The Year in Transit

January

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)

February

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)

March

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)

April

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)

May

‘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”)

June

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)

July

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.

August

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)

September

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)

October

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)

November

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)

December

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)

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TELL your friends and family that new rapid transit is amazing - it really is! - but unless we stabilize and grow operations funding we risk leaving people waiting for crowded buses for decades longer.

Did you know: The bus routes on Finch carry as many riders per day as the population of North Bay! Routes on Lawrence, Jane, and elsewhere also carry a huge number of riders per day. We are decades behind and need more and better transit options for our residents now, not just small extensions that use up all the budget.

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