Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Light-rail cars for TTC might be the better way

TTC vice-chair/Toronto City councilor Joe Mihevc discusses the possibility that the TTC may replace its streetcars with a light-rail service.

The Globe and Mail: Light-rail cars for TTC might be the better way

I agree with many of the councilor's remarks about the streetcars. Although these vehicles have fans - many of them ardent - one couldn't purposely invent a less effect mode of public transit. The streetcars are costing $50 million extra a year to operate - not including vehicle replacement/deprecation.

The CLRVs and ALRVs require massive amounts of maintenance, yet break down more than twice as often as buses. They are purported to provide higher capacity than lowly 40 foot bus - but in reality are achieving roughly the same capacity (per service hour) at a much higher cost. If there is any one factor pushing Toronto towards bankruptcy, this is surely it.

Says Mihevc:

"If we really want to bring Toronto into the 21st century, to become a transit city, I can't see us keeping the old ones," he said. "I just can't see it."

The TTC's current plan is to refurbish the streetcars (the small ones) at about $1.2 million a pop. Replacing the streetcars with light rail would require about $300 million extra in total. The light rail service would be less costly to operate - and could move passengers at higher speeds.

My question is why this type of analysis was not carried out before last year's battle over the streetcar right-of-way on St. Clair West. If the TTC decides it can't afford the switch, then St. Clair West will be stuck with an ineffective transit system hogging two lanes of traffic. Buses would be better.

No comments: