Toronto Life - The Informer

Insider intel on the politics and personalities shaping the city. Sign up for Preview newsletter for weekly updates



Mayor Rob Ford: “Transit City is over”

Rob Ford’s first few hours as mayor sure have been busy. As the dailies are reporting, Ford met with TTC chief general manager Gary Webster at seven this morning to let him know that Transit City, and its attendant “war on the car,” were kaput. “I just wanted to make it quite clear that he understood that Transit City’s over and the war on the car is over, and all new subway expansion is going underground,” Ford said, according to the Sun.  “And that’s pretty well it.”

Whether or not the mayor will be able to deliver on that promise is still up for debate. First, he has to get the support of council to scrap the light-rail plan. Then there’s the matter of the $1.3 billion already committed in Transit City–related contracts, the $137 million already spent, the construction already underway on the Sheppard LRT and the millions of dollars in cancellation fees for the various contracts already tendered.

As for how he’ll deal with a provincial government that was committed to the previous administration’s plan, Ford told the gaggle of assembled reporters: “I’m trying to set something up as soon as possible.”

‘The war on the car is over’: Ford [Toronto Star]
War on car over, Ford declares [Toronto Sun]

  • The Pontiff

    Toronto’s “Dark Age” officially starts……NOW.

  • Christina

    Welcome to the reign of this century’s Boss Tweed, might as well start calling City hall Tammany Hall!! Enjoy paying taxes to cover all those cancellation penalties!

  • foodie514

    Remind me who was stupid enough to vote for him? All that money out of the window. On top he wants to cut the $75 registration taxes and reduce lands transfer taxes? Is it only me who think that his math does not add up?

  • TransitBuff

    This guy does not have a clue what implications he will cause by dictating that the Transit City (TC) project should be cancelled. Nor does he realize the cost implications of building a subway system. Reality check: $300 Million per Kilometer.
    On day ONE of his reign, he has already broken one promise to Torontians – “stop wasting taxpayer money”. Newsflash Rob Ford: You’ve just wasted $137+ Million and the cancellation fees that go with it.
    It amazes me how a university drop-out can become the mayor of Canada’s largest city. I think he should go back to school to get some book + street smarts. As mentioned by foodie, whoever voted this clown in didn’t think things through properly. He basically clouded the whole issue during his campaign with little promises to remove the bag tax, the vehicle tax, and property tax. As ideal as it may sound – how will a city of this size operate? How will a city of this size move without Transit City? Rob Ford will do all this extra “work” to get a subway, then out of the office in four years cuz everyone will be fed up – then his work will be scrapped too. It’s a viscious cycle and that’s why there is never any improvement. Rob Ford should definitely re-think his decision before he cripples this city more than it already is. Buses will never work – between all of the cars parked at the side of the road, bike lanes, cars trying to make left and right turns, thousands of pedestrians and now more buses pulled over at the side of the road, picking up and dropping off patrons, how do you think we will ever relieve the congestion?

  • Pee

    I hear ya all. I had the same thought as transitbuff and all but in reading through and understanding what he wants to do, its an interesting idea but maybe too late ? I dunno. Subway definately makes sense along Eglinton and SHeppard. Blame Mel for not finishing the job on SHeppard but having streetcars laong eglinton is garbage. Streetcars belong downtown – Someone should take him on the Queen/King Street car to see how sad a journey and long wait it is.

    The waste of money will be the same like all the studies etc done to tear down the gardiner. Here he is forming a committee to look into changing it – what is being changing is still not 100% clear. Never voted for him wont bash him on day 1, gonna wait out and see what comes through. Have enough to think about, like Winter and snow removal, lets see how this is handled this year!

