An examination of the impact of the TTC’s proposal to expand the bus network and add express routes has provided more evidence of the inefficiency of the Scarborough Subway Extension.
The visual comparison of the two projects by advocacy organizations TTCriders and Scarborough Transit Action revealed that the express bus expansion would cost significantly less to build and operate than the Scarborough Subway Extension.
The comparison is timely because the express bus expansion, while approved by the TTC Board, cannot be rolled out because it is not funded, and City Council is about to begin deliberating the TTC’s budget for 2018. The Scarborough Subway Extension is funded.
“What we continue to see is that the Scarborough Subway Extension has been a misguided effort from the start. Even when we use the most optimistic cost estimates, we see that express buses would serve 10 times the daily riders for 1% of the construction cost,” said Vincent Puhakka, member of Scarborough Transit Action.
“This doesn’t even include the fact that it will cost three times more to run the Subway every year compared to the bus expansion. The complete lack of evidence based transit planning, as promised by Mayor Tory, is quite shocking really. This is a massively ineffective use of public funds,” he said.
In addition to the cost differences, the bus expansion would provide significantly more time savings for more people in a wider variety of neighbourhoods, including a number of priority neighbourhoods. All of which would roll out seven years sooner than the projected completion of the Scarborough Subway Extension.
“When we are looking at the Scarborough Subway Extension attracting an increase in ridership that is ten times less than the bus expansion, for such a cost difference, it is hard to see why there is any debate,” said Moya Beall, member of Scarborough Transit Action.
“And to top it all off, we are going to wait at least nine more years for a subway that makes most trips longer, when buses can provide an impact that is so much larger much sooner. Most importantly, the travel time improvements are distributed throughout the city, especially to those neighbourhoods where riders are most in need of all day improvements, instead of a commuter subway for one specific area,” she said.
TTCriders and Scarborough Transit Action want City Council to immediately improve service on all routes across the city, fund the express bus network, and build the 27 stop LRT network instead of the one-stop Scarborough Subway Extension.