 905 (that use the GO Train, I mean) all work in the Financial District, rendering these stations useless

I know I shouldn't speak in absolutes but the exceptions can't be that significant
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Old March 3rd, 2016, 02:32 AM   #1951
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Here is the latest update on the Waterloo region (west of Toronto) light rail



full PDF here:

http://rapidtransit.regionofwaterloo...pdate_mar1.pdf
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Old March 3rd, 2016, 02:07 PM   #1952
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
Btw what do you mean when you say they "should have utilized the GO network"? The UPX runs on the same corridor as GO, and only had a spur to the actual airport built which would have been necessary even if the shuttle had GO branding.
They should have run GO trains to the airport instead of spending so much PR money to brand, re-brand, then desperately save this UPX.

My point is they built this with so much money but for so little capacity, that the concept was ill-conceived considering other pressing transit needs. Now they can redeem themselves by trying to turn it into a real urban mass transit line.
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Old March 5th, 2016, 05:59 AM   #1953
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What is the maximum annual capacity for UPx (I'm assuming they can make the train longer if need be)?
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Old March 5th, 2016, 06:47 AM   #1954
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According to this site, the platforms are 250 feet (76m) long, and can accommodate 3 car trains. So unless there is further renovation, the 3 car train is as long as they can be.

They'd need to buy more rolling stock to lengthen trains anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
They should have run GO trains to the airport instead of spending so much PR money to brand, re-brand, then desperately save this UPX.

My point is they built this with so much money but for so little capacity, that the concept was ill-conceived considering other pressing transit needs. Now they can redeem themselves by trying to turn it into a real urban mass transit line.
The importance isn't in the raw capacity, but rather in having the strategic connection to an extremely important destination. Having a rail connection to the airport is important in a major city, and adding extra cost by having longer platforms than necessary for the actual passenger volumes does nothing to improve things. If it was actually necessary for the sake of providing service to the intermediate stops, then so be it, but there is already another route (Kitchener GO) that can service those stops with longer trains.
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Old March 5th, 2016, 08:00 AM   #1955
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According to this site, the platforms are 250 feet (76m) long, and can accommodate 3 car trains. So unless there is further renovation, the 3 car train is as long as they can be.

They'd need to buy more rolling stock to lengthen trains anyway.



The importance isn't in the raw capacity, but rather in having the strategic connection to an extremely important destination. Having a rail connection to the airport is important in a major city, and adding extra cost by having longer platforms than necessary for the actual passenger volumes does nothing to improve things. If it was actually necessary for the sake of providing service to the intermediate stops, then so be it, but there is already another route (Kitchener GO) that can service those stops with longer trains.
Well, the cost of lengthening the platforms would be rather minimal compared to the huge initial investment to build the line.

The UPX's decision to lower fares highlights dedicated premium airport link is an obsolete concept in Toronto. That means it needs to move towards a commuter service in order to recoup the massive infrastructure cost to build and fund it. Either GO using the infrastructure to enhance commuter service to the West End along the intermediate stations or UPX running bigger capacity trains could achieve this purpose. But with UPX going more middle class, why not let them handle some of those numbers, too? I find it hard to believe there is insufficient demand along the existing corridor to sustain decent service frequencies.

Then if density is insufficient, build more along those corridors like what they did along Sheppard and at North York Centre. The notion of living on top of a train station that is 20 minutes from downtown or the suburban office in Mississauga is quite appealing.
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Old March 5th, 2016, 04:44 PM   #1956
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Well, the cost of lengthening the platforms would be rather minimal compared to the huge initial investment to build the line.

