Connect with us

Anglais

Crowded buses, long commutes — why transit is top of mind for Toronto voters

Published

on

[ad_1]

As the Oct. 22 municipal election draws nearer, we take a look at some of the most pressing challenges facing Toronto, what voters think, and how mayoral candidates propose to tackle them.

The Issue: Public transit hasn’t kept up with population growth, and residents face a daily challenge on overcrowded bus lines and an inadequate subway network that some believe is too expensive to ride.

Riley Peterson, 19, lives near Keele St. and Eglinton Ave. W. She wants to go back to school at the University of Toronto Scarborough, but is deterred by the prospect of a four-hour round-trip daily commute.
Riley Peterson, 19, lives near Keele St. and Eglinton Ave. W. She wants to go back to school at the University of Toronto Scarborough, but is deterred by the prospect of a four-hour round-trip daily commute.  (Steve Russell / Toronto Star)

Riley Peterson wants to go back to school, and has her sights set on the city studies program at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

There’s only one thing stopping her: she’s not sure she could endure what she predicts would be a four-hour round-trip commute on the TTC every day.

Peterson, 19, lives near Keele St. and Eglinton Ave. in York South—Weston, and U of T Scarborough, the only school that offers the program she wants, is on the other side of town.

Peterson already commutes about 90 minutes to a job downtown at a progressive think tank, often waking up before 6 a.m. to take a bus, subway and then streetcar, a daily journey she calls “exhausting.”

She says local TTC service isn’t much better. “I have a terrible experience with the Jane bus,” she said, describing regular wait times of up to 20 minutes. “The 89 Weston bus is always crowded, and I wait a long time for that, too.”

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT is set to open in 2021, and a stop that’s part of Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack plan could be built at St. Clair—Old Weston by 2025.

But Peterson, who has volunteered for local council candidate Chiara Padovani, said even those improvements will only go so far to help transit riders in her community, which has a median income of $53,292, more than $12,000 below the city as a whole.

She says the city needs a multi-pronged approach to improving transit. “It would be increased bus service, lower TTC fares, and build rapid transit in the suburbs,” she said.

Peterson isn’t alone in thinking transit could be improved. A new poll of 944 Toronto residents conducted by Forum Research found 70 per cent of respondents have concerns about public transit.

About one-third, or 31 per cent, said not enough subway lines is the biggest problem, while roughly the same portion cited overcrowding as the main issue. Thirteen per cent said unreliable service was their biggest concern, while one in 10 cited the high cost of fares.

Three mayoral candidates — Jennifer Keesmaat, Sarah Climenhaga, and Saron Gebresellassi — will outline their plans to address those concerns Wednesday evening at a transit-focused debate at U of T Scarborough.

Mayor Tory will skip the event to attend a campaign fundraiser at the Lambton Golf and Country Club in Etobicoke. His campaign says organizers were aware he had a conflict weeks ago but didn’t reschedule. The organizers dispute that account.

When it comes to building new lines, Tory and Keesmaat, considered the two main challengers in the Oct. 22 vote, don’t plan to deviate significantly from the city’s council-endorsed transit plan.

Both Tory and Keesmaat, who is Toronto’s former chief planner, support building a network of light-rail transit on the waterfront, and extending the Eglinton LRT west to Pearson airport, and east to U of T Scarborough.

Both back the relief line, the proposed $6.8-billion subway that would link the eastern end of Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) to downtown, although Keesmaat has accused Tory of allowing the project to stall, a charge the mayor denies.

Tory wants to go ahead with building six new “SmartTrack” stations on GO lines within Toronto, at a cost of up to $1.46 billion. Keesmaat has slammed Tory’s SmartTrack plan as a “mirage,” but would still build four of the six stops. She also proposes to build an LRT on Jane St.

Neither oppose the controversial Scarborough subway extension, although Keesmaat says she would withdraw $910 million in city funding for the project if Premier Doug Ford follows through on his plan to add two stops to the line. The extra stops could add more than $1 billion to the cost.

Keesmaat would reallocate the city’s contribution to build the Eglinton East LRT, a move Tory says would jeopardize the subway.

Cameron MacLeod, executive director of non-partisan transit advocacy group CodeRedTO, said it’s a good thing there’s so much overlap between Keesmaat’s and Tory’s platforms because it makes it more likely the proposed lines will get built.

“The fact that the two major candidates are each working from a fairly similar set of goals, and a fairly similar set of priorities, that’s positive in terms of creating more pressure towards (completing) those projects,” he said.

Anna Kramer, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s department of planning and geography, says what’s missing from the pair’s platforms are firm targets for improving transit service.

“The political focus is often on capital funding for rail projects, and not on the operational budgets to improve service levels,” she said.

Kramer said she’d like to see more emphasis on less expensive, but still effective, measures to alleviate problems such as “bunching” on busy bus routes. She suggests the candidates should take up ideas such as introducing all-door boarding on crowded bus lines, and creating dedicated bus lanes.

Keesmaat has promised “enhanced bus service where appropriate” but offered few specifics.

