What commuters think about LRT

Will having a private operator make difference for riders?

The announcement by Metrolinx that the Eglinton Crosstown LRT would be operated and maintained by a private company rather than the TTC caused a stir among midtown politicians.

To see if their concern was echoed by transit users, the Town Crier took to the street near Eglinton station in late September, so riders could have their say.

Matt Regan:
“I wonder how it will integrate with the rest of the TTC. Personally, I think I would like Toronto’s transit system to be one integrated network, not a series of competing enterprises. For me, it seems odd that you would have a separate entity running what is still effectively part of what I would think is the same transit grid.

“I seem to recall that there was a fair bit of provincial funding in that as well. I’m wondering why something that has taxpayer support already is then being turned over to be run by a private enterprise, and to what extent is public money backing a private corporation.

“If they go over budget and it costs them more than they thought it would, I assume they will try to recoup that through their fares. So even still, at the end of the day, the people that use it will pay for it, whether it’s through taxes or through fares.”

David Jarvis
“I feel like maybe they need a little more communication for guys like me [from Burlington], because I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t even realize it was coming.

“If it’s the same token and the service is comparable, then I guess that’s okay. But I’d probably want to hear a bit more about it.”

Liz Cashman:
“I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If they can do it for the right budget, then I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. There’s room for two transport companies in a city this size. It happens in Europe. If they want to make it work, they can. If they want to make it not work, they can do that too.”

Anthony Ntanas:
“It depends how the rollout’s going to be in terms of fares and connectivity to it, and if there’s any differences in pricing. And when it’s privatized, obviously you don’t really know how the fares are going to be controlled, so that’s a bit of a concern. I’d really have to see the whole plan before I can get a good opinion on it.

“At the end of the day, the bottom line is making sure that passengers are able to benefit from what’s being put out there. But I’m a little disappointed that the TTC isn’t gearing this up, considering they had all these plans for getting it done on a very ambitious schedule. And now the end of it all is another company’s coming in to do it. So it’s a little disappointing for the TTC, but it is what it is.”

Brooke Richardson:
“I am not a big fan of that at all. I would much prefer that it be publicly owned and operated so that there’s more public accountability. And I think that when we leave things to the private sector, it might start at the same price, but it might get more expensive, and I just don’t think the public has any say in what happens. I think that things like transportation are basic services that citizens should have a right to use.”

Mary Williamson:
“I’m trying to decide, to be perfectly honest. I liked Metrolinx’s plans in the beginning. I’m not opposed, as long as they can figure out how you transfer from one system to another. Other cities seem to have managed to do that. My biggest concern, to be honest, is interchange [at Yonge and Eglinton].”

Andrew Lofft:
“I’m very glad that the line is being built, but I’m anxious to make sure that it gets integrated with the TTC so that it’s seamless and there aren’t separate fares. I don’t have a car. I travel along Eglinton a lot. It’s a long way away, but I’m looking forward to it coming.”

Seskia Wheeler:
“I’m not happy about that. I think public transport in general should be a municipal government responsibility.”

Are you concerned about the plan to have a private company operate the Eglinton Crosstown LRT? If so let the Town Crier know by voting in our latest poll.

About this article:

By: Lori Connor
Posted: Oct 1 2012 2:48 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto