Friday, September 27, 2013

Why connected transit is a bad idea

There has been much discussion in recent weeks about developing a subway line in Scarborough. The fact that Scarborough appears in the news on a daily basis now is exciting enough, but I do want throw my two cents in.

It seems the ongoing debate is whether to extend the Danforth subway line from Kennedy station into northern Scarborough, or enhance the current LRT from Kennedy to McCowan. The latter would be supporting connected transit; various modes and routes that enable you to reach farther distances. I included a picture below of the two proposals, courtesy of the Toronto Star.

Right now I have to take a bus to Kennedy and hop onto a subway. When I was commuting to school I would transfer from a bus onto a subway train, then take another bus. Other people take a GO train and then right the subway. Some take a bus, to a streetcar, to a subway. These are all examples of connected transit, various methods of travel getting you to one destination.

The problem with connected transit is in the transfer time. On a routine ride, the subway cars run like clockwork – even faster than you plan outside rush hour. The moment you get off a subway and wait for a bus, however, you could be waiting for upwards to 25 minutes. A subway line will cut that time and bring you directly to where you need to be, or at least with a smaller gap in travel if you did take a bus.

By extending the subway line you’re essentially ensuring people get home faster without clogging up space on platforms where people wait up to nearly a half-hour waiting for a bus. I speak from personal experience; it’s very annoying to emerge from a subway to find what appears to be a mob of passengers waiting for a bus (or LRT, or whatever).

All things considered, I'm glad Scarborough isn't forgotten. 

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