Archive for the ‘information’ Category

The City of Toronto’s Updated Long-Term Financial Plan

Posted on: August 17th, 2023

To: Members of the Executive Committee


CodeRedTO strongly supports proposed revenue tools and changes in 2023.EX7.1, based on both our research and the work of other civil society organizations such as Move TheGTHA, CivicAction, Toronto Environmental Alliance, The Atmospheric Fund, and others. CodeRedTO has consistently advocated since 2011 in support of improved transit funding from the provincial government, and new city-controlled revenue sources, to protect and build our transit network for the future.



Modifying the cost of parking through Toronto Parking Authority and in commercial parking lots will better reflect the cost to the city of private vehicle congestion, and the measured approach and timing to these changes will allow ward-appropriate and context-appropriate changes. Carefully designed, a context-appropriate sales tax could net hundreds of millions in revenue per year according to city staff in 2021, significantly supporting city services.


Sales Tax

Adding a municipal sales tax would enhance the ability of the City of Toronto to respond to economic activity taking place within its borders which is not subject to property taxes, diversifying its revenue sources and creating more budget resilience. Carefully designed to avoid a regressive structure, a context-appropriate sales tax could net hundreds of millions in revenue per year according to city staff in 2021, significantly supporting city services.


Transit Funding

A restructured funding agreement with the province of Ontario for transit operations is vital, as new rapid transit lines add new costs not fully covered by farebox revenue. When opened, Line 5 Eglinton Crosstown and Line 6 Finch West will require new subsidies to unlock the improved mobility and economic activity they will bring, just as the TYSSE extension to York University and Vaughan brought both benefits and tens of millions in new TTC operations costs.

Additionally, pausing negotiation of further funding agreements for the Provincial Priority Transit Projects such as Yonge North (Line 1 extension), Scarborough Subway (Line 2 extension), Eglinton West (Line 5 extension), and the Ontario Line, and for any future provincial transit expansion project, is appropriate and urgent.

The transit network is the low-emissions economic and academic circulation system of our city and region, and enabling our healthy and sustainable growth through transit is critical for the future of our city and residents.


We urge the committee to quickly act on the city’s financial challenges, to repair and protect and then build our vital transit network.

Cameron MacLeod
Executive Director, CodeRedTO


About CodeRedTO

CodeRedTO is a non-partisan, apolitical and volunteer transit advocacy organization. We have held public meetings with the TTC and Metrolinx in Etobicoke, Scarborough, York, North York and East York. We have presented at public meetings with both Councillor Carroll and Mayor Chow on transit funding and challenges. We have met with dozens of councillors over the last decade, along with deputy mayors, a Chief Planner, a Minister of Transportation, and a Premier. We have published detailed reports on public transit networks, finances, and governance. And we continue to be available for any member of council to assist with transit-related discussions at any time.

TTC 5-Year Plan

Posted on: August 10th, 2023

The TTC is consulting riders on its 5-Year Service Plan and Customer Experience Action Plan. CodeRedTO was part of early stakeholder discussions, and we encourage all riders to participate in TTC’s survey to influence priorities, funding, service changes, and making transit a more seamless and comfortable experience. You can learn more at

The TTC’s survey will run until August 27. It is available online at and in hard copy by request.

The TTC will be hosting Pop Ups to provide feedback at six locations across the city:

Humber College North Campus Transit Hub
Wednesday, August 16
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Don Mills Station
Thursday, August 17
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Scarborough Centre Station
Friday, August 18
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Finch West Station
Monday, August 21
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Kipling Station
Tuesday, August 22
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Bloor-Yonge Station
Wednesday, August 23
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Looking for CodeRedTO updates on social media? Find us on Mastodon (an open-source, well-moderated, highly-engaged alternative to Twitter) at

The Year in Transit

Posted on: December 20th, 2022


Ontario government will investigate controversial contracts Metrolinx gave to a consulting firm whose director was a VP at the transit agency
The provincial government will investigate Metrolinx’s decision to award contracts worth millions of dollars to a consulting firm while one of the firm’s directors was also serving as an executive at the transit agency.

(Two days later he resigned)


A report on the mayor’s transit plan mistakenly included inflated numbers. City staff knew but failed to fix them before council voted
Senior city of Toronto staff knowingly presented council with figures that exaggerated the benefits of Mayor John Tory’s signature transit plan ahead of an important vote in 2021. Deputy City Manager Tracey Cook signed off on not correcting the record.

