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SmartTrack (Proposed)

ssiguy2

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GO RER could easily surpass the TTC subway in ridership. This is quite common throughout the world especially in cities that have smaller and/or newer Metro systems. Paris, Berlin, Osaka, Sao Paulo, Rio, Buenos Aires, Milan, Rome and many others have RER/suburban rail networks that carry more passengers than their Metro systems and in many cities they have only RER-type systems like Aus/NZ, Cape Town.

Suburban/regional rail systems can have Metro-level frequencies and service but are vastly cheaper to build as they are usually just upgrades of pre-existing passenger and/or freight networks. They bring new rapid transit to millions of new potential riders and suburban areas where new Metro costs cannot be justified. In Toronto RER could bring true affordable and rapid transit to 5 million new passengers that have no accessibility to Metro service now.

It will all come down to fare prices, fare integration, and frequency and that will determine whether GO/RER expansion goes down as the best investment the city/province have ever made in transit or whether it was a money pit. RER could become a de-facto 200 km subway extension or what it still is today...a two tiered commuter rail system.
 

44 North

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I don't think anyone's ever called it a money pit, the grade separations alone are a long time coming and worth the investment. And certainly don't think anyone on these boards "resists" GO, which is pretty silly. The skepticism about RER (GO expansion?) and its supposed feats are valid. Because who knows what it will be and forms (plural) it could take. Many keep touting same fare as TTC, similar service as TTC, and that it'll be no different than subways or other s-bahn systems. But maybe it will be different. Hence the skepticism. Somewhat related, but GO was to have a bigger and badder version of RER in the 80s. Then it didn't.

Also whoever's running this "RER" system, be it private on all fronts or gov't, may decide that they *don't* want it priced like TTC and that the two-tier situation is optimal. If it has carpets and bathrooms on board, seems like it could be tiered. Or maybe it could be triple-tiered, like what happened to UPX. GO electric $$$>GO diesel $$>TTC $. Many lesser urban people won't ride a homeless nap train.

Then other issues like parking. Lots are full today, we'll need plenty more. And Union is messy and can turn people off, and it'll be u/c indefinitely. Will 905 connecting routes be as attractive as modeled. We've seen bold modeling assumptions in the past from QP/Metrolinx in the Big Move that didn't come to pass. Long and short skepticism is reasonable all things considered.
 

mdrejhon

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Hybrid. I believe it will be priced like TTC within 416 with free transfers -- while priced like GO outside 416. It won't be priced triple-tier like UPX. Almost guaranteed.

90% confidence in this prediction by 2029 (or whatever GO Expansion in-service date is for the first electrification within 416).

Thanks to the tough learning experience of UPX, Metrolinx's not going to touch that ultra-premium business model with a 10-foot pole for a long time, except partially for a High Speed Train (beyond 2030) -- and even that will have pricing tiers that includes a cheap tier too -- daily frequent-commuter fares will still be probably cheaper than UPX (inflation adjusted) for Kitchener-Union. I paid a spontaneous walk-up fare of ~24 dollars on my last high speed train ride (unassigned seat, missed my train, waited for next train 20 min later, 300kph) that went a multistation distance roughly as big as Hamilton-to-Oshawa. Adjacent pairs were under ten dollars for walk up fares.
 
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sixrings

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Well I believe a pay by distance future is coming with presto. So sure it can be TTC fare. But what if TTC uses fare by distance it won't be the TTC faRe we see today. They may very well not only price by distance but charge extra for express transit like subways or RER/Smarttrack.
 

ssiguy2

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I can see fare by distance via Presto and I certainly think most Torontonians would view it as reasonable. Obviously charging per km is absurd but charging by a few km blocks of travel is doable. A example would be 1 to 10km $2.50, 10 to 20km $3.25, and more than 20km $4 whether by bus, streetcar, LRT, subway or RER within the 416. The standard fare must be 20km because it allows people to get from their homes, no matter where in Toronto they are, to the Union/Bloor &Yonge. It would be the same fare as it is today from people going from Malvern to downtown but crosstown travel {ie Malvern to Lakeshore RER or Humber to River Rouge} would pay the extra fare and those on shorter trip would pay less.

