Background: On Tuesday February 11, 2014, Ward 6 Councillor Mark Grimes hosted a Community Transit Meeting on the subject of transit in South Etobicoke. Participants included Andy Byford (TTC CEO), Karen Stintz (TTC Chair and Councillor), Daniel Haufschild (Metrolinx Director Policy and Planning), and Councillor Grimes.
What follows is a record of the questions asked, and the answers provided. They were posted via Twitter by Robin Salt who kindly agreed to having them re-posted here.
Questions & Answers
Q: Why Streetcars?
A: Andy – Bit of a moot point as new streetcars are already ordered but new ones are going to carry more.
They also will have air conditioning and presto card payment system … carrying capacity is greater so will be spaced out further.
A side note … the number of buses needed and amount of emissions they would produce along the Lake Shore would be nasty!
Q: How are you addressing costs to limit fare increases?
A: Requesting funds from Feds, contracted out services – maintenance.
A: Haven’t had an increase in funding from government in 3 years and had a 10% cut 3 years ago.
Q: Mimico Go Station-relocation, improvements, access?
A: No plans to move it right now, major overhaul of station.
A: Daniel – Also making access to station better, shelter canopy’s new station building and small parking expansion, improved bike parking [and elevators].
A: Also building tunnel to Manchester Street. Mark Grimes: “No one wants the station moved…”
Q: How do TTC and Metrolinx plan to handle increased density in the Lakeshore area?
A: It’s a challenge, every 6 weeks they review passenger levels so they can change service … have increased in this area due to population.
A: Also a reason TTC needs more funding to increase service, reduce crowding and get more operators and vehicles.
A: Daniel – Metrolinx Regional planning and modelling … look at where people will live and need to go and plan for infrastructure.
A: Both TTC and Metrolinx are looking into fare integration.
We need a GO Station in Humber Bay Shores. Christie Plant makes most sense.
Q: How does TTC determine service levels?
A: When there’s a problem on the 501 line we suffer at either end …
A: Andy Byford did do a study on this issue and they are trying splitting the line to fix any backups.
A: Also adding supervisors back on streets to keep bunching and back-ups under control.
A: Bunching, Bunching, Bunching … Andy Byford is determined to fix bunching and reduce short turns.
Q: What is the 5 yr. plan for this area?
A: Lots of stuff happening but nothing mentioned in yet …
A: Still nothing about plans in ….Mark Grimes mentions extra service on a few bus routes.
A: More bunching discussions … Andy Byford says it’s just not acceptable! He plans to ride the 501 to get a feel for the issues. [Good feedback from audience on this. Councillor Grimes makes no such offer]
Q: What is status of Presto?
A: About 1 million cards are out there, 80% on GO use them.
Q: Will Lakeshore 501 turn into the St Clair Disaster? (Which BTW is not a disaster)
A: Andy – It’s on the books but far away.
Q: Can we curb parking along routes like they will on King?
A: Andy – Looking into it as King is a pilot project.
Q: Why fare increases while less service?
A: Not enough subsidy, trying to keep fares at inflation rates.
Q: What about fare subsidy for low income?
A: No subsidy for low income just student and senior rates.
Q: When are the new streetcars coming out?
A: Still running tests on all the lines to make sure they actually fit/connect.
A: More infrastructure changes like new wires because the air conditioning will draw more power.
Q: Why has every single transit improvement for this area been cancelled or deferred especially due to new population increases?
A: Mark Grimes to paraphrase “stuff happens” – Andy Byford changes need to be driven by customer needs.
A: Also states that both east and west Lake Shore do have big needs and are currently behind the times.
Q: Express bus extra fare?
A: Mark – It doesn’t get enough use so needs a premium fare to keep it running.
Q: Lack of frequency of the 501 is a big problem (30 – 45 min. wait at times) what’s going to be done? And fare dodging.
A: Andy – Will look into timing (roadside supervisors) also looking into fare inspectors because it’s not fare for people who pay.
Q: Hamilton has a subsidy for low income people and folks with disabilities why not TO?
A: TTC does try to work with folks from organizations that support low income folks to ensure fares are included.
Q: What about bringing back 507 to Dundas (helps 504 too) and more 508s?
A: Andy – He will look at it once again with staff.
Q: Any consideration to add lanes to Lakeshore around Parklawn?
A: Panel stumped and frankly no room (for them).
Q: Mentions 3 key votes that Mark Grimes voted against regarding TTC funding … mostly voted against additional funding.
Q: How do you explain that?
A: Can’t recall votes … thinks there are still savings to be had at TTC. He stands on his record.
Q: Why did Mark Grimes & Karen Stintz vote for subway in Scarborough that all of TO now has to pay for when LRT was paid for?
A: Big cheers in the room … Karen Stintz will not run for Mayor until she’s not TTC Chair (two weeks folks)
A: People are ticked that the poor folks of Scarborough have now been short changed out of a 7 stop LRT.
Q: Ah the old water taxi service idea
A: (paraphrasing) fun very James Bond like but alas not within funding or feasible.
Q: Why is Humber Bay Shores treated as a separate area and not included with the rest of us?
A21: not enough time …