(Cook was nearly-unanimously appointed Interim City Manager by City Council the following July)


TTC CEO got a 21% raise, and Metrolinx CEO got a 13% raise
TTC CEO Rick Leary made $438,495.91 in 2021, and Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster made $838,960.91.

(more than four times what the Mayor of Toronto and Premier of Ontario receive)


Scarborough RT may find new life as a multimillion-dollar dedicated bus lane
TTC staff recommend converting a portion of the Scarborough RT’s right-of-way into a dedicated busway when the RT shuts down at the end of 2023. Thirty-seven years after it opened, the notoriously unreliable RT has already outlived its intended design life by a decade, and is scheduled to be replaced by the province’s controversial three-stop, $5.5-billion Scarborough subway extension. But that project won’t be done until 2030 at the earliest, and in the meantime Scarborough transit riders will be stuck taking buses.

(Beginning in 2023 after the SRT is decommissioned, TTC will run express bus services for at least 7 years)


‘Hands off Osgoode Hall,’ Mayor John Tory warns Metrolinx over proposal to tear up historic site for new Ontario Line station
The mayor issued the stern message Tuesday in response to a plan from Metrolinx to tear up a corner of the historic building’s grounds for construction of an entrance for a new Ontario Line subway station.

(update: in November 2022, the plan to carve open the 170-year-old green space was put “on hold”)


Plans for another smaller, stand-alone Scarborough rail line draw fire
Staff are proposing a “distinct service” concept that would convert the Eglinton East LRT into a stand-alone line that would be operated with smaller trains than those on the Crosstown, and require riders to transfer at Kennedy for all other lines.

(Crosstown East was originally proposed in 2007 as a separate line called the Scarborough-Malvern LRT)


A new LRT line is bringing redevelopment — and gentrification fears — to Jane and Finch
A new soon-to-be-completed LRT line along Finch that is expected to push up land values, sparking fears among community members of displacement and gentrification. The Jane and Finch neighbourhood is set to be massively transformed by the new $2.5-billion Finch West light rail transit (LRT) line scheduled to be finished next year.


TTC Celebrates 100 Years of Service (video)

TTC chair and councillor Jaye Robinson said in 1921, adult fares at the time of operation were seven cents and tickets were four for 25 cents. Since the service launched 100 years ago, she said it’s estimated more than 32 billion passengers have been transported.

($0.07 in 1921 would be $1.11 in 2022 dollars)


Metrolinx admits Eglinton Crosstown will not open in 2022
The long-delayed Eglinton Crosstown LRT has hit yet another snag, with Metrolinx President & CEO Phil Verster confirming on Friday that the project has once again fallen behind schedule, meaning riders will have to wait even longer for the delay-plagued light rail line.

(update: see December)


Metrolinx signs 10-year deal with Durham College for naming rights to Oshawa GO station
Oshawa GO station has been renamed ‘Durham College Oshawa GO’ after Metrolinx and Durham College announced they’ve signed a 10-year naming rights deal.

(Durham College is a 20-30 minute GO Bus ride from the station)


Ottawa LRT Public Inquiry Final Report released
“The inescapable conclusion is that [City Manager] Kanellakos deliberately misled Council.” (he resigned two days before the report was released, and therefore does not have to comment or answer questions on the inquiry’s findings)

“The Mayor’s failure to inform Council prevented Council from exercising effective oversight.”
(he did not run for re-election, and therefore does not have to comment or answer questions on the inquiry’s findings)

Private consortium Rideau Transit Group “knowingly provide[d] inaccurate information to the City about when the OLRT1 system would be ready for operation, which resulted in the City communicating unachievable dates to the public.”

(the line opened over a year late, and since has experienced significant shutdowns adding up to 54 days of lost service in the first year)


No ‘credible plan’ for completion of Eglinton LRT, says Metrolinx
The consortium building the Eglinton Crosstown LRT says it expects the long-delayed transit project to be completed by March 2023, but the provincial transit agency overseeing the project says that date is “overly ambitious.” In an internal Metrolinx performance report from September 2022 obtained by the Star, Metrolinx said Crosslinx Transit Solutions does not have a “credible plan” to complete the LRT. It ascribed the “continuous slippage of the project’s plan” to the “underperformance” of Crosslinx.