First of all, you're making an assumption without knowing what the actual cost would be, and second of all, any additional cost that doesn't add actual value is too much.
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The UPX's decision to lower fares highlights dedicated premium airport link is an obsolete concept in Toronto.
I'm not sure if you're being serious, but obviously all it proves is that the the price wasn't appropriate. If an airport route had to be successful at the previous price point in order to be considered worthwhile, then few cities would have airport services that would qualify.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Either GO using the infrastructure to enhance commuter service to the West End along the intermediate stations or UPX running bigger capacity trains could achieve this purpose. But with UPX going more middle class, why not let them handle some of those numbers, too? I find it hard to believe there is insufficient demand along the existing corridor to sustain decent service frequencies.
A big part of the cost of UPX was in the airport spur itself, and that does nothing to enhance the service for GO. There is obviously demand for service along the Kitchen corridor but that would require additional upgrades not covered by the UPX project and will come in time. This has nothing to do with UPX or its value as a project.
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Old March 6th, 2016, 06:35 AM   #1957
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I have no issue with UPx remaining a dedicated Union to Pearson line with 2 stops along the way. The initial price point was always the problem but I will use it now that it's competitively priced.

Is there a way to make TTC free if you buy a UPx ticket? If we're paying $9 for UPx adding TTC bumps the price up a third to $12. It's only an extra $3 each way but it would be better to make it one seamless journey at the $9 price point. It would also help encourage people to use the infrastructure we've built. Every little bit helps.
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Old March 7th, 2016, 04:26 AM   #1958
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Upx for stations not being the airport is actually cheaper than GO transit now. Going from Bloor to Union or Weston to Union is less than it would be to do the same trip on GO. The premium comes for when you actually go to the airport. Its less than $5 to get to Weston, and jumps $4 for the next stop.

Improved regular GO service is coming as well as part of the RER program. The Georgetown South upgrade entirely grade seperated the corridor and widened all the bridges, meaning that all that is needed for increased GO service is the laying of an additional track (no structure work). The Kitchener line is going to be Electrified to Bramalea and will run 15 minute GO service starting in the early 2020's.
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Old March 7th, 2016, 02:23 PM   #1959
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First of all, you're making an assumption without knowing what the actual cost would be, and second of all, any additional cost that doesn't add actual value is too much.
If extending platforms would cost more than building the line, I would question whether Metrolinx is getting bang for the buck!

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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
I'm not sure if you're being serious, but obviously all it proves is that the the price wasn't appropriate. If an airport route had to be successful at the previous price point in order to be considered worthwhile, then few cities would have airport services that would qualify.
It could also indicate there is insufficient demand for the service, not just the price was wrong. Many cities operate commuter service in conjunction with express trains on the same tracks (Heathrow Express & Connect). After all, it's not just the business traveler plying between the airport and the city, but also the thousands of workers that need to get there and home. Unfortunately, these workers likely won't live downtown to do this sort of reverse commute but having a commuter service may catch a few living along the intermediate stations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
A big part of the cost of UPX was in the airport spur itself, and that does nothing to enhance the service for GO. There is obviously demand for service along the Kitchen corridor but that would require additional upgrades not covered by the UPX project and will come in time. This has nothing to do with UPX or its value as a project.
If they ran GO trains to the airport, they would have saved a lot of marketing costs and other duplication costs of having a separate UPX brand, which has proven to be insufficient to drum up business traffic.

Keep in mind there are strong pressures to breakeven, so a stop-gap fare decrease solution should only be the start of a big plan to overhaul this line. It needs to increase capacity and act more like a commuter line if the government wants to recoup the major investment.
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Old March 7th, 2016, 03:30 PM   #1960
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If extending platforms would cost more than building the line, I would question whether Metrolinx is getting bang for the buck!
And if the cost of longer platforms was "minimal" and there was actually a benefit in building them, there's no reason they wouldn't already be longer.

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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post

Keep in mind there are strong pressures to breakeven, so a stop-gap fare decrease solution should only be the start of a big plan to overhaul this line. It needs to increase capacity and act more like a commuter line if the government wants to recoup the major investment.
I think this was really the problem. They were expecting the project to recoup the initial investment, when most public transport projects do well to just cover their operating costs. If UPX was expected to be so lucrative that the farebox would cover not only the operating costs but also the initial investment to build it, then the private sector could and should have done it without government help.

But with many infrastructure projects, the benefits aren't direct financial benefits (profit), but rather indirect economic benefits and quality of life enhancements. If that's the case, then the farebox recovery ratio shouldn't be as important in terms of judging the project's benefits and overall success. Perhaps this is just a case of unrealistic expectations.
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