Government floats Via Rail cuts, Cette grille tarifaire, a 16-mile commuter rail route, New AMT boss, Transport Action in BC and more in today's Transport Action Hotline.
Maintain TTC capacity or increase gridlock
Transport Action Ontario called on Toronto councillors to keep the city moving smoothly by topping up the TTC 2012 operating budget by $15 million and the capital budget by $90 million. The non-profit group noted ridership has been growing by 2.5 to 3% a year. Transport Action Ontario president Peter Miasek wrote "Congestion costs Toronto's economy billons a year. In a full-cost accounting cutting TTC services loses more money than it saves. For the latest information on the TTC and the Toronto budget check Steve Munro's web site. http://stevemunro.ca/
Will the government cut Via Rail? Transport Action urges caution
"The Canadian government is studying the possibility of slashing services on VIA Rail, or selling part of the railway, Bloomberg News reports today, though officials say there are no immediate plans for privatization. The news agency quotes a briefing note done for Transport Minister Denis Lebel, which it obtained under access-to-information laws, and notes that VIA chalked up an operating loss of more than $260 million in 2010. Revenue slipped and expenses climbed," Michael Babad reported for the Globe and Mail on Jan. 20.
Transport Action leaders say Canada must rebuild its passenger rail service, not cut it. The group argues the country's dependence on the automobile is not sustainable. Transport Action notes roads receive an annual subsidy of $40 billion which excludes all exported costs like policing, hospital care and environmental degradation.
New AMT boss should be an elected official, Transport 2000
"Joël Gauthier, head of the provincial body (AMT) that co-ordinates Montreal regional transit, announced Friday he is resigning, apparently over cost overruns at the Train de l’Est, a new line between Mascouche and Montreal. The news came a day after Treasury Board President Michelle Courchesne chastised Gauthier’s Agence métropolitaine de transport for its handling of the project and said Quebec will change the way the AMT operates," Andy Riga wrote for the Montreal Gazette on Jan. 13, 2012
"Norman Parisien of transit advocacy group Transport 2000 said the new AMT boss should be an elected official, not a political appointee like Gauthier. “Political accountability is needed,” Parisien said. Gauthier’s combative style backfired, he added. “We don’t need a one-man show, someone who wants to control everything.” The AMT’s head should “bring people together, mobilize and get things done,” the Montreal Gazette reported.
"It has long been clear the AMT’s Train de l’Est plan is faulty, Parisien said. It may end up costing as much as the Laval métro extension, he noted. But Laval’s métro stations are used by 60,000 people daily, while the Train de l’Est is expected to carry only 11,000 passengers daily," the Montreal Gazette reported. http://is.gd/AmKMk
Transport Action BC, 2011 in review and other news
Transport Action BC’s last meeting was in Vancouver on Dec. 14, 2011. As a change to make it easier for members from south of the Fraser River to attend our next meeting will be in New Westminster on March 6th, 2012. It will be at the Waves Coffee shop near the New Westminster SkyTrain station. The Winter 2011/2012 newsletter is being produced now. If you have any articles or photos please let us know," Transport Action BC president Matthew Buchanan reports. http://is.gd/Z7LHyn
The top posts on the Transport Action BC blog in 2011 were:
1 Lots of TransLink News March 2011
2 Vancouver Island Railway Study Released August 2010
3 Vancouver Island railway in dilapidated state April 2011
4 Amtrak Cascades trains cancelled by mudslides again March 2011
5 Canada Line P3 "Get Out of Jail Free" Card? May 2011
Halifax looks at a 16-mile commuter rail route
Transport Action's John Pearce reports: " At their regular Tuesday evening council meeting on January 10th , Halifax Regional Municipal council voted to spend $250,000 for a new independent study into commuter rail into Halifax over 16 miles of CN main track from Windsor Jct. (or further out) into downtown Halifax. (pop. 400,000 and growing). $50,000 of the consulting fees would go to CN for company data. The possibility of using rebuilt Rail Diesel Cars for the service was discussed. This rail line follows much of the natural growth pattern of the city along the shores of Bedford Basin."
