In Toronto – A $3 Billion Subway Carries Fewer Customers Than A Streetcar Line!

Those who promote a Broadway subway had better beware, subways are not the magic elixir in attracting ridership.

A Toronto CBC news story giving mayoralty hopeful Doug Ford (brother of the discredited Rob Ford) an “F” for his subway plans contains an interesting item:

“The Sheppard subway is a classic example,” said Bedford. “It cost $3Ai??billion to build and only carries 50 toAi??55,000 riders a day. The King streetcar alone carries over 60,000 riders a day.Ai??ai??ZWe need to learn from this and not repeat these mistakes all over the city.”

And that is 60,000 customers a day using the now vintage four axle CLRV’s, not more modern articulated stock.

A Broadway Skytrain subway is not guaranteed to attracted more customers than an at-grade/on-street light rail/streetcar system, in fact, the inconvenience of a subway, with widely spaced stations needing an expensive shadow bus service, maybe the final financial straw that may break TransLink’s back!


5 Responses to “In Toronto – A $3 Billion Subway Carries Fewer Customers Than A Streetcar Line!”
  1. Sean says:

    Good point. Metro Vancouver in its current situation is better off without any public transit, which is an unprofitable venture.

    Zwei replies: The point is why build expensive subways when a far cheaper solution is at hand. Most public transit is unprofitable but breaking the bank for a few ‘showcase’ R/T lines is just plain silly.

  2. Trolley Jolly says:

    So, has anyone calculated the headway?

    2 or 3 seconds maybe?

    And they say trams can’t operate at close headway’s.

  3. Haveacow says:

    To be fair the Sheppard Subway did not cost $3 Billion! I don’t no where they got that number? The actual cost was around $950,000,000 for the Subway, the upgrade to Wilson Subway Yard and the then new Transit Control Centre as well as 65 extra T1 Class Subway Cars from Bombardier.

  4. Haveacow says:

    I am in the middle of an article for someone else but, Toronto just finished and reopened the Harbourfront LRT Line on Queens Quay Blvd West (technically the streetcar R.O.W. was moved 2 metres south). Its part of a big rebuild and reorientation of the street traffic lanes, cycling lanes and walking trails along the waterfront. I have been trying to get only the LRT right of way costs but its complicated by the fact the TTC portion of the project includes track work, overhead replacement costs and below grade station as well as surface upgrades that are not on the Queens Quay right of way. Once I can rule out the non Queens Quay right of way costs and the costs that are required for Toronto system that would not be required if you were building a LRT line completely from scratch plus the extra costs required because Toronto has an existing network in place already. Then I can get a pretty good estimation of what the cost of a true street bound LRT system actually costs to put in an a similar Canadian city with expensive land costs in a already busy existing urban streetscape. Broadway is actually very similar to Queens Quay Blvd. in right of way width and traffic conditions. So far several things have stood out that I did not really now about before, for example, the difference in insurance cost for construction firms building on a busy urban street versus some green field site in a suburban housing development. It is stunning, around 300-500 %. more expensive in a urban environment than a suburban one. I will let you know the details when I am done.

  5. Haveacow says:

    I found out where the $3 Billion for the cost of the Shepard subway comes from, Mr. Bedford, a Toronto based urban planner is quoting the cost of the possible/planned expansion of the Sheppard Subway from it’s current end at Don Mills Rd. to Scarborough City Centre (or Sheppard and Mc Cowan Ave. to meet up with the current funded Bloor Danforth Subway extension, already approved and funded) This will only happen if certain stars align and city residents want to cover the extra $1.8-2.7 Billion not covered to complete the project as a Sheppard Ave. subway extension. He evidently has not been informed that, the Provincial Liberal government in Ontario, Metrolinks, 2 of 3 main City of Toronto Mayorial candidates as well as most of council candidates in Toronto prefer LRT on Sheppard East and Finch West instead of subway lines. The real reason being that if the project were canceled now it would cost the city several hundred millions in fees and penalties. The much maligned, $950 Million LRT line on Sheppard is already paid for and a new subway extension would delay any project on Sheppard even more because of the need to do design and work and a EA. If Rob Ford had not tried to cancel the LRT, back in 2010, construction would have started in late 2011 early 2012 and it would have already been operational. Opening by late 2013 or early 2014.This is the problem of believing anything during an election campaign.

    You would be surprised how much work you can get done when you are in lockdown for 8.5 hours in downtown Ottawa. Also many thanks to the gentleman who let me use his cellphone after mine had run out of power to call my wife, to have her pick up the kids at school instead of me (their school like a great many schools and businesses in the west-central area of Ottawa was also on lockdown). The fact that my laptop battery lasted considerably longer than my phone’s battery was a bit of a concern.

Leave A Comment