(Originally, construction on the Eglinton Crosstown was to complete in 2020)

Advice to new TTC Commissioners

Posted on: December 15th, 2022

On December 8, the TTC Board held its first meeting of the 2022-2026 term. Members of two significant subcommittees were to be appointed, so CodeRedTO provided some advice to TTC Commissioners on their work over the next four years. An edited version of our Executive Director’s remarks is below.


The 6ix Fix Podcast

Posted on: May 20th, 2022

Earlier this spring, our Executive Director spoke to a new podcast called The 6ix Fix about all things transit, and you can listen to the high-energy and entertaining episode below. Follow them on Instagram or Spotify.


StudentMoveTO Symposium 2022

Posted on: May 17th, 2022

Research collaboration group StudentMoveTO is holding a two-day symposium and seminar event June 3 at York University and June 4 at Toronto Metropolitan University, on student travel in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). This event will feature conversations, presentations, debates, and panel discussions from a diverse body of researchers, academic leaders, policy makers and advocates, to discuss insights from the StudentMoveTO study and their implications for creating better transportation services in this region, and improving student well-being. CodeRedTO will be moderating a discussion panel on June 4th, on linking learning to mobility and vice versa.

This event is open to anyone interested in transportation planning in the GTHA. Researchers, students, urban planners, policy makers, transportation advocates, and the broader public are welcome to attend. Registration is free – space is limited.


2022 Ontario Election

Posted on: April 2nd, 2022

Early in 2022, CodeRedTO was approached by a provincial political party for our advice on selected transit topics. As a non-partisan advocacy group, our advice is available to all, and our responses can be found below.

The growth and operation of our public transit systems across Ontario depends quite heavily on the provincial government’s choices and priorities. Those priorities frequently change as is shown below, leading to delayed improvements, increased congestion, and increased emissions.


As a review, here are the new transit promises and changes to existing plans in the winning party’s platform in each of the last four elections. Changes announced outside of election campaigns are excluded.


  • Yonge North Subway expansion to Highway 7
  • Increasing speed and reducing emissions by electrifying the GO Lakeshore line and expanding capacity on all GO lines
  • Expanded express bus service across Highway 407
  • Two rapid transit lines across Hamilton
  • Toronto’s full seven-line Transit City LRT network


  • full-day two-way GO service on all corridors
  • GO refund for delays of 15 minutes (in service)


  • Expansion of GO all-day, two-way service, including regional express service every 15 minutes, and electrification on all lines starting with the UnionPearson Express (some elements under construction)
  • Expansion of GO service to Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph (in service)
  • Brampton Queen Street Rapid Transit (in planning)
  • Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit (in planning)
  • Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit (in planning)
  • Hamilton Rapid Transit (funded, in planning)
  • Hurontario-Main LRT (under construction)
  • East Bayfront LRT (unfunded)
  • Relief line (rebranded Ontario Line by later government, funded, begins construction in 2022)
  • Yonge North Subway expansion to York Region (in planning)


  • Line 4 Sheppard extension
  • All expansions to Crosstown will be underground only


Below are the questions provided to CodeRedTO, and our responses. We hope this information is helpful for all candidates.


CodeRedTO Statement on Sidewalk Toronto Proposal

Posted on: June 25th, 2019

Over the last six months, CodeRedTO has participated in Sidewalk Toronto’s consultations with stakeholders, community groups, and residents. The new proposal centres the vital and much-delayed Waterfront East LRT.

CodeRedTO regularly participates in transit-related consultations on projects, including the Relief Line, the Line 2 East Extension, and SmartTrack. As a non-partisan source of transit research & data, contributing to mobility projects helps improve transit debate in Toronto.

CodeRedTO has no position on proposal topics outside our area of expertise and research. However, the inclusion of waterfront light rail, directly described to us as a “non-negotiable” element, is inarguably positive. No successful waterfront future can depend on private vehicles.

City of Toronto planners have long deemed waterfront light rail a priority. The choice to follow city planners’ lead on higher-order transit service, and the rapid implementation opportunity which follows when funding is identified, is noteworthy.

This proposal’s focus on sustainable, mixed-use transit-oriented development, use of an existing approved but unfunded East Bayfront LRT plan, and explicit minimizing of private car travel, may also provide a useful reference for many choices soon to be made about our public spaces.

Our future is environmentally, economically, and geometrically tied to public transit. We welcome Sidewalk Toronto’s strong commitment to the City’s plan for light rail connecting TO’s core & eastern waterfront. Too long delayed, this LRT line must be part of any waterfront plan.