Transport 2000 Québec, Cette grille tarifaire est nettement à l'avantage de la classe moyenne
« Quand on se compare, on se console. Malgré les hausses de tarifs successives la dernière datant du 1er janvier, Montréal reste une des grandes villes occidentales où il est le moins dispendieux de se déplacer en transport en commun, selon une compilation effectuée par le 24H. Parmi les huit métropoles ayant un réseau de métro retenues aux fins de comparaison, Montréal se classe bonne troisième alors qu'il en coûte 75,50 $ par mois aux usagers pour utiliser les transports collectifs » Sarah Bélisle a écrit pour 24 Heures le 18 janvier.
Néanmoins, « cette grille tarifaire est nettement à l'avantage de la classe moyenne qui travaille à temps plein et qui a un titre mensuel, prévient toutefois Normand Parisien, directeur de Transport 2000. Elle favorise une plus grande exclusion sociale des gens qui ont un statut précaire chez nous puisque le prix à l'unité est parmi les plus élevés. » 24 Heures a rapporté. http://is.gd/Fn2oTU
Chemin de fer Matapédia-Gaspé, Transport 2000 appuie la communaunté Gaspésienne
L’association Transport 2000 Québec appuie formellement les démarches et représentations de la région de la baie des Chaleurs afin de maintenir la voie ferrée Matapédia-Gaspé en bonne condition et ainsi assurer la pérennité du lien Montréal-Gaspé par train de passagers.
Bref, ayant appris la précarité de la voie et la menace qui pèse sur la poursuite du service au-delà du 31 mars, Transport 2000 considère que les gouvernements du Québec et du Canada ne doivent pas faire la sourde oreille à cette possibilité que les Gaspésiens perdent un lien économique et efficace avec la Métropole. Non seulement le train Chaleur assure des échanges économiques et touristiques pour la région, mais contribue également à la dispensation des soins de santé dans la Région. Ce train est donc vital, affirme le président du Conseil monsieur Robert A. Dubé ! Cette intervention est en soutien à la conférence de presse tenue en avant-midi par la CRÉ de la région Gaspésie-les-Îles. L’Association sensibilisera le nouveau député de Bonaventure à cet enjeu historique et la pertinence de ce lien.
Tronçon ferroviaire Matapédia-Gaspé: mobilisation pour le chemin de fer
"François Roussy, président de la Société du chemin de fer de la Gaspésie, souhaite rencontrer le premier ministre du Québec, Jean Charest, et le ministre responsable de Développement économique Canada, Denis Lebel, «dans les plus brefs délais» afin d'assurer le financement de 93,5 millions $ requis au cours des cinq prochaines années pour améliorer l'état du tronçon ferroviaire Matapédia-Gaspé," Gilles Gagné a écrit pour Le Soleil le 18 janvier. http://is.gd/qrV13o
Greg Gormick, Freight integration and faster passenger rail service
"While (Hunter Harrison) has yet to detail which areas he’s targeting, industry experts say CP and Canadian National Railway Co. would benefit from co-operating on the Toronto-Montreal corridor, as well as the Edmonton-Saskatoon-Winnipeg route. On the Toronto-Montreal section, the prospect of freight integration raises the tantalizing possibility of faster passenger rail service," Brent Jang and Jacquie McNish wrote for the Globe and Mail on Jan. 14, 2012.
"Greg Gormick, a transportation policy consultant, said CP and CN have a strong case to make that joint operating agreements are good for the economy while maintaining competition for shippers. “You would get a smoother flow of traffic and lower operating costs, too,” he said," the Globe and Mail reported.
