Metrolinx’s CEO Phil Verster went on the record last week with his claim that uploading the TTC’s subway to the province would be “quite straightforward.” He even likened the takeover of the cornerstone of Toronto’s public transit system to the troubled Eglinton Crosstown LRT scheme.
Torontonians know all too well that when the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is the blueprint for future subway lines, we should all be concerned.
Here are three lessons Torontonians have learned when Metrolinx is at the helm of transit projects in our city:
- Delays and Lawsuits: the private multinational consortium in charge of building the Eglinton Crosstown LRT recently took Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario to court to delay the project’s timeline due to “challenges they encountered.” Crosslinx Transit Solutions, the private consortium, was supposed to finish the project in 2020, but it is now scheduled to be operational in 2021. Given its troubled history, could we see more delays? The three parties recently settled for an unknown amount by raiding the government’s contingency fund – leaving taxpayers in the dark about what they agreed to and how much money they doled out.
- Loss of Control to Private Companies: Metrolinx awarded the Eglinton Crosstown LRT contract to the private consortium, Crosslinx Transit Solutions, which then flipped the contract for maintenance work to Bombardier. With this complicated arrangement, Metrolinx has virtually lost control to two private companies who care foremost about profits. And by having Bombardier responsible for maintenance, Metrolinx has stuck Toronto with a company that cannot even deliver our new streetcars on time.
- Lack of Experience: Metrolinx is a tiny operation compared to the TTC. Looking at the GO network, Metrolinx doesn’t even drive or maintain its own trains – they rely on private companies for this work, including Bombardier. Yes, the same company that both Metrolinx and the TTC have faced in court! The TTC Subway is a complex network that tens of thousands of passengers rely on each day. It demands careful attention from experienced TTC operators and maintenance workers to keep Toronto moving. As the system undergoes major expansions – why take control of it from those who know it best?
Torontonians built, own and paid for our subway. The proposed upload is a first step on the slippery slope towards privatization, higher fares and less service for our public transit system. Sign and share the petition today to stop Doug Ford and keep our subway in Toronto hands.