Metrolinx is looking, through its multistage “Big Move” project, to significantly improve transit ridership in the Toronto/Hamilton area by 2031 by reducing the region’s average commute times and road congestion.
But reaching those goals, according to the 138-page study from a local think tank, will require more GO service and improved integration with the TTC.
Metrolinx should “push more aggressively” to upgrade GO’s “underdeveloped” rail lines into a regional service, according to the report from the Neptis Foundation. The trains should also run all day.
“They have the trains, the trains come in Union Station every morning and most of them go to the yard and do nothing all day,” the report’s author, Michael Schabas, told CBC News.
He says the upgrade could be done for a fraction of the cost of other proposed projects and move as many people.
He says planners must not repeat the mistakes of the last 30 years.
“They've built the Spadina subway, the Sheppard subway, the Scarborough RT and they've all been disappointments,” says Schabas.
“And after each of those were opened, politicians and taxpayers were saying ‘What did we get for our money?’ Not very much.”
The report also recommends combining the Scarborough RT, the proposed light-rail transit and the existing Sheppard subway line into a single light-rail system which, it says, would attract more riders and cost less than either the TTC’s light-rail option or the planned subway extension.
Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig says no one operator can solve the region's transit problems.
“It can't just be a subway based system, it can't be just a be a GO Transit-based system. It has to be both and how they work together,” he says.