  • Adam

    Re: Mayor Ford and Transit City

    Cost to taxpayers of Kyle Rae’s ego: $12,000

    Cost of Rob Ford’s ego: $137 million and climbing, just to kill Miller’s legacy

  • LMalcangi

    This is what happens when people don’t vote. The terrorists win- yay apathy!


    we really should settle down and dont let the media ( Toronto Life et al) push our buttons. Lets get more info. Is all the LRT/Streetcars dead ? Will the existing cars not be replaced ? or is it that Eglinton and Sheppard is dead and we dont want another St Clair – AND WE REALLY DONT WANT ANOTHER ST CLAIR!!

    Lets gather the task before the media drive us crazy! (Toronto Life !)

  • Don Mitchell

    Well, Day One of the reign of terror of “Mayor McCheese”. All of you who voted for him…thanks a hell of a lot! This doofus is going to ruin our City and the TTC is only the beginning. Just wait people. “Rednecks Rule” is the new order of the day…isn’t that just friggin’ marvellous?!?!?!?

  • Marcy

    I have always viewed Canadians as smarter and
    more progressive than most Americans. Why did Toronto vote
    for this guy? Sounds like your new mayor would
    appeal to the Sarah Palin lovers and Tea Party crazies in
    the US. Yes, I’m American (born and raised in a “blue”

  • Missy

    Wow! It boggles my mind that ppl actually believe that the already spent monies on City Transit, is a justifiable reason to continue with the WORST PLAN ever!

    Those monies did NOT go up in smoke, they went into the pockets of ppl like you & me that work for a living. Those salaries have already made their full circle BACK into the community coffers! As for the penalties, better to take a smaller loss that a long term disaster!

    *** Do you ppl have any idea just how advanced the entire GTA public transit would have been today if no one interfered with the plans to expand our subway lines in all directions since the 60′s? We would not have this crisis today, if ppl did not stop subway progress in lieu of the so called iconic streetcar, which in many ppl’s opinion belongs in the Smithsonian’s Institute rather than on the roads of 21st Century living.

    We progressed out of medieval times, out of the pioneer era, yet we are continuously being forced to maintain and support the crudest mode of transportation that is only capable of providing rides equal to that of Canada’s Wonderland’s touring trains, bcos of the whims of the few.

    It’s a BAD IDEA to spend good monies after bad! Think about it….if Transit City was such a great idea, why would it take 7 yrs. in the planning? Great ideas take no time at all. Bad ideas are dragged out in the hopes of finding something good about them.

    *** Way to go Mayor Rob Ford! Way to go! Keep those subways coming!

    I am sick and tired of politicians making expensive decisions that benefit the few, (the few that came out for elections) just to get their vote.

    I am sick of politicians that have no long term vision or accountability of their inept, costly short term decisions.

    I am tired of politicians that have NO BUSINESS SAVVY!!! These guys would not survive in the private sector running a personal business the way they run our city coffers.

    I am tired of City Planners that also lacked vision, handing out condo construction permits left right and center, without the forth-sight to high density congestion.

    I am tired of City Planners not looking for ways to encourage employment growth outside of the downtown core of Toronto…..heck, that would solve the high density commuter congestion over night and at no cost to the city coffers, meaning Taxes would not have to be continuously raised to support a War on Cars, Transit City plan!

    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Mississauga Mayor Hazel Mccallion have business savvy along with common sense and long term successful and profitable visions!

    Yes, I agree, Toronto did get what it deserves…….a Mayor that can think his way out of a paper bag!
    Canada needs more politicians like Rob and Hazel……period!

  • andrew

    Missy: I take it, then, that you’re a great fan of the dozens of subway lines Hazel has been able to build in her 32 years in office?

  • foodie514

    Missy… let me guess, living in the Suburbs??Hazel has been a great mayor. This is not Mississauga!


    Missy is missing da point but have some good points though. Nothing is worng with subways and I agree in these cases, they would serve Eglinton, Sheppard & finch better. Streetcar works downtown, they belong there. But the plannersw are jaded how they structure them to stop too much before street lights, the stops are after street lights and the cars must go first. WRONG!!

