Move Toronto vs. Transit City FAQ

Here is some information about our transit development plan called Move Toronto. The plan is almost ready and will be released next week or two.

Q: Won’t this plan cost more than Transit City?
A: Transit City is a 15 year plan, projected to cost $15 billion. The 15 year portion of Move Toronto will be cost-neutral to Transit City, also costing $15 billion. Not included in either of those estimates are the Downtown Relief Line (DRL), the Spadina Subway extension, or the Yonge Subway extension. They are being funded independently, but are included in Move Toronto.

For the same cost as Transit City, Move Toronto will provide true, grade-separated rapid transit to many areas of Toronto.

Q: Will Transit City help reduce congestion at Bloor-Yonge station, or on the subways leading into downtown?
A: No. There is nothing in the Transit City plan that will reduce congestion at Bloor-Yonge station, or on the Yonge and University lines south of Bloor. If Transit City succeeds at boosting ridership, it will likely make the congestion even worse.

However, Move Toronto is proposing the Downtown Relief Line (DRL), a wider U-shaped line passing through downtown which, according to Metrolinx, will take approximately 17,000 rush hour passengers off the Yonge-University-Spadina subway south of Bloor.

Q: Will Transit City help reduce congestion on the subway network at all?
A: No. The entire Transit City plan is based around dumping LRT riders onto the existing subway network. Under Transit City, there are no new subway lines or extensions inside the 416. This will only increase congestion on existing subway lines that are already congested. In essence, Transit City is a $15 billion project to make it more efficient for people to reach a backlog on the subways.

Move Toronto proposes several new subway lines, which will have several advantages. They will relieve the existing lines by providing passengers more rapid transit options. They will also provide service to areas that are currently under-served. They will also mean shorter travel times on your local bus in order to reach the subway system.

In addition, Move Toronto will eliminate the transfers at Don Mills and Kennedy, providing an increase in convenience for thousands of commuters. These transfers would remain in place under Transit City.

Q: Aren’t LRTs being built in big cities all over Europe?
A: Yes, they are. But nearly all of these European cities already have well developed subway networks, covering nearly the entire city. These LRT lines are being built to ‘fill in the gaps’ in the subway network. Toronto does not have an equivalently large subway network, and LRTs are not a substitute for subways. They are slower, can hold fewer people, and are susceptible to red lights, traffic accidents, and inclement weather.

LRT lines are well suited for secondary corridors in the city, once the subway network has been fully developed and is suitable for a city of Toronto’s size, not before.

Q: Isn’t BRT less effective than LRT?
A: In the case of many of the proposed Transit City lines, no. Many of those lines will have relatively low off-peak usage, resulting in wait times as long as 10 minutes. Move Toronto includes BRT lines instead of LRT lines. Because buses can hold fewer people than LRT trains can, they will run more frequently, resulting in less wait time.

The BRT lines that will be used in Move Toronto are also designed to carry people on short, 5-15 minute trips to the closest subway stop. This is very different from Transit City, in which passengers may be on an LRT train for over half an hour before finally reaching a subway stop.

Q: Aren’t curbside cut-outs less effective than dedicated lanes?
A: Yes, they are marginally less effective. However, most of the BRT lines proposed in Move Toronto are on suburban arterial roads, which by and large have good traffic flows. Normal buses are reduced in speed because they need to wait in line (or a cue) when stopped at a red light near an intersection. A cue jump lane allows the bus to enter its own lane near the intersection, so that it can load and unload passengers while waiting at the red light. This will reduce the amount of time wasted at red lights.

While this is slightly less efficient than a dedicated lane along the entire length of the road, it is magnitudes less expensive. The money saved from only using cue jump lanes can go to funding the construction of more subways, the backbone of any transit system.

Q: Why are some of the lines on the map dashed, and some solid?
A: The solid lines signify that those sections of the lines will be built within the 15 year timeframe. The dashed lines signify they will be built in the 25 year timeframe, and will be run as BRT lines until the subway is operational.

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