In order for any fare-by-distance system to be politically palatable, it must be presented that your trip to downtown will either go down or at least stay the same.
 

micheal_can

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I can see fare by distance via Presto and I certainly think most Torontonians would view it as reasonable. Obviously charging per km is absurd but charging by a few km blocks of travel is doable. A example would be 1 to 10km $2.50, 10 to 20km $3.25, and more than 20km $4 whether by bus, streetcar, LRT, subway or RER within the 416. The standard fare must be 20km because it allows people to get from their homes, no matter where in Toronto they are, to the Union/Bloor &Yonge. It would be the same fare as it is today from people going from Malvern to downtown but crosstown travel {ie Malvern to Lakeshore RER or Humber to River Rouge} would pay the extra fare and those on shorter trip would pay less.

In order for any fare-by-distance system to be politically palatable, it must be presented that your trip to downtown will either go down or at least stay the same.
Maybe the city should be divided into fare zones.
 

ssiguy2

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Fare zones could be problematic in a city like Toronto. Vancouver has zones {although no longer with buses as all buses are one zone but may require an up zone to take SkyTrain} but Vancouver is geographically very different. There are relatively few bus routes that cross zones and the zones are very identifiably due to most being simply due to water bodies making up most of the zone boundaries. In Toronto there are a plethora of routes that cross the city and so it would be difficult for people to know what zone they are in as well as being a logistical nightmare.

I think a very BASIC fare by distance is the way to go.
 

micheal_can

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Fare zones could be problematic in a city like Toronto. Vancouver has zones {although no longer with buses as all buses are one zone but may require an up zone to take SkyTrain} but Vancouver is geographically very different. There are relatively few bus routes that cross zones and the zones are very identifiably due to most being simply due to water bodies making up most of the zone boundaries. In Toronto there are a plethora of routes that cross the city and so it would be difficult for people to know what zone they are in as well as being a logistical nightmare.

I think a very BASIC fare by distance is the way to go.
Cross over the 401, 427 or DVP, a different fare. See, I just made it simple.
 

junctionist

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SmartTrack should be just another part of the TTC. The fare should be $3.10 with Presto, and the trains should run every 10-15 minutes minimum. There are so many neighbourhoods in the city that lack affordable rapid transit that could get it with SmartTrack.

It's not fair that some neighbourhoods get transit expansion like the Ontario Line, which will probably be fully integrated with the TTC subway network, while others have to make do with so-called "premium" services with high fares. You're not getting a premium ride if it only comes once every 10-15 minutes versus the subway and it doesn't include any free transfers to anything.

If you look at the map of proposed SmartTrack stations, you'll see that many are in low to middle-income neighbourhoods like Mount Dennis or Lawrence Kennedy. People in those neighbourhoods are less likely to pay $7 each way for a TTC local route plus SmartTrack. SmartTrack should have complete fare integration with the TTC to be successful.
 
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micheal_can

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What about fares based on mode? So, for example, the lowest fare is bus, using streetcars/LRT is $0.50 more than bus, Subway/SRT is $1 more than bus, and Smartrack is $1.50 more than bus. The fare is based on the highest mode, so if you end up using all 4 modes, you end up paying $1.50 more than the base fare.
 

Jaye101

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Fare zones within Toronto, no matter how you draw them, would disproportionately effect people in North York, Etobicoke and Scarborough. They travel further distances due to the suburban built form. You can say 'tHaT's YoUr FaUlT fOr LiViNg iN tHe SuBuRbS' but this ignores the reality that most of Toronto's priority neighbourhoods are found in Suburban Toronto.

It can also dissuade users in the outer boroughs from using transit altogether if fares for their usual trips become much more expensive. Suburb to Suburb trips being the most effected by this, the very users we should be incentivizing to use transit.

Furthermore, a disproportionately higher number of trips are made in Old Toronto compared with Suburban Toronto. In many fare zone scenarios these fares would be the most discounted, which I don't believe would be sustainable. This would either result in small cumbersome fare zones within Old Toronto, or force the cost of crossing zones to be so small it begs the question, why do it?

The 416 should be 1 fare zone. I can't see anyone survive politically suggesting otherwise unless imposed onto us by the province.
 

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