    Good point Foodie – hhmmmm.. never thought of this – Why did Hurricane hazel not have a subway built in her Hazeland? instead all these 905 burbias drive into the city, clog up the roads and pick on Toronto all the time. Solution, CONGESTION charge like they do in London. Miller is a crook adn you can see that. He hsould be investigated for all these contracts – even the stupid designer garbage bins that do not work, yet the city has become so much dirty since he won.

    Why did all these people – city, province and federal sign off on this silly streetcar all over the city plan? Did they do a post mortem on St. Clair. Christ! deliver us from EVILS!!

  • Missy

    No, Missy does not live in the burbs as you put it. Missy lives near the 2 yr., going on 3 yrs next spring construction mess of Roncesvalles Village. A total fiasco!

    Missy also is a Real Estate Agent, who sold a lot of low rise subdivisions in Mississauga 30 yrs ago, as well as the towering condos in Toronto’s down town core these past 15 yrs.!

    I am also very well versed in construction & city hall delays, non-logical and constant senseless restrictions which makes a total mess of everything and anything to do with sensible city planning for use today and especially for future growth.

    Yes, Missy is a woman, a woman that also has architectural experience as well as hands on construction talents and still can look like a Cosmopolitan Model.

    My defense of Mayor Rob Ford is plain and simple. He is NOT a mamby pamby vote seeking politician that spends his time attending functions and feeding himself off the skin of those who sweat, really sweat to earn a living only to see that most of their income is being taxed to death for projects that do not serve the future.

    Toronto! Ha, ha, ha……if it were not for people like me, begging the builders 20 yrs ago to focus on the down town core and put up high rise condos rather than continue their agenda of low rise further and further out ie: Markham, Newmarket, Pickering……..then there would be no condos down town.
    There would be no house renovations. The so called Trendy areas of today, would STILL be the run down decrepit housing prior to 20 yrs ago.

    Yes, this Missy and many thousands like her, help encourage the upgrading of our dilapidated city. Something that many of your so called Trendy people would not remember bcos you were still in diapers!
    So please…….keep your cheap shots to yourselves, bcos you have NOT contributed in any way to shape the Creation, Development or the history of Toronto, have you? After all, you were either not born, or in diapers at the time.

    So what makes you think that your opinions matter to anyone that has the track record of living thru, creating and achieving? Get off your spoilt tushies and create something rather than wallowing in the “I’m entitled, me, me, me” mentality.”

    My generation, my parents generation and all those war time immigrants sweated in jobs you would never even remotely consider bcos it would involve hardship.

    As for Mayor Hazels decisions……WTF do you know??? Really!
    Unlike Toronto at the time, Hazel allowed builders into Mississauga, without all the restrictions that Toronto City Hall imposed on development. Jobs were created, homes were built. Streets/roads are incredibly wide.
    The subways, had they been built all along throughout Toronto, would by now have been extended to Mississauga as well.

    Hazel does not raise home owners taxes like in Toronto to cover political blunders!

    People with children, who want an affordable decent home rather than a postage stamp size condo to raise their children in, headed for the burbs and rightly so.

    Reading these childish posts really makes me realize that the old adage “Youth is wasted on the young” is so very true.

    If your so smart and can do things better, then start creating businesses in the burbs that will create jobs for others, so that they don’t have to spend 1/2 their lives commuting in order to earn a living to provide a decent future for the growing children.
    Create something that benefits others than for your self serving spoilt needs. In other words…….GROW UP! But then again, that is way to much to ask of you, for I guarantee that I will see more and more childish posts, full of sarcasm and cheap shots of others efforts to finally put an end to all this pandering and really solve so many outstanding issues that benefit society as a whole and not the small niche of the spoilt self serving few!

  • Nelson the transitphile

    Transit City was rammed down our throats and quite frankly, a joke. It is absolutely ludicrous to have public and private transit compete for the SAME REAL ESTATE. GUESS WHAT?? As much as you hate someone that drives a car, you’ll be gone long before the car will. So it makes no sense to make a transit plan out of spite.

