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SmartTrack (Proposed)

sixrings

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I really don't care what we call the official centre. It's the empasis on SCC, at the expense of other nodes in Scabeough that is silly. If we relaxed development rules at Kennedy Eglinton five years ago, we could be well on our way to having some nice density there. Eglinton Crosstown should be the gateway to Downtown Scarborough
Well based on all the other development on Eglinton I guess our dreams will ultimately be met. Maybe it's for the best as what is likely to happen is developers will see the obvious. Market it as a transit utopia and will have the rest of Eglinton to use as a precedent to build even bigger here.
 

mdrejhon

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I thought one of the key advantages of ST over RER was that ST was going to be a TTC fare. For the RER section that was part of ST, is that still the case? Will someone still be able to, for example, take RER from Weston or Oriole to downtown with a TTC fare like they were going to be able to do under ST?

We're rapidly hurtling towards GO = TTC fare on the 416 section of GO already:
(1) Price of GO within 416 has fallen to $3.70
(2) Transfers between GO and TTC has a $1.50 discount
(3) That discounted transfer works for the new TTC 2 hour timed transfer

You can combine TTC+GO combined with an unlimited 2 hour TTC timed transfer for grand total price of less than 2 TTC fares grand totalled (GO+TTC). So apparently, it's only a small leap away to free transfers and GO=TTC fare in 416. Even inflation through 2020-2029 would easily raise TTC to $3.70, and one more fare integration adjustment to increase the $1.50 discount to a full discount (eventually). It would be a very small government promise sometime in the mid 2020s, comparatively speaking.

I'm well affected by this. I have to use GO to enter Toronto, and immediately transfer to TTC to do my errands. I used to pay $6.50 extra (two TTC fares) but now pay only $1.75 extra (half a TTC fare) because of the combination of (2) and (3) -- such as hopping off GO, transferring to TTC, visiting a Toronto doctor, and then hopping back onto the TTC to visit a different destination in the reverse direction after. I appreciate the convenience of fare integration and the simplification of knowing I have unlimited TTC rides (in any haphazard hopscotch direction) for one flat fee for 2 hours between first TTC tap thru last TTC tap. Even if that TTC tap is discounted by having ridden GO right beforehand, or right afterwards!

Obviously, in addition to this, this is clearly another element of plausible deniability or some inspirational influence (choose your preferred term) from the SmartTrack TTC Fare initiative.

The PC government, threatened to roll parts of this back, but they have not so far, and at this juncture, probably won’t. Given their (now postponed) threat to upload the subway, making TTC subways a part of Metrolinx for chrissakes, gives evidence to their defacto tolerance of GO+TTC fare integration. The horse is out of the barn, too late to close the barn door of TTC+GO fare integration — we are already almost 75% of the way according to fares charged to my Presto Card.

Prediction #1: Within the 416 fare zone, GO+TTC will be equal fare and free timed transfers between GO+TTC by ~2029
Prediction #2: Due to metro frequencies & complete 416 fare integration, 416 section of GO train network will be overlaid on all TTC subway maps at all TTC subway trains and stations by ~2029

(all sections, not just the SmartTrack section)

Definition: 2029 = my guesstimate of the completion of baseline GO electrification.
 
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mdrejhon

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I've never seen that graphic before, that's really informative. I've always thought that Smarttrack would just get rolled into the larger GO expansion/RER plan since it was basically the same thing. It never made any sense to add yet another brand and fare system to the city, especially on the same tracks as a whole other line.
Graphic comes from page 44 of Metrolinx GO Expansion Business Plan, if you want to look-see.

I've also always predicted SmartTrack and GO RER/Expansion was essentially the same thing. It looks this way....

Alas, for better or for worse, Tory has done a better job branding GO RER by slapping the "SmartTrack" label on it. It's a bit controversial point of view but it kinds of puts the concept of a GO train that's upgraded to subway-convenience, with metro frequencies, level boarding, and TTC fare. Exactly what electrified GO Expansion (formerly "GO RER") is all about.

Feels unfair how things are politicized with credit-seeking publicity, but the bottom line: A GO train network that feels as convenient as a subway.

That's the most important thing, semantics, schemantics, "SmartTrack" peel-off sticker or not: Toronto needs this upgraded GO train network, whatever its branding will be.
 
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MisterF

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I hope so. Another reason I'm skeptical of claims that GO RER will be a game changer is GO's tiny market share. If I understood correctly the business case PDF posted above, GO has 40% market share for GTHA to downtown commutes. These comprise 4% of all AM peak demand. That means GO rail serves just 1.6% of all AM peak travel demand in the GTHA. The largest peak markets are 905 to 905 and 416 to 416 commutes. Sure, the trains are packed and I welcome better service; but it won't make any difference for most people.
Every mode of transit has a tiny modal share if you look at it for all trips GTHA-wide. Transit is never going to capture the bulk of trips from suburb to suburb no matter what we do. More relevant is the fact that Metrolinx expects GO's ridership to close to double as a result of RER. While 127 million annual riders is a far cry from the subway, it's still a major part of the rapid transit mix. I'd say that number is conservative to say the least. When it's fully integrated into the city's rapid transit system, costing the same as the subway and appearing on rapid transit maps, people are going to find that it's often the best way to get where they're going. A hypothetical trip from Kennedy to the new business district at East Harbour would take around half an hour by subway, and ~15 minutes on the GO. If the GO train costs the same as the subway and trains leave every 7.5 minutes, pretty much anyone making that trip is going to take the faster train. There are dozens of hypothetical routes just like this where GO will be the default option.

