A Solution to Transit Disorganization: Merger

Ontario’s GO Transit and Metrolinx to be combined into one agency

In the Toronto region, the Toronto Transit Commission provides transit service within the city and GO Transit, a separate agency, runs buses and commuter rail throughout the rest of the region, from Hamilton in the west to Oshawa in the east. Today, an agency called Metrolinx serves as a master planner, deciding which transit lines will be built and how much to subsidize each service, though the two other agencies contribute to the discussion with their own projects and plans. Yesterday, however, Ontario Transport Minister Jim Bradley announced that the province would attempt to legislate a merger between GO Transit and Metrolinx into a broader agency that would have the power both to plan transport services and to provide them. The TTC, under the direct control of the city of Toronto, will remain separate.

The province makes

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Jerusalem Likely to Abandon Plans for More Light Rail Lines

Mayor Nir Barkat sees their cost as the primary problem and envisions BRT

The Jerusalem Post reports that new Mayor Nir Barkat will cancel the light rail program envisioned for Israel’s capital after the completion of the two initial lines currently under construction. Building the line has caused major headaches in the city core, and Mr. Barkat’s election win last year was in part due to his opposition to the continuation of the project, which would include five more lines. The two lines being built today, however, have been sped up since Mr. Barkat took office and will be completed by 2010 as I reported previously.

The mayor’s solution is bus rapid transit, because the buses would be “a fifth of the price and much easier to deploy” than light rail. “I cannot sign on it yet, but most likely those routes will be BRTs and not trains. [They are]

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Los Angeles Plans for New Downtown Connector

New track would connect Blue and Expo light rail lines to Gold line in Little Tokyo

Today, customers traveling on the Blue light rail line must transfer to the Red or Purple heavy rail lines to get to Union Station and the Gold line, which heads northeast to Pasadena. This connection at the 7th Street/Metro Center station is a large inconvenience to passengers and probably serves as an impediment to transit usage for thousands of potential customers. With the completion of the new Gold line Eastside Extension later this year and the Expo line in 2010, this problem will affect more passengers. As a result, Los Angeles Metro is studying a connection – the Regional Connector Transit Corridor – that will bring light rail directly from Metro Center to the Gold Line.

Potential corridors for the route (shown in the map above) would take trains 2 miles up

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Should Transit Systems Be Designed for the Handicapped?

Sure, we want equal accessibility for all… but at what cost?

Yesterday, New Jersey Transit held a groundbreaking ceremony at the Somerville Train Station for improvements that will make the stop along the Raritan Valley Commuter Rail Line accessible to the disabled. The station renovations will be complete by 2010, but the project is part of a long-term effort that will eventually make all 130 of the system’s stations easier to use for those with limited mobility.

NJ Transit isn’t alone; networks all over the country are investing in similar improvements to older lines, adding elevators, level platforms, and ramps to making getting to and from trains possible for those in wheelchairs. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act made it required for new and renovated facilities to make a “good faith” effort to ensure that people with disabilities are not discriminated against in the public sphere. The results have

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U.K.'s High Speed Two Fleshed Out

With support from Tories and Labour, project construction is virtually guaranteed

The United Kingdom, despite its intense population concentration and relatively straight-shot connection between its biggest cities, has yet to invest in a major high-speed program, unlike its peers in France, Spain, and Germany. Beginning late last year, however, the Conservative Party, under leader David Cameron and shadow Transportation Minister Teresa Villiers, began pressuring the Labour-controlled government to begin planning a high-speed rail link between London and Manchester, via Birmingham, as a replacement for the planned third runway at Heathrow airport. Plans to route the line through the airport to allow easy connections to flights were incorporated into the proposal almost immediately.

Though in January Labour did approve the runway at Heathrow as a way to relieve the significant congestion there, the U.K.’s ruling party has come to see a high-speed rail program as politically advantageous –

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The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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