Tory has also not set any improved service targets, but has cited his administration’s investment in the TTC; the city subsidy to the transit agency grew from $430 million in 2014 to $578 million in 2018. However, only a portion of the increase went toward improving service.

Tory has also emphasized policies his administration has enacted to make transit more affordable, like the introduction of the rule that lets kids younger than 13 ride free, the new two-hour timed transfer policy, and the Fair Pass discount for low-income riders.

Those initiatives have reduced the cost of transit for some, but regular TTC fares have increased in three of Tory’s four years as mayor. Since 2014, the price of a token has increased by 11 per cent, and the price of a Metropass has jumped 9 per cent.

Gebresellassi’s transit platform centres on an ambitious promise to “set Toronto on a path towards” making transit free for everyone, a policy that would likely require the city to increase its net TTC spending by over $1.2 billion.

Climenhaga has promised to freeze TTC fares for four years, and also to look into making transit free “to all who wish to ride.”

The Forum poll was conducted by interactive voice response telephone survey between Sept. 20 and 24. It’s considered accurate to plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation. Reach him by email at bspurr@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Anglais

‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

Published

on

By

MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

Continue Reading

Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

Published

on

By

Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

Continue Reading

Anglais

Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

Published

on

By

Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

Continue Reading

Chat

Anglais2 semaines ago

‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

Anglais2 semaines ago

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

Anglais2 semaines ago

Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

Anglais2 semaines ago

Learjet, the private plane synonymous with the jet-set, nears end of runway

Anglais2 semaines ago

Brivia Group announces the construction of Phase 2 of LB9 rental condo project

Anglais2 semaines ago

With popcorn sales banned, some movie theatre owners say it’s not worth it to reopen

Actualités2 semaines ago

À partir de 2025, toutes les voitures de Jaguar seront 100 % électriques

Actualités2 semaines ago

Forte augmentation des demandes de remboursement de voyage

Actualités2 semaines ago

Le textile reste un fléau pour l’environnement malgré de nombreuses initiatives écologiques

Actualités2 semaines ago

L’Agence de mobilité durable et Jalon s’unissent

Actualités2 semaines ago

Un village à reconstruire au coeur de Pointe-aux-Trembles

Actualités2 semaines ago

Le centre-ville de Montréal continue de se vider

Actualités2 semaines ago

Recommandations de la Commission sur les locaux vacants La vitalité du secteur commercial au cœur des priorités de la Ville

Actualités2 semaines ago

Un cabinet d’avocats ne peut pas déduire les frais d’un mariage, dit la Cour

Actualités2 semaines ago

Financement pour deux entreprises de Dorval et Lachine

Actualités2 semaines ago

Les friperies observent une augmentation en popularité

Actualités1 mois ago

Logo du CF Montréal : quatre experts se prononcent

Actualités1 mois ago

De nouveaux logements sociaux pour les femmes autochtones à Montréal

Actualités1 mois ago

Invasion montréalaise !

Actualités1 mois ago

L’hôtel de ville de Sept-Îles pourrait être détruit

Anglais2 années ago

Body found after downtown Lethbridge apartment building fire, police investigating – Lethbridge

Styles De Vie2 années ago

Salon du chocolat 2018: les 5 temps forts

Anglais2 années ago

This B.C. woman’s recipe is one of the most popular of all time — and the story behind it is bananas

Anglais2 années ago

27 CP Rail cars derail near Lake Louise, Alta.

Anglais2 années ago

Man facing eviction from family home on Toronto Islands gets reprieve — for now

Santé Et Nutrition2 années ago

Gluten-Free Muffins

Santé Et Nutrition2 années ago

We Try Kin Euphorics and How to REALLY Get the Glow | Healthyish

Anglais2 années ago

Ontario’s Tories hope Ryan Gosling video will keep supporters from breaking up with the party

Anglais2 années ago

A photo taken on Toronto’s Corso Italia 49 years ago became a family legend. No one saw it — until now

Anglais2 années ago

Condo developer Thomas Liu — who collected millions but hasn’t built anything — loses court fight with Town of Ajax

Styles De Vie2 années ago

Renaud Capuçon, rédacteur en chef du Figaroscope

Anglais2 années ago

This couple shares a 335-square-foot micro condo on Queen St. — and loves it

Mode2 années ago

Paris : chez Cécile Roederer co-fondatrice de Smallable

Anglais2 années ago

Ontario Tories argue Trudeau’s carbon plan is ‘unconstitutional’

Styles De Vie2 années ago

Ford Ranger Raptor, le pick-up roule des mécaniques

Affaires2 années ago

Le Forex devient de plus en plus accessible aux débutants

Anglais2 années ago

100 years later, Montreal’s Black Watch regiment returns to Wallers, France

Technologie2 années ago

YouTube recommande de la pornographie juvénile, allègue un internaute

Anglais2 années ago

Trudeau government would reject Jason Kenney, taxpayers group in carbon tax court fight

Anglais2 années ago

Province’s push for private funding, additional stops puts Scarborough subway at risk of delays

Trending