Category Archives for "Urban Transit"

Jun 05

Update on Federal Funding Commitments for Greater Toronto and Hamilton Transit

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

With an upcoming federal election in October, Transport Action Ontario has reviewed federal funding support for transit capital maintenance and expansion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). No matter how the numbers are displayed, the current federal commitment is very low versus a target of 33% or more.

The federal government must up its game! And the provincial and federal governments need to cooperate to deliver the funds!

Our full report can be viewed here. If the link does not work properly, contact us and we will send you the complete 5-page report:

Jun 02

GO Expansion Project moves to next phase of procurement

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario has long supported the GO Expansion project (formerly Regional Express Rail). In fact, our 2013 report “Regional Rapid Rail” was an important precursor to the provincial project announced in 2014. As readers recall, GO Expansion proposes 15-minute all-day two-way service on core parts of 5 GO train corridors. The province has committed $13.5B for capital construction.  

The province has now taken a major step towards procurement of this massive project. The procurement of this project has proceeded in 3 stages:

  • A number of specific track, station and grade separation projects went to market in 2017/2018.  Some of these, such as work on the Stouffville corridor, are under construction.  Others are still in the tender process, or may be woven into the “On-Corridor” package described below.
  • A second procurement package was released in early 2018 to construct 12 new stations, including 6 for Toronto’s Smart Track.  However, in November, the province withdrew the tender and announced it would pursue a new Transit Oriented Development  approach that would have the private sector fund station construction in exchange for development rights.  Since then, two new stations (Mimico and Woodbine) have been announced under this approach.
  • The third tender package is called “GO Rail Expansion On-Corridor Works”.  Interestingly, it uses outcome based specifications where the winner is required  to meet key performance specs such as x trains per day between points A and B, trip times, on-time performance, etc. It is up to the proponent to figure out how to achieve this most cost-effectively – whether to electrify or not, construct new track or not, use other innovations.  As with all large transit contracts in Ontario, it is a Public Private Partnership (P3), where the winning bidder is responsible for  Design-Build-Partial Finance- 30 years of Operation- 30 years of Maintenance.  Media estimates of contract value is $18B ($9B capital + $9B op/main).   On May 30, the province announced the 4 qualifying teams and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP). 

Another interesting aspect of this “On-Corridor” tender is that the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB)  will finance up to $2B of the contract, only its second transit deal in Canada.

The release of the RFP and the CIB financing for the “On-Corridor” project  are good news, as they signify solid government commitment to this massive and vitally important project.

May 13

On-Demand Transit: Solving for the last mile

By Transport Action Ontario | Urban Transit

Good transit that everyone can use builds strong and inclusive communities, and connects people with inter-city rail and bus services, but only a few cities in Canada can claim to offer an adequate service. Smaller cities, suburbs, and rural communities are almost universally underserved, and many municipalities are starting to ask whether new technology and new service models can close this gap.

In the last two years, there have been many on-demand dynamic transit pilot projects in North America, including at least four in Ontario:

  • Milton – one year pilot moving passengers to from GO station
  • Innisfil – subsidizing Uber in lieu of conventional transit
  • Aurora – ongoing pilot from home to/from GO station during peak periods
  • Belleville – late night on-demand service to/from any bus stop in the City

Many dynamic transit pilot projects across North America have been dogged by high costs and low passenger numbers. Belleville has avoided this, serving 300% more passengers each night in just six months, and improving cost recovery dramatically.

Therefore, we invited Jeremy Eves from Pantonium, the Toronto software company behind this success, to speak at our Ontario AGM on May 4th, to share with us how they did it, and how this could be replicated by other communities.

You can watch the whole presentation online, and share it with your municipal leaders:

Service providers mentioned in the presentation include:

Note: This is the first time we’ve done a YouTube video. With the help of volunteers to do the recording and editing, we’re hoping to use this to bring more of the meetings we hold to all our members across the country. Can you help us with recording or editing? Let us know.

Apr 24

Transport Action Ontario – Annual General Meeting and Public Presentation – May 4 – Toronto

By Transport Action Ontario | Events , Latest News , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario’s annual general meeting will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 11:00 am at St. Paul’s Bloor Street, 227 Bloor St. E, Toronto.    There will be a review of 2018 performance and election of the executive and board of directors for 2019. TAO members can vote in person or by proxy. Non-members are welcome to attend. Our organization is always looking for new members to join our board of directors. If you have a passion for public transportation and want to make a difference, contact us at ontario@transportaction.ca.

Following the Annual General Meeting, we will be hosting an afternoon public presentation on last mile transit solutions for Ontario. All members of the public are invited.

Location:  As above, St Paul’s Bloor Street.   Time:  2:00 pm

Our guest speaker is Jeremy Eves – Head of Transit, Pantonium Inc.

Last-mile transit in smaller cities and rural areas is a vital service for residents, supporting job retention, access to healthcare, education, and community inclusiveness. It is also a crucial piece of the puzzle for longer distance trips by rail and bus. In the last two years, there have been numerous pilot projects and new initiatives in cities and towns across Ontario. These include:

• Milton – one year on-demand pilot moving passengers to/from the GO station (2015-2016). Very positive passenger feedback. Cost-competitive with conventional transit.
• Innisfil – subsidized Uber in lieu of conventional transit services within the community
• Aurora – ongoing pilot on-demand service from home to/from the GO station, during peak hours.
• Belleville – late night on-demand service to/from any bus stop in the city, replacing fixed-route late night bus.

Pantonium is the technology supplier for the Belleville project. To date, the test has been very successful, as late night transit ridership has doubled. Their system is now being evaluated by other communities including North Bay and Chatham-Kent.

Pantonium is a leader in passenger transportation optimization, supporting public transit, education, and non-emergency medical agencies looking for solutions to move people more efficiently. Their On-Demand Transit (ODT) autonomous dispatch platform solves the problem of route design in low density and rural areas by linking rider demand with the right vehicle at the right time, but with the economics expected in mass transit.

Apr 07

Cost-Effective Surface Subway for Scarborough – “Smart Spur”

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Press Releases and Open Letters , Urban Transit

As many readers will know, transit planning in Toronto took a turn in March with the Province releasing two letters on its priority transit expansion projects.  This included revising the one-stop Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) to three stops.  Clearly this change in direction will require study, causing impacts to schedule and cost.

Transport Action Ontario has long expressed concerns about the SSE.  We have long advocated that the Province study “Smart Spur”, a new electrified GO line branching east from the existing GO Stouffville corridor, as a cost-effective alternative with many advantages.

As studies on the SSE are apparently being reopened, we took the opportunity to remind the Province of the Smart Spur alternative. 

Our open letter of April 3, 2019 can be viewed here TAO-SmartSpur2019-04

Smart Spur was originally proposed in our 2013 report on Regional Express Rail  

 

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