If Broadway’s Transit Ridership Doesn’t Improve, Cancel the Subway

Memo to TransLink, the city of Vancouver, the Mayor’s Council, and Mr. Factbender, subways need a large mass of ridership to justify construction.

Quote: “This is way less than the 15,000 riders used as the benchmark for justifying subway service, and about half the ridership projected when Toronto City Council approved the subway in 2013.”

So where have we heard this before?

Oh yes, Zwei has been say this for years, despite being insulted by the so called SkyTrain experts that this is not so.

Subway construction is extremely expensive and one needs huge traffic flows to justify construction of a subway.

TransLink should know this as the Cost of the Canada Line almost doubled to over $2.4 billion to build; but, oh wait, it is only managing to carry about 7,500 pphpd in the peak hours of service. No wonder TransLink is shelling out over $100 million annually to the charade of a P-3 operating it.

Broadway is even worse as peak hour traffic flows are less than 5,000 pphpd and TransLink wants to build a $3 billion subway To Arbutus?

Is insanity contagious? No, just the city of Vancouver, Factbender, and TransLink playing the taxpayer for rubes, funding a “Subway to Nowhere“, and they even have hired an American CEO, who favours light metros and subways from Seattle to oversee this farce.


If Scarborough subway ridership canai??i??t be improved, cancel it

Metro’s Matt Elliott tackles the new, underwhelming ridership projections for the Scarborough subway.

If the city is going to replace the Scarborough RT with an underground subway, it will need to find ways to boost ridership along the line, says Matt Elliott.

By:Ai??Matt ElliottAi??MetroAi??Published onAi??Mon Jun 06 2016

Having carefully reviewed theAi??updated ridership numbersAi??for the Scarborough subway project provided last week by Torontoai??i??s planning department, I am prepared to offer this bit of qualified journalistic analysis: these numbers suck.

The new figures,Ai??unveiled for the first time at a community consultation event last Tuesday, show the extension attracting just 7,200 peak direction riders during the busiest hour of the day in 2031.

This is way less than the 15,000 riders used as the benchmark for justifying subway service, and about half the ridership projected when Toronto City Council approved the subway in 2013.

The suck doesnai??i??t stop there. The extension is projected to attract just 4,500 new daily transit riders. With a total project budget of just over $2 billion, thatai??i??s an absurd cost of acquisition.

And the extension offers few other benefits. It doesnai??i??t provide relief to the existing subway network. It doesnai??i??t bring transit any closer to people without service.

What it does, mostly, is cost money. A lot of money. The subway represents a 1.6% charge on every residential property tax bill for three decades. When it opens it will, like the similarly underused Sheppard subway, require millions in annual operating subsidy.

My position on the project remains the same. It should be cancelled. All existing project plans should be burned to ash. Those ashes should be shot into space. No one should speak of this ill-advised, politically-engineered subway extension again. Build a light rail network instead.

But after years of fighting this fight, Iai??i??m cynical. It doesnai??i??t seem to matter how low ridership projections sink or how big the budget grows, Torontoai??i??s political establishment ai??i?? led by Mayor John Tory and a gaggle of Liberal MPPs in Scarborough ai??i?? seems dug in. Scarborough will get a subway.

If that really is the outcome, then Tory and council at least owe it to residents of Toronto to ask planning and TTC staff to explore strategies to increase ridership.

That might mean adding more express bus service to create better linkages to the subway from areas like Malvern. It might mean increasing operating subsidies so the cost of a monthly Metropass isnai??i??t out of reach for many.

It might mean scaling back Toryai??i??s SmartTrack plan, so it doesnai??i??t compete for Scarborough ridership.

It might mean encouraging super dense, high-rise development in the wide are around Scarborough Town Centre, even if that meansAi??expropriating more homes.

Many of these ideas wonai??i??t be popular, but all options must be on the table. Approving construction of the Scarborough subway with these ridership numbers would be an act of gross irresponsibility. Either find ways to honestly improve the numbers or cancel this misbegotten project. There should be no middle ground.


2 Responses to “If Broadway’s Transit Ridership Doesn’t Improve, Cancel the Subway”
  1. jim says:

    Hey zwei mla Daryl plecas from abbotsford asked on twitter what people think of lrt or skytrain to langley and about ideas for abbotsford, thought you may like to respond to him…

  2. zweisystem says:

    Thanks, I have!

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