With city council's decision to appoint a special expert panel to examine the case for rapid transit expansion on Sheppard east of Don Mills (its report due at the end of March) the time has come for a full cost-accounting of the Sheppard operation. For example:
What is the annual operating cost of a typical subway station?
What is the construction cost of a typical subway station?
How many kilometres of LRT could we get for the price of one subway station?
What are the projected passenger volumes under different growth scenarios along that corridor?
What are the projected operating deficits of subway versus light rail?
For people who live or work in the east end of Scarborough (such as my husband), these are not idle questions. The most alarming prospect is that TTC staff now feel in danger of losing their jobs if they give factual, professional answers to these questions.
Joell Vanderwagen is an urban planner who specializes in public education about transit systems and transit-supportive planning.