For immediate release, Saturday, January 31, 2015
COUNCIL SHOULD REVISIT LRT PLAN BEFORE GOING AHEAD WITH THE SCARBOROUGH SUBWAY EXTENSION PROJECT
Public consultation for the Scarborough Subway Extension Project starts today, however TTCriders Scarborough Committee want Council to revisit the Scarborough LRT plan.
The decision by Council, to replace the Scarborough RT with a subway, in October 2013, was based on a hasty, ill conceived plan that failed to meet the needs of transit riders in Scarborough.
“Today, we know more than we did then. New information and new circumstances, warrant a reconsideration of the Scarborough LRT”, says Brenda Thompson, Scarborough Transit Action Chair.
The McCowan subway alignment, or any other alignment along Eglinton East, will be more like a regional service for commuters, similar to GO transit, unless there are additional subway stations. In particular, there will be no access for transit riders along Eglinton, east of Kennedy, despite the fact that this corridor has one of the highest TTC riderships of anywhere in Scarborough.
“The lack of access along Eglinton East combined with long stretches of low density residential neighourhoods in between, calls the whole subway plan into question,” says Vincent Puhakka, Scarborough Transit Action member.
Smart Track could take ridership away from the Scarborough subway or vice versa. This needs to be examined before going any further with the Scarborough Subway plan.
Council has been informed that the $85 million sunk cost of cancelling the Scarborough LRT, is embedded somewhere in the budget. What other costs will be incurred for cancelling the Scarborough LRT? What about the cost of modifying the contract for the Sheppard East LRT yard or reducing the number of LRT vehicles? What about the $132 million cost of keeping 28 SRT cars running at least until 2023? This information should be pulled together and discussed openly first.
The 2015 TTC budget calls for a ten cent fare increase to balance the TTC’s operating budget. Transit riders are expected to pay another $93 for a metro pass, while Council considers picking up $85 million in sunk costs for cancellation of the Scarborough LRT. “Riders are paying more to take the TTC and more to forfeit rapid transit access. That’s not fair”, says Vincent Puhakka.