Professor Patrick Condon: Dear PM: Don’t Waste Billions on Bad Transit Projects

I see the good professor is taking the same track a Zwei, with my earlier letter to the PM.

Expensive vanity projects like the Broadway subway drive up transit costs, yet provide negligible transit improvements.

The only benefit a Broadway subway will bring is excessive profits to land speculators and developers, who are now assembling land on Broadway.

SkyTrain’s expensive costs has driven up TransLink’s Cost per revenue passenger

over one third higher than Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. A Broadway subway would greatly increase

TransLink’s cost per revenue passenger numbers.

Dear PM: Don’t Waste Billions on Bad Transit Projects

Toronto and Vancouver subway wrong for taxpayers, riders and planet.

ByAi??Patrick M. Condon, Today,


The Scarborough RT system could have been upgraded for only $500 million. Instead,

Toronto council opted to scrap it for an expensive subway extension.

Dear Mr. Trudeau,

Congratulations on your recent victory. I was happy to see that you support infrastructure investments, particularly in transit. Good on you! I was even happier to see that you want to spend your extra $6 billion a year on transit, green infrastructure and housing.

But I have a concern: You only have about $2 billion a year to spend on transit. Not much.

And the talk is that the money will go to “shovel ready” projects. That worries me, because it means you could spend all the money and more building a few kilometres of subway lines in Toronto and Vancouver each year. Not much benefit in a country this big!

I’m worried about the money disappearing into two specific holes in the ground: $2 billion for the 5.7-kilometre Broadway subway line in Vancouver, and $3.6 billion for the 7.6-kilometre Bloor subway line extension in Toronto.

Wow, I thought the Broadway line was expensive at $350 million per kilometre, almost three times the per-kilometre cost of the Canada Line. But the cost of the Scarborough extension of the Bloor subway line in Toronto will be pushing $475 million a kilometre!

For the full article…….


3 Responses to “Professor Patrick Condon: Dear PM: Don’t Waste Billions on Bad Transit Projects”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Although the professor has a point, the conditions for his disapproval of say the Bloor Danforth subway extension, is a dead issue. The design has already changed as of Monday and is going through City of Toronto’s processes and coming to a council vote. The new final form for the “Report of Rapid Transit in Scarborough Plan” , has the Bloor- Danforth (Line #2) Extension only going to Scarborough City Centre and ending there not at Sheppard Ave. There will be no stops in between Kennedy and Scarborough City Centre Stations making it a true express route(something residents really wanted), saving upwards of $1.3- to $2.2 Billion. Any extension to that line like say, a northerly extension past Sheppard Ave. to the presently being sold off, massive CPR Toronto Marshalling Yards can come in the future. With the saved money, the Scarborough East Morningside-Malvern LRT Line, from Transit City Plan has come back and is effectively an eastern extension to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT Line. North-South Rapid Transit needs will be met by the combined the GO Transit Stouffville RER/ TTC Smart Track Line. The coming Sheppard East LRT will link into the Malvern LRT Extension at University of Toronto’s Scarborough College Campus as well as the BD Subway line at Scarborough City Centre Station. The plan was brought forward by the City’s planning department as a compromise and a possible end to the “Transit Civil War in Scarborough”

    Here is a link to the plan:

  2. Haveacow says:

    I don’t why that $500 Million figure is still allowed to be around! it just pisses me off! First thing, it was just wrong! This comes form a report by a by an ex Toronto transit planner written for a anti tax group and conservative local politicians who forced the TTC to print it and call it their own. The report which quietly promoted “Union Busting” at all costs and thus an upgrade to a full driverless Skytrain like capability was the only answer to the upgrade of the Scarborough RT Line. Several TTC advisors believed it as well as many fiscally conservative politicians. The costs didn’t include maintenance, the extension to both the line and the needed one for the maintenance yard as well as all the new operating equipment necessary, never mind it only eliminated the drivers, all 24 of them. The report forgot to mention that that they would still need “line monitors”, you guys call then Skytrain Attendants. The final cost was around, $1.2 Billion not 500 Million.The TTC doesn’t want the “Skytrain/Scarborough RT operating technology, period. The many issues faced by the TTC were the power hungry and maintenance heavy linear induction propulsion system as well as the high cost of the vehicle’s spare parts, available from its one and only supplier, Bombardier. Most of the components share nothing in common with subway or conventional LRT/Streetcar technologies and therefore an entire TTC operating division has had to set up to just service this line all with different equipment needs than the rest of the TTC system. The TTC doesn’t want to do this anymore they would rather spend it on technology that gets them what they need and is somewhat affordable to operate.

  3. eric chris says:

    I really don’t see how the other mayors in the rest of Canada are going to sit idly-by for Gregor Robertson to receive $1 billion from the federal government for 50% of the cost of “his” six-kilometre subway along Broadway so that his buddies can increase the value of their real estate holdings. According to Gregor, increasing the cost of housing along the subway line makes Vancouver more affordable. I don’t understand his “logic” and have repeatedly asked Gregor to explain how increasing the value of real estate along subway lines makes Vancouver more affordable.

    Every time, he hasn’t responded. Dazed and confused, he believes that by failing to acknowledge his lies, it somehow clears him and protects him.

    After voters in Metro Vancouver did not approve the $2 billion for his subway in the 2015 plebiscite seeking approval from voters to run s-train under West 9th Avenue (Broadway) in Vancouver, Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver declared that democracy has failed, that he knows best, and that the $12 million spent on the plebiscite is void. Hail victory for Gregor Robertson attempting to overthrow democracy and dupe the federal government to get his funding for the subway. Seig Heil Gregor Robertson!

    Barely squeaking by in the last municipal election, Gregor Robertson doesn’t have the popular vote. He has much less than 50% of the vote.

    Contrary to what Gregor Robertson thinks, Vancouver is not more significant than any other city in Canada. All cities in Canada are equal in our democratic society and have equal access to the $20 billion in federal grants for public transit.

    If Quebec City, for example, decides to splurge on public transit to build its “must have” $2 billion subway, also, and seeks federal funding for it, Quebec City must share equally in the funding offered by the Government of Canada for public transit. However, this isn’t likely.

    Vancouver is no more important than Quebec City or any other city in Canada. Gregor wrongly believes that he is special in Canada:

    “Robertson was also bubbling with optimism, saying the coming federal budget could launch major rapid transit projects in Metro Vancouver, with the Trudeau government poised to contribute up to 50 per cent of the price. I’m confident, he told reporters after chairing a meeting between Canada’s big-city mayors and Trudeau.”

    “So you think the province and the feds should pay the whole shot for construction of transit projects like a subway along Broadway? That’s what we’re working on is making sure they contribute most or all of the capital so we can get projects started.”

    No, Gregor. Get lost. You have no idea, no idea…