Global News identifies cheap and easy transit solutions for Toronto commuters

Part two of a two-part series on transit expansion options in Toronto.

Toronto’s transit is in need of expansion. Projects that would potentially cost billions of dollars have been tabled but one University of Toronto professor thinks there might be a much cheaper solution that could need far less work.

Andre Sorensen, an associate professor of Urban Geography, believes using existing GO Train lines that already snake their way through areas that require relief could help remedy the problem.

GO lines follow a very similar path to that of a proposed relief subway line in Toronto. The difference is in cost.

Building a relief line would cost an estimated $7.4 billion dollars which, with budgetary constraints, is a pipe dream. While there isn’t an estimate on the cost of using existing GO lines, the cost of digging and installing tracks would be eliminated, reducing the price and amount of time needed to intertwine the systems.

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WATCH: Part one: Are the right choices being made for transit expansion in Toronto?

The TTC knows changes need to be made to accommodate the growing number of riders and are willing to look into all options.

“It’s certainly something I would like to explore. I think there is huge potential to provide greater capacity and more service on the existing GO corridors,” said Andy Byford, TTC CEO in an interview.

“I think there is an absolute ground-swell of opinion now that something has got to be done,” said Byford.

Still, a major issue arises; the two systems fail to connect, making transferring very difficult.

The TTC and GO have not traditionally worked together or planned to coordinate. This leaves officials in Metrolinx trying to find ways to undo work that has caused a misalignment.

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“One is physical integration, the stations, to make sure that people have a short walking distance (so) you can easily get from one facility to another,” said Bruce McCuiag, Metrolinx president and CEO. “The second one is the service integration, so the schedules are aligning.”

Timing and transferring are things that would not be difficult to fix, the bigger issue that currently stands is technology. GO Trains run on diesel and are meant for longer distance rides, making them less effective for a frequent stop style similar to TTC subways.

However, Metrolinx says that roadblock is not stopping them from considering what could be the most viable option.

“It goes back to we have one single transit customer and how do we come up with the best possible system, as opposed to just dealing with one single route or single project.”

-With files from Jackson Proskow

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