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Letter to Toronto's Chief Planner Re: Request for Information to Properly Assess Future Transit Ridership Figures

Jennifer Keesmaat

Chief Planner

City Hall, 12th Floor E

100 Queen Street West

Toronto, ON

M5H 2N2

 

 

 

September 18, 2015

 

 

Dear Ms. Keesmaat,

 

 

Re: Request for Information to Properly Assess Future Transit Ridership Figures

 

According to your memo addressed to the Mayor and Council dated September 15, 2015, the Planning department will be leading a second round of public consultations in November regarding the Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE), SmartTrack, and the Relief Subway Line. I am writing you in advance of these meetings to request that Toronto residents and Council are provided with accurate, reliable information with which to assess these transit projects.

 

My concern stems from the SSE ridership numbers provided by Staff in 2013. A January 21, 2013 TTC report stated that ridership on the SSE would be "upwards" of 9,500 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) during peak hour. Just six months later, however, Staff produced a range of 9,500 – 14,000 pphpd during peak periods.

 

Toronto residents and Council were not provided with any of the data or inputs used to derive this new figure, just a fairly vague justification that didn’t even fill a page in the report. I wrote a public letter asking for the data and inputs used by Staff, prior to Council debating the SSE again in October 2013; I have yet to receive this basic information that Council should have been provided with before making a multi-billion dollar decision that will affect the future of transit in Toronto.

 

You have since referred to the analysis that produced the 14,000 figure as “problematic”. While a regrettable decision has already been made based on this "problematic" information, it is a positive step forward that Staff are once again using the 9,500 figure developed by the TTC in the Terms of Reference for the SSE environmental assessment.

 

To ensure that Toronto residents and Council are able to make informed decisions, please make the following information publically available to accompany any ridership figures presented for the SSE, SmartTrack, and the Relief Subway Line:

 

  • All inputs, data and assumptions used to determine ridership figures
    • eg. Does the model say that 100 people are going to connect to a transit line via a specific bus? 50 people are going to walk to a station at a certain time? Please include all inputs of this type in your reports.

 

  • Ridership figures expressed in passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) in the peak hour
    • It has been suggested that the new ridership modelling system the City is using will assess ridership on a 24-hour basis. While a 24-hour assessment of ridership will be helpful to evaluate the utility of a line, peak hour figures are also needed to assess ridership in relation to capacity.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Councillor Josh Matlow

Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 – St. Paul's

www.joshmatlow.ca

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