    If Toronto wants to be an A-class city like London Paris New York Berlin Buenos Aires, we can’t be building a B-class transit system like Transit City Stockholm Turin Portland. If places like Santiago Chile and Barcelona can build MULTIPLE SUBWAY LINES in a decade (and Santiago is earthquake prone, remember)… WHY-T-F can’t Toronto?

    Contracts can be re-negotiated. We’ll still need subway cars, we’ll still need materials, buidlings, trackes – it’s not the cancellation of a contract, it’s the modification of one.

    It would be an atrocity and an embarassment to the city of Toronto to leave the Sheppard subway at 4 stops long and then force people to get out of one rail car and WALK to get into ANOTHER rail car. The last person to have transit foresight in this city was Bloor Viaduct architect Edmund Burke who foresaw the need for mass transit infrastructure 30-40 years ahead of its time by building the lower deck to support a subway. Truly amazing. More foresight – look at NYC… wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get on an EXPRESS train at Finch and only make stops at Sheppard, Eglinton, Bloor before you get to Union? NO TRANSIT FORESIGHT.

    There are more non-transit things that can be done too, like more one-way streets, enforcement of traffic laws with stiff fines, like for blocking an intersection on a green light

    We have empty hydro-corridors running the length of the city – let’s put subway lines on them! Less of that pricey tunnel boring required. There’s also many parts of the subway that could be built ABOVE ground too, i.e. not on the road. Look at NYC, Chicago.

    Before any further expansion of the YUS subway north into Richmond Hill and Vaughan, Mr. Ford should also explore the feasability of putting in that excellent idea called the Downtown Relief Line running approx. from Pape to Dundas St. W. via Union. Bloor station can barely handle any more passengers even during off-peak hours.

    Anyhoo. How’s about those Leafs?

  • john doe

    1st class city, second class transportation. Lets keep pumping wasted money into a glorified street car, making Toronto an even bigger eye sore. Take a second and look at New York City. The money spent on subways are more, yes, however it pays in the end. Stop being ignorant and look at the benefits of subways. SMARTEN UP

  • JakeG

    Missy: Brilliant Post! You are right, these spoiled brats are only interested in their immediate little environment as they couldn’t give a shit about anyone who has to commute everyday and may have to use their car in order to continue their business. As long as life is good for them, the rest of can go straight to hell. I totally agree that streetcars use, other than on a few designated streets downtown are something from the last century and should not be allowed to destroy anymore streets and businesses the way the latest boondoggle has on St. Clair. You sound like a woman that speaks from a history of experience witnessing as I have, three decades where no long term mass transit was allowed to happen – largely because of another generation of entitled, short-sighted people who through up road blocks to long term planning at every step. Now we are reaping the results of that kind of resistance to change. We can keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results (the definition of insanity) or chart a new course that will get us where we should be in 10 or 15 years.

  • John Harker

    @ jakeG

    Who’s entitled? It seems to me that you think as a motorist that any transit plan is a bad one. People like you seem to think that we should revisit spadina and gut our downtown like so many American burgs i.e. Detroit, Buffalo. Also, it’s people like you who scream “pinch pennies! Pinch pennies” and then when things get economically better you vote for the conservative lakey who gives not you but the wealthy tax breaks at the expense of your services! Thats the reason why were so far behind other cities. I also love the fact that so many ford supporters are willing to give him a pass on wasting time and money canceling transit city, after this summers election lecture on how city hall should be spending it’s money wisely. Blinded by ideology I guess, and the sun.

  • Missy

    You copy & paste my post with cheap shot inserts, yet I can’t see your name!
    Why you hiding? Your cheap shots only show your level of self-serving tunnel vision mentality

    @JakeG and @ Nelson the transitphile. ***Thank you both and to others that have common sense!