I really don't know where the resistance and skepticism to converting commuter lines to rapid transit comes from. It's commonplace all over the world.

I admire your faith in the Government of Ontario. If fare integration ever happens, I totally expect the next PC government to roll it back
I'm not sure why a PC government would roll it back. It's not like an integrated fare system and some form of fare by distance is inherently more expensive than our current system. It's been done in cities all over the world and even in Canada. There's no reason why it couldn't be done here.

I really don't care what we call the official centre. It's the empasis on SCC, at the expense of other nodes in Scabeough that is silly. If we relaxed development rules at Kennedy Eglinton five years ago, we could be well on our way to having some nice density there. Eglinton Crosstown should be the gateway to Downtown Scarborough
I agree, I'm just saying that there are multiple nodes all over Scarborough and the GTA as a whole. Others are developing, like the Agincourt Mall development I mentioned earlier. 4300 units, buildings as high as 43 storeys, and approved unanimously by the City. I'd say that qualifies as other nodes not being held back.
 

robmausser

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We're rapidly hurtling towards GO = TTC fare on the 416 section of GO already:
(1) Price of GO within 416 has fallen to $3.70
(2) Transfers between GO and TTC has a $1.50 discount
(3) That discounted transfer works for the new TTC 2 hour timed transfer

You can combine TTC+GO combined with an unlimited 2 hour TTC timed transfer for grand total price of less than 2 TTC fares grand totalled (GO+TTC). So apparently, it's only a small leap away to free transfers and GO=TTC fare in 416. Even inflation through 2020-2029 would easily raise TTC to $3.70, and one more fare integration adjustment to increase the $1.50 discount to a full discount (eventually). It would be a very small government promise sometime in the mid 2020s, comparatively speaking.

I'm well affected by this. I have to use GO to enter Toronto, and immediately transfer to TTC to do my errands. I used to pay $6.50 extra (two TTC fares) but now pay only $1.75 extra (half a TTC fare) because of the combination of (2) and (3) -- such as hopping off GO, transferring to TTC, visiting a Toronto doctor, and then hopping back onto the TTC to visit a different destination in the reverse direction after. I appreciate the convenience of fare integration and the simplification of knowing I have unlimited TTC rides (in any haphazard hopscotch direction) for one flat fee for 2 hours between first TTC tap thru last TTC tap. Even if that TTC tap is discounted by having ridden GO right beforehand, or right afterwards!

Obviously, in addition to this, this is clearly another element of plausible deniability or some inspirational influence (choose your preferred term) from the SmartTrack TTC Fare initiative.

The PC government, threatened to roll parts of this back, but they have not so far, and at this juncture, probably won’t. Given their (now postponed) threat to upload the subway, making TTC subways a part of Metrolinx for chrissakes, gives evidence to their defacto tolerance of GO+TTC fare integration. The horse is out of the barn, too late to close the barn door of TTC+GO fare integration — we are already almost 75% of the way according to fares charged to my Presto Card.

Prediction #1: Within the 416 fare zone, GO+TTC will be equal fare and free timed transfers between GO+TTC by ~2029
Prediction #2: Due to metro frequencies & complete 416 fare integration, 416 section of GO train network will be overlaid on all TTC subway maps at all TTC subway trains and stations by ~2029

(all sections, not just the SmartTrack section)

Definition: 2029 = my guesstimate of the completion of baseline GO electrification.

Did the PC's renege on their cancelling the co-fare? Last I heard the co-fare between GO and TTC was killed.
 

sixrings

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Every mode of transit has a tiny modal share if you look at it for all trips GTHA-wide. Transit is never going to capture the bulk of trips from suburb to suburb no matter what we do. More relevant is the fact that Metrolinx expects GO's ridership to close to double as a result of RER. While 127 million annual riders is a far cry from the subway, it's still a major part of the rapid transit mix. I'd say that number is conservative to say the least. When it's fully integrated into the city's rapid transit system, costing the same as the subway and appearing on rapid transit maps, people are going to find that it's often the best way to get where they're going. A hypothetical trip from Kennedy to the new business district at East Harbour would take around half an hour by subway, and ~15 minutes on the GO. If the GO train costs the same as the subway and trains leave every 7.5 minutes, pretty much anyone making that trip is going to take the faster train. There are dozens of hypothetical routes just like this where GO will be the default option.

I really don't know where the resistance and skepticism to converting commuter lines to rapid transit comes from. It's commonplace all over the world.


I'm not sure why a PC government would roll it back. It's not like an integrated fare system and some form of fare by distance is inherently more expensive than our current system. It's been done in cities all over the world and even in Canada. There's no reason why it couldn't be done here.


