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Commissioners Mull Scarborough RT's Future

We caught this a little late, but a week ago the Toronto Star ran an article on the possible future of the Scarborough RT. TTC Commissioners are facing up to certain realities about the line that have been noted elsewhere. The SRT is overcrowded, uses orphan technology, and has about ten years to live. The TTC’s Ridership Growth Strategy report estimated that capacity problems on the SRT was costing the system $6 million per year, and it is impossible to replace the cars on the line, much less expand the fleet, without incurring severe, previously unbudgeted costs.

So commissioners have hired consultant Richard Soberman to figure out what to do about the line. Options include:

  • Pay through the nose to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway in place of the SRT.
  • Pay through the nose to convince Bombardier to resurrect the defunct Mark I car design the fleet currently uses.
  • Pay through the nose to modify the SRT to accept the current model of vehicles Bombardier produces for similar lines in Vancouver and Kuala Lampur
  • Replace the current vehicles with modified, rebuilt CLRVs or new LRT vehicles.
  • Replace the SRT with bus rapid transit.

We have already said that our preference would be to spend the money to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway from Kennedy to Scarborough Centre, replacing the SRT and eliminating the inconvenient transfer between the two lines at Kennedy. We do not anticipate that this will happen given the current funding climate and the fact that the province is focused more on extending the subway to York University.

A likelier solution, we believe, will be to rebuild some of the current CLRV streetcar fleet (also due for replacement), so that the vehicles can operate on the line.

It’s not the best solution in that it doesn’t eliminate the transfer at Kennedy, but it’s cost effective, and it will allow the TTC to increase capacity on the line.

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