    **And as for why Hazel didn’t put in subways……are you for real??? What a dumb
    sarcastic question/statement. Ask anyone in the development business and All of them will give you the same answer…..which is plain to see even by the novice. Bcos the roads are wider and there was suppose to be SUBWAYS built from Toronto to the burbs by now, which weren’t bcos of self-serving little brats that want to revert Toronto to the days of Pioneer Village that’s why!

    Gosh, how I would love to see you sarcastic self serving idiots in person. I guarantee, within 5 min of meeting and talking to you, I would expose you for what you really are.
    A 9-5 employee that could not think his way out of a paper bag if their lives depended on it. You have no idea what others have contributed to the growth of Ontario. Yet you have the unmitigated audacity to assume that you know best.
    Continue living in your own little cocoon, full or resentment and criticisms of the progress of others.
    You are just spoilt brats, going no where in life, a total waste of space!

    I repeat……

    Yeah, to electric cars!
    Yeah to the political boys club, pandering to the nonsensical niches for votes, finally being put an end to.

  • Missy

    @ by Nelson the transitphile, your quote:

    We have empty hydro-corridors running the length of the city – let’s put subway lines on them! Less of that pricey tunnel boring required. There’s also many parts of the subway that could be built ABOVE ground too, i.e. not on the road. Look at NYC, Chicago.

    Yes, contact Rob Ford. He does return calls. Inspire him with real solutions.
    Email him as well, contact his office to make sure they got and printed the email so that they can present it to Rob. I did and he does call back! The man is really trying to make a difference. Yet none of these “gimmie this and that” people want to give him a break or see him succeed. Imagine, protests on his 1st day on the job…….what dumb a** idiots!

  • Nick Knight

    There are large cities like Warsaw Poland, that have large street car systems. Many much nicer cities like Boston also utilize street cars as a major part of their network
    They say that Toronto is the most American City, seems there right.

  • globetrotter

    Fact, Toronto is one of the few ‘major cities’ in the world without an extensive network of UNDERGROUND subway lines. There’s not much to show for a half century of transit development in this city, and now politicians are looking for a cheap knee-jerk solution. This legacy of neglect has left commuters with little choice but to drive cars and endure a commute rated as one of the world’s worst (#12). Of course each commute is individual. However we can’t keep racking and stacking people in condo buildings and not reinvest in a real transit solution. LRTs in winter, gimme a break! Alternatively, anyone driving in from the north to south of ‘Steeles’ on any road in the city during the week (M-F) pays a large daily toll – simply can’t keep expanding the burbs and jam drivers into a 1950s based road system – doesn’t scale – nor do little electric choo choos occupying car lanes – subway systems do scale. However the polarizing and politicizing ‘hater nature’ of the many posts reveals perhaps the root cause for Toronto’s neglect and/or inability to address essential infrastructure over several decades and many mayors. Had there been the political will and courage twenty or thirty years ago these projects would look like a relative bargain today. Cut wasteful spending and build infrastructure with that money, or STOP growing the GTA!

  • Steve

    Correct PeePee. Like Mississauga, all the 905 cities cities have to stand on their own and finally be real cities on their own. This includes making their own transit system, such as subways. They need to make their own real downtowns and jobs as well. They cannot continue relying on Toronto for commuting and WORK any longer. This is creating the clog. Also, lack of forward transit throughout the GTA is creating the clog in the first place, by the use of only cars. And Missy, Mississauga may seem clean and all, but what do you really have there? NOTHING. Same with the other 905 cities. No planning but just building houses (developers hoarding and laughing all the way to the bank) but no infrastructure for it, And no, putting up the same old roads and concrete (for cars) do not count as innovation and planning.

  • Steve

    And yes, the TTC subway extension must be stopped at York University. No going to Vaughan. The subway is the TTC, TORONTO Transit Commission, which Vaughan is totally not a part of! Vaughan has a GO line already for crying out loud! Tell Sorbara to take a hike and that they should make their own transit system, and take the fund for that extension, and use it to build new subway lines (in TORONTO, of course) especially the original 1985 DRL line plan.