CodeRedTO Statement on Provincial Transit Funding Announcement

Posted on: April 10th, 2019

This morning Premier Ford and Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek announced a $28.5 billion plan to expand the Toronto transit network, including a Relief “Ontario Line” from the Eglinton Crosstown into the downtown core and onward to Ontario Place. Other projects proposed include more stations on the Line 2 East Extension fully funded by the government, and the Eglinton Crosstown connection to Pearson airport.

CodeRedTO welcomes the announcement of provincial capital investment in the expansion of Toronto’s transit network, and especially the longer Relief Line which provides a higher return on investment and higher level of Line 1 relief.

Provincial investment is a necessary part of the City of Toronto being able to engage in recent transit funding offered through the federal government, and it is good to see both the federal and the provincial governments making such significant contributions to transit. Improved and expanded transit is necessary for economic growth in the entire Toronto region, whose success is both a provincial and national economic engine.

While the current TTC Relief Line plan could begin construction in 2020 with confirmed funding, modifications to technology and alignment inevitably create some delay. The addition of a new technology mode to Toronto’s rapid transit network could bring potential benefits in the form of procurement or construction speed, or reduced day to day operations cost. But it also brings risks in the “learning curve” without any existing network off of which to build, and increased costs for duplication of maintenance facilities and spare vehicles. It will be vital to manage these risks to bring the best overall result within the remaining time before Line 1 crowding becomes dangerous.

It is also important to note that all “megaprojects” experience delays and cost increases, some required and some political. In fact, nine out of ten billion-dollar-plus projects go over budget. The research clearly shows that the most important elements of megaproject management are in the planning: evidence-based, transparent process, and a rigorous business case.

Missing from this proposal is the high-priority Waterfront East LRT, which will serve to enable access and transit-oriented development already in progress. Both the City and Province must align on this project rapidly to ensure travel patterns are built appropriately.

We also have concerns about the process to date. As we move forward, we hope the province will engage the city in an appropriate partnership and align on the planning of transit, particularly before making public announcements that have a material impact on existing city plans and spending.

We also hope that partnership results in a provincial commitment to improving the funding of the operations and maintenance of the existing transit system in Toronto. The TTC remains the least subsidized transit agency in Canada and the United States, and it is currently not able to provide a level of service appropriate to its ridership.

According to the American Public Transit Association’s report Open for Business: The Business Case for Investment in Public Transportation, “every dollar spent on public transportation generates $4 in economic returns.” We note that the City has to finance its own share of these capital expansion projects, in addition to the federal and provincial contributions. We hope to see the City revisit its budget and make a serious plan to find the necessary capital for the most worthwhile investments.

A few more thoughts….

Posted on: April 2nd, 2019

A blog post by CodeRedTO advisor and volunteer Patricia Wood, on her appearance on TVO’s The Agenda.

Eighteen minutes isn’t a lot of time, especially when you have to share, so here’s a few more thoughts on the panel from TVO’s The Agenda that aired April 2, 2019 on subway upload negotiations between the Province & City.

First, thank you to Steve Paikin and Brian Kelcey and the TVO team. A meaningful exchange on detailed policy elements has been hard to find on this topic from the province, so I’m glad we found a little of it at TVO.

As I mentioned, the research we’ve done at CodeRedTO shows that you can have good governance with all kind of governance models. But that doesn’t mean it’s no big deal if we switch oversight of transit from the City to the Province. The first problem with that, of course, is that you don’t just take apart a functional agency on a whim. It needs work, but it’s not broken.

I was asked about whether the province or the city will bring more certainty to “making my transit experience better,” and I wish I had also emphasized what a success story the TTC is. Like most other TTC riders, I have many complaints about the system and the service, but there is also no question it is a leader. It has the second-largest ridership in Canada and the US, second only to New York City. Even more importantly, Toronto has the highest mode share on public transit. It is the only city in the region to have made a dent in getting people out of their cars. The King Street Pilot report just revealed that only 34% of people moving through that area travel by car. For the city as a whole, it’s about 50%. But in our neighbouring municipalities, it’s over 70%, and in some cases over 80%. In Burlington, 86% of commuters drive to work. Toronto and TTC are not the problem; they are the model.

