When it comes to transit there’s a lot of commotion, positioning and money being floated at the federal level these days. Here’s Kelly McParland’s article on the politics behind it all in his April 17th article in The National Post:
Even last year when approaching an election the sitting Liberals pledged $29 Billion to transit, here’s a news piece from the East Gwillimbury Express: http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/4564056-wynne-liberals-pledge-29b-to-address-provincial-transit/
Given that there is no election at the municipal level for another 3 years there seems to be an absence of enthusiasm. Just read the tone from this May 28th piece:
In it Vaughan Councilor Gino Rosati is quoted:
“Hopefully, we can come up with significant, meaningful and implementable solutions,”
Is that what you want to hear from your elected representative?
No you ass-hat hope doesn’t factor into it.
It’s the job you were elected to do.
Rosati is the same Councilor that was quoted in a Toronto Star article questiong how projects like the York Subway debacle get into huge cost overruns. I commented on that in a previous post here: https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/the-little-engine-that-couldnt/
Andy Manahan dubs the York Subway Saga as a comedy of errors in a recent ReNew Canada piece here: http://renewcanada.net/2015/take-politics-out-of-transit-planning/
In this piece he quotes Richard Soberma:
“Politicians should make decisions on policies, objectives and plans developed by the professionals and then complete their responsibilities by ensuring that the required long term funding is available to both build and operate the planned rapid transit facilities. Leave the details regarding technologies, station locations and alignments to the professional planners and engineers.”
Of course when leaving said details to said professional planners and engineers one still needs or politicians to be glorified ATMs otherwise we will continue to have bewildered councilors like Rosate wondering how cost overruns occur.
Case in point the Presto-Chango affair in which an audit found that the capital budgeting and
forecasting processes that were in place were not well established. This audit pointed out how
significant price changes can occur due to poor planning, inadequate processes for estimating and weak monitoring were all to blame for 330 change orders totalling nearly $55 million, or 28% of the $250 Million construction contract’s original 2006 price.
The fact that budget-to actual results were 2x the norm suggests Metrolinx needs to re-evaluate how contingencies are determined.
They’re only going to do that if they are held accountable by our elected officals.
Now back to York Region Transit who posted a 5 year service plan six months ago, you can find it here: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/36563741/york-region-transit-five-year-service-plan
This plan resulted in a fare increase, the justification of which was that fare changes offset rising
operating costs and support the cost of delivering service to the growing ridership.
Growing ridership eh?
Here are ridership stats from last November:
Then how does one explain negative year to date changes across all months between 2013 and 2014?
All months report decreases except for June, September and October. December is not reported but is a ow ridership month and unlikely to miraculously alter the trend.
Whether it be from the gas tax, federal or provincial grants how York Region is ingesting and then applying funding to transit seems to be woefully ineffectual.
And while they spend their resources distributing crappy knock-off RayBan swag in a poorly conceived attempt to win over riders:
elsewhere in North America transit is making Leaps and bounds.. For example Via, a service which takes people pretty much anywhere in Manhattan in a luxury SUV for $5. Or a luxury bus service in San Fran caled LEAP that connects commuters while sipping fancy coffee and enjoying free WiFi for $6: http://www.wired.com/2015/03/public-transit-can-learn-elitist-private-buses/
While transit in North America is moving forward, those responsible for York Region’s pace seem to content in uttering an “meh” while reaching into all 3 levels of taxation to supplement an already high priced fare structure.
Until you see York Region politicans themselves riding transit riders should expect to continue to breathe in the exhaust of what powers York Region Transit: collective apathy.