  • Logic

    The light rail cars are crowded and small. Imagining using one during rush hour traffic makes my head spin. Subways are more practical, and more likely to pay off in the long run. Perhaps Rob Ford is thinking in the long-term…

  • andrew

    And subways are never crowded, right Logic?

  • Anita K.

    As a lefty, I am no fan of Rob Ford, but he has a point about streetcars.
    They do not work in a city like Toronto…with our cold winters and traffic, it is not a viable option. I waiting for 20 minutes today in -20 C weather for one.

    If he can at least try to extend the subway line…well he’s got my support.

  • Brian

    Rob Ford and his supporters have been trying to portray a “war on cars.” It is in fact the other way around — a war on streetcars. Nothing good is said about streetcars, ever, as if there was nothing good to be said about them. Meanwhile Ford supporters automatically assume that if you’re pro streetcar, you’re anti car.

    Here are indisputable facts:
    1. Streetcars hold far more passengers than a bus. Twice, or three times as many. If you are anti-union, that should matter to you, since more buses means more 40 dollar an hour drivers. Buses can never replace streetcars.
    2. Subways can never replace streetcars. There simply cannot be enough stops. The high priority subway projects (York University, Airport, Downsview to Scarborough Centre) will and should be done long before any fantasy of tearing up all streetcars ever becomes reality, Rob Ford or not. Queen, College and King streetcars are here to stay, forever.
    3. Selfish, impatient car drivers try to kill streetcar passengers every single day. They stop in the middle of doors, brake at the last second, and even honk. Meanwhile streetcar patrons never complain, never blame drivers for anything. And drivers blame streetcars for almost everything.

    So there is no “war on cars.” Drivers need to get off their high horse and stop blaming streetcars and their passengers for traffic jams and construction. Streetcars are a fact of life, will never go away, and you had better accept that before you kill someone. Voting for Rob Ford won’t change that.

  • Johnson

    At last count TTC was subsidized by about $400 million per year for maybe 700 million in fares and no plans to even break even … ever . That’s OK , I hear, because it comes from the Feds . If I were in business and saw figures like that I would start asking a few questions. Like how come all the passengers that are predicted never materialize once the system is built ? Does the Pembina institute ever think that way ? Why isn’t the private sector providing busses for in-city transit? Does it really make sense to try to serve EVERYBODY within the GTA . Is Public Transit just inherently GOOD … like David Suzuki …. and cannot be wrong regardless of cost and track record ??? Maybe Public transit should return to serving the ridership , paying its bills and in short , standing on its own instead of being a vehicle to ‘save the planet’ , whether it works or not .

  • MC

    Congratulations to all the suburbanites who voted for ford and now have to commute into an already congested city…good work everyone. Elect a man who has probably never used public transit and cant fathom the benefits to those who have to drive in…idiot

  • Mark

    Ah Johnson, you will fit right in with the Conservatives, especially those from the USA. Take government out of everything, eh? And what would you think would create in a public transit system? You think this will cut cost, but quite the contrary, you will give this new subway company a monopoly. Take a look at the Hong Kong MTR corp system and how arbitrary their pricing structure becomes. They also have 4 private bus companies, but pricing are highly regulated or else they will coerce and charge an arm for a ride.

    Forget Federal subsidies for TTC riders, they will be on their own and feel the effect of every inflation, economic downturn and empty seats (i.e. the lost ridership you proposed). It’s a viscous cycle. Simply put, your private enterprise model does not work because these companies need to make revenue and answer to their shareholders. That means more pockets to put money into and the riders again get shafted in the end.

  • don landry

    Transit City: The Musical!
    Read all about it…

  • Mark Perry

    LRT is a must!! think god they whent with it anyway turned down rob fords scrapping plans we need LRT not more subway!!!!!!!! Rob ford you never got my vote!