Metrolinx Woes

Where to start?

Presto – Because of the ‘exclusive’ deal signed with Galen Weston’s Loblaw Inc., Metrolinx will be firing the three dozen small retailers who currently sell TTC tokens and passes in our neighbourhood.  Only the two Shoppers Drug Marts will sell TTC fares (Presto tickets and cards).  It’s a huge reduction in accessibility for our part of the city.  There’s lots else wrong with Presto, and TTC is not happy about it.

UP Express and GO fares – The previous government promised to lower GO fares to $3 within the city.  The new government told Metrolinx to lower them to $3.70.  Metrolinx left UP express fares at the old higher level, and removed the $1.60 discount for transferring to TTC, for those using UP from Weston (or Bloor).  The province gave Metrolinx money to provide the discount for both UP and GO.  I wondered if Metrolinx had returned any of the money, but the folks at the Ministry of Transportation could not answer that question.  I’ve asked Metrolinx but I’m not holding my breath.

Tier 4 Trains – The Minister ordered GO to use Tier 4 diesel trains on our line (now called Kitchener line) once they had bought some.  Tier 4 are about 8 times cleaner than the locomotives now in use.  They now have 8 locomotives.  But they initially advised they would not be using them on Kitchener.  When challenged, they said they’d check again.  Still waiting.

Noise Walls – The original Environmental Assessment demanded walls along the curve at the end of Holley where it meets Parke.  None were installed.  Metrolinx claimed it was too difficult given the size of retaining wall they built.  But their own consultant on the EA warned them to make sure they built walls strong enough to hold the noise walls.  If they didn’t that’s on them, and we deserve something.  In addition, the EA demanded a wall between the tracks and Rosemount south of John.  Nothing installed there.  No excuse given.  And they promised walls behind Brownville and Arthur streets.  Still nothing, though they claim it is due to property negotiations with landowners on those streets.

Government Regulators – It took some doing but I found persons at both the Provincial and Federal Ministries of the Environment who could speak about the now ten year old Environmental Assessment.  Provincially they didn’t think there was anything they could do to force Metrolinx to live up to the promises in the EA.  Federally they were quite shocked, as Metrolinx had recently sworn out a ‘solemn declaration’ claiming they had lived up to all the EA commitments, in order to get the final payments from the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

In addition, the Province relieved Metrolinx of its responsibility to monitor air quality.  Metrolinx claimed that the implementation of the UP Express had not seriously degraded air quality.  Trouble is, it is GO Transit operations if not Tier 4 (see above) that will adversely affect our air quality.

The federal folks are questioning Metrolinx about the noise walls.  We shall see what happens next.

Author: Mike Sullivan

Mike Sullivan has lived in Weston since 1992, with his wife Andrée and at various times their seven children. He has helped with or led community causes – protecting our street names from amalgamation, burying trains, getting a stop, getting bridges and noise walls, promises of electrified trains and lowered fares. He was a Union Representative working for NABET and CEP (now Unifor) dealing with broadcasters and newspapers. He ran for Member of Parliament three times; elected in 2011. While MP he helped deal with street crime by leading the charge to force phone companies to refuse to activate stolen phones. He was critic for persons living with disabilities, helping get disabilities listed as one of the ‘hate crime’ prohibitions. He presently serves as a member of the Board of Weston King Neighbourhood Centre, and of the advocacy group TTC Riders.

6 thoughts on “Metrolinx Woes”

  1. What a disaster this whole Metrolinx scam has been and continues to be. Thank you for all this investigation and I guess that the federal level is the only leverage that exists?

    So many wrongs and what short of throwing bricks can we do? Storm our MP’s office?

  2. Thank you for the update Mike and your continuing work on behalf of the neighbourhood. Greatly appreciated by many of us.

  3. Is anyone surprised Metrolinx didn’t live up to it’s obligations? Because I’m certainly not. Thanks for the update Mike, we really appreciate it. And thanks for keeping on top of things.

  4. Thanks for looking into all of this. Regarding Shopper’s selling Presto cards. I tried buying a card at Shopper’s on Trethewey yesterday. It was 8:37pm and the sales clerk told me they stop selling TTC products at 8:30 even though the store closes at 9. Just wondering how this is fair and whether the TTC and Metrolinx are aware of this.

  5. Perspective from our neighbourhood, somewhat lacking from the Utopian ideal.
    And so, point taken.

    But, how ‘bout from the greater perspective – for those who ride end to end, often?
    What say they about this bit of transit available to them?

    (The times we’ve ridden.. glad to do so.)

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