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Auditor General Questions Metrolinx’s Plan

The Auditor General of Ontario this week revealed that he has serious concerns about Metrolinx’s plans for the Premier’s Air Rail Link: fares are too expensive and not enough passengers. It is time for a rethink!

Read the Auditor General’s report here.

The Clean Train Coalition suggests the whole line be redesigned as the downtown west relief line, built as electric so it can stop and start quickly, with more neighbourhood stations and better connections with TTC lines. This way it can be used by more riders to get more places, and more ridership means more fare box revenue.

2 comments

    • Doug Bennet on December 22, 2012 at 9:12 am
    • Reply

    Thank you Auditor-General! More evidence of the misguided plan to provide a carcinogenic diesel express service to the airport for downtown financial and media elites.

    The business plan for an executive service for the 1% is not feasible, as the A-G points out. That’s why SNC Lavalin dropped out of the plan, wasting years of negotiating while the clock ticked. Now it appears the executive service will need to be subsidized by taxpayers. (Metrolinx is drinking its own kool-aid if it thinks families laden with luggage will take the train when a cab will cost less and be far more convenient. And it’s debatable whether C-Suite executives will take the train; can you see them waiting on the platform for 15 minutes for the next train?)

    The Liberal diesel train can only be seen as an interim measure towards an all-electric, public transit system to the airport that also serves as the west-end downtown relief line for 300,000 people. Compare Vancouver’s Canada Line. With 16 stops and a $3.75 fare, it serves 110,000 people a day. The Liberal diesel train is looking at 5,000 business people a day, with fares in the $25-$30 range and only 4 stops including the terminals. Vancouver’s electric trains are faster, meaning the trip to the airport is still 25 minutes, same time expected for the slow-poke diesel UP Express (the Toronto line is a little longer). The Vancouver line even has pre-boarding airline check-in at four key stops. It’s an awesome system that puts Toronto’s plan to shame.

    Ontario is also swimming in so much electricity that some days it PAYS other jurisdictions to take the surplus electricity away (IESO). Why not choose surplus, Ontario-generated power when diesel was just rated by the World Health Organization as a known carcinogen, placed in the same category as asbestos and mustard gas? Boogles the mind.

    Metrolinx and the Ontario Liberals are backed into a corner. Fortunately, there’s an electric, public transit way out. Let’s work together to make it happen.

    • Monty on January 30, 2013 at 11:14 am
    • Reply

    In 2013, it is plain dumb to plan to run hundreds of choo-choo trains through downtown Toronto for an airport link. If this were a modern city the discussion would be electric versus maglev.. I’ll settle for electric, but now. So yes Doug let’s make this happen.

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