"The Toronto-Montreal corridor holds promise because if CP and CN are able to share tracks, it will speed up freight deliveries and have the bonus of freeing up more room for Via Rail to improve passenger service without huge capital outlays for new Via locomotives, rail cars and new tracks, Mr. Gormick said. While it wouldn’t be “high-speed” service, Via could potentially carry passengers from Toronto to Montreal in three hours, shaving off more than 90 minutes from the current fastest available schedule. To hit the three-hour target, the existing tracks would need to be upgraded and dedicated for Via, instead of shared with CN’s freight operations, he said. On the Edmonton-Saskatoon-Winnipeg route, under an integrated scenario, CP and CN would be able to run on each other’s networks to overcome the inevitable delays that stem from operating over vast stretches of land where there are only single tracks," the Globe and Mail reported. http://is.gd/r4LeHk
Build high-speed rail now, Edmonton and Fort McMurray highway of death
"If we can't visualize Alberta's infrastructure needs in future decades, will we forever be stuck with Highway 63 - the highway of death - between Edmonton and Fort McMurray as the main connection to the oilsands region? One day in the future, Alberta's oilsands will likely be considered a more profitable source of oil than Saudi Arabia. But, because of inaction, the Fort McMurray-Edmonton-Calgary connection just might be left with-out modern high-speed infrastructure," Liz Milanovich wrote in a letter to the editor of the Edmonton Journal published Jan. 18. http://is.gd/M507he
Amtrak is moving forward with an aggressive agenda for 2012
"With demand for intercity passenger rail service on the rise as demonstrated by yet another year of record ridership, Amtrak is moving forward with an aggressive agenda for 2012 and building for the future while strengthening current services. Among the key actions planned in the New Year are building the first units of 70 new electric locomotives and 130 new single-level long-distance cars, the national roll-out of eTicketing to all trains, and the further integration and advancement of Northeast Corridor (NEC) planning efforts to improve the existing Corridor and develop a high-capacity, next-generation high-speed rail (NextGen HSR) system," Amtrak reported on Jan, 12.
Stephen Rees on Jarrett Walker, HumanTransit.org
Vancouver blogger Stephen Rees reported on Jarrett Walker's presentation at Simon Fraser University on Jan. 17. "Jarret has a blog (HumanTransit.org) and makes a living as a consultant in North America and Australia. He is currently resident in Portland OR and has just published a book – also called Human Transit, and the evening was the first stop on his book tour. It is in paperback, costs $35 and is based on his blog."
Rees wrote: “what is the essential task of transit? ... "Jarret’s answer is the provision of “Abundant personal mobility without a personal vehicle over distances that are too far to walk“. He also made the point that abundant transit is efficient transit. While transit delivers pedestrians over distances that are too far to walk, but there are also other concerns which include “coverage services” – transit for places that will never have enough ridership to justify service, but have people who need the service. He also said that “transit leads development” – which I think should have been expressed as a normative rather than a descriptive statement. We too often insist that transit cannot be provided until there are enough people to justify a service (SkyTrain to Coquitlam, or the Scarboro LRT to Malvern) or that having provided a high capacity service we do not wish to see increases of density along the line (Expo Line through East Vancouver, or the Bloor/Danforth subway in Toronto)," Stephen Rees reported. http://is.gd/eHwv8c
Mitt Romney wants to privatize Amtrak trains
"Amtrak left taxpayers stranded with a $1.4 billion bill last year, and it's going to cost even more to keep government-run rail alive this year. Instead of looking for ways to cut back to attain profitability or just improve the notoriously late, slow and underwhelming service, Amtrak's CEO proposed on Wednesday to buy a set of electric trains (not the toy kind) to make his request for another 130 mostly ordinary rail cars more politically correct," Emily Miller wrote for the Washington Times on Jan. 16.
"Uncle Sam chips in about $55 each time someone buys an Amtrak ticket. Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney said if he's elected, he would end that practice by privatizing Amtrak. It's a move that should have left the station years ago," the Washington Times reported. http://is.gd/VQutd4
Swedish bike superhighway
Malmö is ... putting up 30 million Swedish crowns (about US$4.1 million) toward the building of a four-lane super cycling highway between it and its bike-happy northern neighbor city Lund.
Bonjour à tous lecteurs du TRAQ-Hebdo, (n°209)
Greetings to all TRAQ-Hebdo readers, (n°209)
Transport Action Canada
Hotline 1149, Jan. 20, 2012
(formerly Transport 2000 / anciennement Transport 2000 Canada)
Kitchener-Waterloo, LRT Meetings
24th Jan, 3-8pm: First United Church, King and William, Waterloo
25th Jan, 3-8pm: Region of Waterloo Headquarters, 150 Frederick, Kitchener
26th Jan, 3-8pm: United Kingdom Club, 35 International Village Drive, Cambridge
6, 7 to 9 pm, New Westminster, Transport Action BC, Waves Coffee shop,
715 Columbia St., near the New Westminster SkyTrain station
28 et 29 mars 2012, Québec. TRAQ, Le Colloque ferroviaire annuel du Québec http://www.groupe-traq.com/
26 et 27 avril, Granby, Le Colloque 2012 de l'Association des
Transports collectifs ruraux du Québec (ATCRQ) se tiendra à Hôtel Spa et
Confort à Granby, Québec http://www.atcrq.ca