I agree, I'm just saying that there are multiple nodes all over Scarborough and the GTA as a whole. Others are developing, like the Agincourt Mall development I mentioned earlier. 4300 units, buildings as high as 43 storeys, and approved unanimously by the City. I'd say that qualifies as other nodes not being held back.
I think all nodes should get a subway so no one feels left out. After all ignoring Scarborough is what got us in this mess. Better to just build subways to every node vs waste 15 years debating mistakes like this time in the future. Subways for everyone.
 

Neutrino

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@MisterF who said anything about resistant or skeptical? I support building as much transit as possible. What I'm skeptical of are claims that GO RER will be a game changer. I think the impact will be much more limited. But I completely support building it in full.
 

rbt

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Did the PC's renege on their cancelling the co-fare? Last I heard the co-fare between GO and TTC was killed.

Still expires in March without a new agreement, but I'm expecting an agreement will be reached (TTC will kick in for part). Ford needs it, and might even let TTC out of the Vaughan subway operations subsidy as part of it.

For TTC, the business case is pretty straight forward. GO->TTC transfers at Union are using entirely spare capacity, and TTC->GO transfers at other stations are generally avoiding Yonge/Spadina overcrowding which should slightly increase their ridership.
 

mdrejhon

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Did the PC's renege on their cancelling the co-fare? Last I heard the co-fare between GO and TTC was killed.
Still worked a couple weeks ago.

Still expires in March without a new agreement, but I'm expecting an agreement will be reached (TTC will kick in for part). Ford needs it, and might even let TTC out of the Vaughan subway operations subsidy as part of it.
For TTC, the business case is pretty straight forward. GO->TTC transfers at Union are using entirely spare capacity, and TTC->GO transfers at other stations are generally avoiding Yonge/Spadina overcrowding which should slightly increase their ridership.
It's to both GO+TTC benefit to maintain this for many reasons.

For the loss they're getting from people like me who benefit (a multi TTC trip immediately after GO arrival) -- they're gaining capacity at the dense station nodes that is promptly used up by people who would otherwise not take TTC. Any relief that occurs is refilled by induced demand caused by spare capacity. Ridership goes up for both GO+TTC, more than compensating for the loss caused by fare integration. When Bay Concourse opens, quite a bit more spare capacity also becomes available that they should definitely utilize (fearing the "boondoggle" callout if ridership falls).

Can't have ghost stations (offpeak) sitting around, shall we? Nudge, nudge.
 

Forgotten

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They completely missed the fact that Agincourt Station will be just as good as a subway station in a handful of years. Trains every 7.5 minutes

Still drinking Tory's ScamTrack Koolaid? It's been made clear that's not happening. No surface subway, no TTC fares, not one thing he promised.
 

sixrings

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Its from people on this board who have rarely or never left the city or province.
That's not entirely true. I've left the city, the province, the North American continent several times but lack faith that federal or provincial politicians will do something that benefits Torontonians at the disadvantage of the 905. Historically that's not something that happens.
 

MisterF

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@MisterF who said anything about resistant or skeptical? I support building as much transit as possible. What I'm skeptical of are claims that GO RER will be a game changer. I think the impact will be much more limited. But I completely support building it in full.
Resistant or skeptical to the concept of regional rapid transit on existing rail lines being as successful as Metrolinx's forceasts. Forecasts, which, IMO, are very modest. The systems that GO expansion is modeled after (S-Bahn, RER, Sydney Trains, etc.) tend to have ridership that rivals or even surpasses the ridership of the metro networks in those cities. There's no reason why the same couldn't happen here, especially given how small our subway system is. There's a huge amount of pent up demand that Metrolinx is tapping into.

Still drinking Tory's ScamTrack Koolaid? It's been made clear that's not happening. No surface subway, no TTC fares, not one thing he promised.
No offence but your post is nonsense. GO expansion is happening including frequent all day trains and I just don't see any way that fares won't be integrated between agencies. Hint: integrating fares doesn't necessarily mean the same as current TTC fares.

That's not entirely true. I've left the city, the province, the North American continent several times but lack faith that federal or provincial politicians will do something that benefits Torontonians at the disadvantage of the 905. Historically that's not something that happens.
There's nothing about GO expansion/RER that disadvantages the 905. It will vastly improve travel options for 905ers while also improving transit across Toronto itself. There's no conflict between the two.
 

Neutrino

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Resistant or skeptical to the concept of regional rapid transit on existing rail lines being as successful as Metrolinx's forceasts. Forecasts, which, IMO, are very modest. The systems that GO expansion is modeled after (S-Bahn, RER, Sydney Trains, etc.) tend to have ridership that rivals or even surpasses the ridership of the metro networks in those cities. There's no reason why the same couldn't happen here, especially given how small our subway system is. There's a huge amount of pent up demand that Metrolinx is tapping into.

I think you're missing my point. I don't believe Metrolinx is forecasting that the mode share is expected to change much. It's not just the raw numbers, but the mode share that transit can capture. If GO's ridership exceeds the TTC's, I'll be over the moon.
 

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