Imagine transportation that’s so extensive, you can get anywhere in Toronto easily. Not just because it’s straightforward, but with minimal barriers to access. A system with few delays, that’s also fast and affordable. Not only at the fare box, but also doesn’t hit taxpayers with an additional cost.
Transportation you aren’t using because you have a tight budget, but because it’s just a better way to travel. One where blue and white collared employees are as likely to be seen as students or millionaires. One with sustainable revenues, that doesn’t require tapping your income or property taxes for upgrades.
It’s not a pipe dream. It’s how transportation is done in the best managed cities in the world. Toronto’s system is broken and becoming less viable by the day. Let’s fix it.
- Diversified revenues. Toronto’s transit system funding isn’t sustainable, and we can’t keep raising taxes to pay for it.
- A collaborative and unified transportation department. Toronto’s fractured system leaves various departments competing for resources. Let’s design a system where all transportation methods work together.
- Leveraging data to reduce your commute. Toronto spends more time commuting than any other North American city. This impacts productivity and your quality of life.
- An Open Source City that builds transit. Identifying bottlenecks in traffic? Unsafe intersections for cyclists or pedestrians? We’ll be able to see them and fix them. Maybe we can even take it further and lead in transit innovation.
Toronto has built one of the most impressive transit systems in North America, but it’s hurting. Falling ticket revenues have created a budget crunch, dependent on Provincial and Federal funding. It’s a short-term solution not unlike paying your mortgage with a credit card. It works, but it’s probably the worst way to do it. We need to keep the system growing, with more extensive distribution and incentives.
At the same time we can’t just raise fare prices. Other transportation services now provide better service at a comparable cost. Have you ever been traveling with friends and noticed you can get an Uber or Lyft for $8 while the TTC is $6.50 for two? That’s just marginally cheaper per person, and there’s less delay risk. We need to provide a higher quality service that’s much more affordable. We need a self-funded and sustainable system, not entirely dependent on fares and taxes.
Transportation also currently competes with each other for resources. Do you drive to work? Do you take the subway? Maybe you cycle using one of the City’s rentals? Park, take the subway, and cycle all together for one commute? That’s three systems to pay, and maintain.
Toronto also happens to spend the most time commuting in North America. It doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s fix it.
Transit is a complex solution that deserves a deep dive into various areas. Over the coming weeks we hope to collect more of your feedback to find out what issues you see. However, let’s whet your appetite with some of the solutions to drive down costs and build out a more robust transit system.
We need to make the TTC’s funding more resilient so we can invest and expand the system, while driving down costs. Ultimately the goal should be to drive fares as close to $0, without dumping the cost on taxpayers. That’s why we want the TTC to team up with our City-owned development company. No, we don’t want to sell the land off — as the City grows we’ll need it even more. We need recurring and sustainable revenue streams.
Our plan involves the TTC leveraging its unused land and turning it into revenue. We’ll build City-owned shopping malls, offices, and rental housing using our City-owned housing corp. They’ll be over transit, under transit, and in underused areas. Rather than give properties away for a song, we need to think of them as essential tools as Toronto grows. We can turn them into resources, and revenues. We can empower communities, we just need to rethink infrastructure.
Sustainable revenue, employment, and affordable housing? We know, it sounds like impossible witchcraft, but this idea isn’t all that far-fetched. To come up with it, we looked at the gold standard for transit — Japan. One operator in Tokyo generates up to 30% of its revenue outside of fares, subsidizing unprofitable but necessary routes. Heck, their system even generates a profit. We’re building on that knowledge, and going to use those “profits” to bring down the cost of your fares and taxes.
One Municipal Transit System
Transit needs to be fast, cheap, and frictionless. We want Toronto to be a place where you consider all methods of transportation. To do that we need to consider transit as one giant system that doesn’t compete for resources. That’s why we want to bring the system under one collaborative team. TTC, parking, cycling, sidewalks, and even roads. By bringing the teams together, we can create a universal transportation experience. One system to rule them all. (Don’t worry, that’s the only Tolkien reference… in this plan… in its current iteration.)
Sound radical? It’s not. If you’ve ever been to London, England, you might have noticed how easy it is to get around the City and even boroughs. That’s because of a single-managed system under Transport For London. By having all systems under one roof, they can effectively plan, maintain, and deliver cost effective transportation for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you walk, cycle, drive, or take the train — we need a system that works for you.
Have you ever seen a road ripped up for one service, only to be ripped up again for another a few weeks later? This reduces that issue, and cost as well. It’s a key part of our infrastructure Toronto Plan. Bonus: reducing the friction in planning and maintenance also helps us get new housing builds approved faster. Can I get a, “heck yeah?”
The current system is a mess that doesn’t deliver a quality experience. Let’s give these teams the resources they need while driving down the cost.
This plan works together with our diversification of revenues, synchronized maintenance, and Open Source City plans.
Leveraging Data To Reduce Your Commute Time
Toronto spends the most time commuting in the world. Seriously, it’s not just you — it’s an issue we’re all facing. We’ve all lived on that route where we dread having to make a connection, or a bus never comes. It’s not your transit operator’s fault, it’s due to our infrastructure. Single-points of failure that wipe out service for hours, sometimes days. It’s like we’re using a system designed by Rogers. Let’s fix it.
Our plan to reduce your commute time involves a four point strategy:
- Our Open Sourced City plan to build software to identify bottlenecks. Once we can zero in on the biggest problems, we can target resources to get you moving.
- Our synchronized transportation strategy will design intelligent flows. Buses, trains, cycling, cars, and pedestrian traffic — all optimized. Sorry, we can’t do anything about the person driving backwards in the wrong lane of traffic, who seems to manage to work their way into everyone’s commute.
- Our city-owned real estate company will create affordable housing and employment in local communities. We’ll build thriving communities for people to live and work, reducing transportation needs.
- Our innovative infrastructure plan will better target and minimize maintenance. This will reduce persistent construction delays which are bad for local businesses.
By collaborating with other cities, we’ll also learn a lot about what works. We can also learn what doesn’t and eliminate it.
We firmly believe in frictionless government, let’s remove your day-to-day hurdles. Fewer delays means more productivity and happier residents. It’s a win-win.