Councillor Josh Matlow

Updated Scarborough rapid transit fact sheet



For ease of reading, I have included a plain-text version of the updated fact sheet below. You can also download it as a print-ready PDF file.


Scarborough Rapid Transit Fact Sheet

This week, options for rapid transit in Scarborough will once again be debated at city hall.


Council will be faced with a very important decision. It can either reaffirm its support for the Metrolinx Master Agreement that will deliver a fully-funded, planned and ready-to-go, traffic-separated, 7-stop rapid transit LRT line for Scarborough or spend more than $900 million on a 3-stop subway extension- serving fewer Scarborough residents for more money.


On October 4, 2013, I received a response to my letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford dated September 30, 2013 requesting additional information on the proposed McCowan Corridor subway extension. Mr. Byford provided some additional cost implications outlined below. Of particular concern, his letter noted that detailed planning work has not been undertaken for the McCowan Corridor extension.


I understand that it is usual practice to perform detailed planning work only after approval for a project is given. However, this is not a standard transit planning exercise. If Council gives Staff permission to move forward studying the subway extension, the only alternative – the fully-funded, traffic-separated, shovel-ready Scarborough LRT – will be dead. And in four years, if the new Environmental Assessment confirms that the Relief Subway is, in fact, a prerequisite for the McCowan Corridor extension (as the City Manager suggests) or it is determined that it is indeed more of a regional route that Toronto taxpayers should not be funding alone, or the technical studies find it is exorbitantly expensive due to geological features, Scarborough residents will be left on the bus. We’ll have spent several years studying it and hundreds of millions of dollars keeping the current RT standing with nothing to show for it. Given the risks associated with the decision before Council, the TTC’s rationale underpinning the McCowan Corridor extension is inadequate.


Priorities such as the Relief Subway Line and the entire Big Move initiative, along with other City priorities such as affordable housing, could be jeopardized if we increase our debt and increase taxes for an unnecessary transit project.


Please find below the updated Scarborough Rapid Transit fact sheet:


SRT Stats

  • The new LRT will be in a completely grade-separated right-of-way. No traffic lights. No cross streets. Widely spaced stations.
  • At an average of 36km per hour It will run faster than the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines which average 32km per hour
  • The line will have a capacity to carry 16,000 passengers per hour.
  • It is anticipated that by 2031 the LRT would carry 8,000 passengers per hour leaving it enough capacity to serve the area for many decades to come- the extra capacity offered by a subway won’t come close to being needed
  • The LRT would be over two kilometres longer than the subway, have four more stations and is within walking distance to over 20,000 more people- with the possibility to extend the line into Malvern (Centennial College students would not have a stop if the SRT is converted to a subway rather than an LRT)

Cost Concerns

  • The subway will cost $900 million more in capital costs than the fully funded LRT requiring a 1.6% tax increase
  • The capital cost does not factor in:
  • $30 – 40 million per year in operation and maintenance costs which would be borne by Metrolinx if Council opts for the LRT. That alone is equal to a 1.25 – 1.6% property tax increase
  • Cancellation of Bombadier contract – cost unknown
  • Assume risk of construction cost overruns which would be borne by Metrolinx if Council opts for the LRT
  • Assume risk of increased cost of borrowing if interest rates rise which would be borne by Metrolinx if Council opts for the LRT
  • Property acquisition
  • New engineering/design work

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