A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[URBAN NOTE] On the 11th anniversary of Steve Munro’s blog and Toronto transit problems

Steve Munro recently celebrated the 11th anniversary of his Toronto transit blog by warning that the treatment of Toronto mass transit has become dominated by political appearances and stunningly lacks any appreciation of–for instance–the need to adequately fund mass transit.

Regular readers have probably noticed that some of my writing, both here and on social media, has become less tolerant, less willing to accept the premise that the politicians who serve us are simply misguided and open to reasonable argument. That’s total bullshit, and the pols are as self-serving as ever, facts be damned. “Playing nice” only invites the assumption that one can be ignored.

The most recent news, that Premier Wynne has decided that investing in transit should not cost people anything, is only the most ridiculous in a long line of crazy plans for municipal transportation and financing. [. . .]

Provincial transportation policy for the last decade has focused on voters in the 905, some of whom might actually use transit. Long ago, when “The Big Move” master plan was still a new idea, it was clear, and acknowledged by Metrolinx, that this plan would at best keep congestion from getting any worse than today by diverting most growth onto new transit lines. The Big Problem, however, was the plan’s concentration of capacity on trips bound for Toronto’s core while largely ignoring trips between the outer 416 and within the 905 region and beyond.

Local transit was somebody else’s problem, and only recently has Metrolinx acknowledged that their fully built-out network cannot work without a robust set of local services to ferry people to and from the GO stations. And if you don’t live on a rail corridor? So sad. We might run a bus now and then.

Metrolinx itself is a huge problem. It is a secretive organization meeting only occasionally in public, and then with carefully choreographed sessions in which there is far too little critical discussion of policy options. The organization, especially under the current Minister, seems to exist primarily as a provider of photo ops. The operational side, GO Transit, muddles along providing service within a constained budget, while follies such as the Union Pearson Express and Presto burn through millions with little accountability.

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Written by Randy McDonald

January 29, 2017 at 6:15 pm

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