So the suggestion that anyone else should take over the planning or decision-making of the TTC is speculative, to say the least. Not only has the TTC managed to continue to build ridership and improve service delivery in very difficult circumstances, but it has achieved success in areas few other systems have—such as suburban bus service. By providing a decent frequency of service, the TTC now has many of its busiest bus routes in suburban areas. Most American cities have never succeeded in getting suburbanites on the bus in significant numbers, because (they say) “people will never get out of their cars” and “there’s no demand.” They cut bus service, which makes it less reliable and fewer riders take it, and on we go into a downward spiral.

The TTC has—most of the time—taken a different path, and it’s been a successful one.

The Board of Trade and others say the Province’s proposals are not mere disruption, that they are made with professional advice. Where is that advice? Where are the business cases? Where are the ridership studies, the social and economic benefit studies? Where is the consultation? Where is Michael Lindsay’s report? Where is the justification for further delays to many of these projects? Where is the justification for prioritizing Richmond Hill over the Eglinton East LRT or the Waterfront LRT? Why aren’t the last two even on the list anymore?

There shouldn’t be this many questions outstanding, if the legislation is just weeks away, as is rumoured.

None of the Province’s rationale for its proposals is public. There is clearly support for its choices, but whether that support goes beyond political strategists and developers remains to be seen.

Where is the money coming from?

We are also told that there is a lot of money coming, that we will like the forthcoming budget. That also remains to be seen. It is important to recognize that no money is on the table, and the source of any money is not clear. The only thing the Province has put out there was a plan for selling the air rights of stations to private interests. A line of experts in real estate development and business (not the most radical bunch) immediately quashed that idea. The revenue generated from such initiatives is NOWHERE near what is required for building subway infrastructure. Are they going to borrow the capital? How much capacity does the Province have to do that right now? Are they going to privatize subway lines?

All of the above questions are not rhetorical, nor snark. They are real questions to which we need answers. This important discussion remains vague and opaque.

If the Province puts up some money, and the federal government is persuaded to contribute, the City will still be required to contribute a fair sum, which is not currently in our budget plans. That is a serious issue.

And there’s the question of money for operating and maintenance. Even if the Province paid 100% of the bill for building new transit, that wouldn’t mean the TTC could afford to operate it. The extension past York University to Vaughan, for example, has low ridership, and running the trains on this new extension is costing the TTC an extra $30 million a year. The system is already the least subsidized in Canada and the United States. Without more subsidization, fares would have to increase significantly to operate any new extensions or service would have to be cut. The Province has suggested it will contribute $160 million a year. That is also nowhere near what is needed. Most other systems in Canada and the US have dedicated revenue streams from taxes or governments that bring in at least $500 million every year. Those other systems are also much smaller and carry millions fewer riders than the TTC.

There are all kinds of other issues to address with the TTC, but there is no getting around the fact that it simply needs more money to deliver service appropriate to its ridership.

Should we be at the table?

One last question I thought we might discuss is whether or not the City should be at the table, participating in these talks. In an ideal scenario, the City and the Province should have a real conversation about the best way to move forward in improving planning, funding and governance of transit in the city and the region. This would normally a long-term, public discussion, possibly led by a joint task force. Instead we have a closed-door process and a very tight timeframe. The City is certainly in a difficult position. If it participates, it gives legitimacy to a process that may not in fact take the position and concerns of the City seriously. If it does not participate, then the Province can argue it is uncooperative and so will act alone.

Are we even at the table?

In fact, it’s worth asking if the City is even “at the table.” Where is the real table? The letters from Cabinet Advisor Michael Lindsay and Deputy Minister Shelly Tapp raise real concerns. That first letter contained unforced errors that should never have seen the light of day. The most odd is the assertion that tunneling the Eglinton West LRT extension of the Crosstown had not been previously considered. If the table the City sits at is the actual site of negotiations, planning and decision-making, then surely this idea was floated. In which case, it would have been shot down immediately as false.

Either the idea was never floated before it went in the letter, which means “the table” is not where plans are made, or the idea was floated and corrected, but the correction was ignored, which means “the table” is not where plans are made.

Whether the City should or should not be at the table is ultimately a less important question than where the real decisions are being made. Is this whole process about building more of what the city and the region need, or is it about creating a system where the province can build whatever it wants without asking for consent?

When I deputed to Executive Council for CodeRedTO a couple of weeks ago, I was asked to consider the possibility that the Province didn’t have any real plans yet. It is crystal clear that the Province has plans. It is not so clear that they are open for discussion.

Tricia Wood is Professor of Geography and co-founder of the City Institute at York University. She has particular interests in democratic practices and people’s mobility. She is also an urban affairs columnist for

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