by Sarah MacDonald
The Toronto Transit Commission will now operate the Light Rapid Transit, reversing an earlier decision by Metrolinx announced two weeks ago.
The TTC announced Wednesday it will operate the Eglinton, Sheppard and Finch LRT lines once they are built in 2020 and Metrolinx’s private sector partner will maintain the assets, according to the press releases from both parties.
“We will go through a process to engage a private sector partner to design, build, finance and maintain those lines and the TTC will operate,” Jamie Robinson, director of community relations and communications for Toronto transit projects at Metrolinx, told Humber News on Thursday.
TTC drivers on the LRT lines will be integrated into the Toronto transit system and all operations on the new lines will be controlled by the transit operations center, Robinson said.
A third party partner will maintain LRT vehicles from the tracks and signals below ground to the stations themselves and car houses, Brad Ross, executive director of corporate communications at TTC, told Humber News.
“TTC will operate the lines. We’ll drive the vehicles, we’ll look after things like fare collection and security within the stations themselves,” said Ross.
Fares will remain under TTC policy, said Ross, however, it’s not clear how everything will work with the Metrolinx partnership.
“How that fare is then shared is still to be determined and how subsidies are going to work and all of those kinds of things,” said Ross.
Robinson said the two parties have yet to discuss fares and subsidies, but both will have to meet to discuss the details.
“The hard part is actually getting it more tightly tied down,” said Robinson.
“An agreement will have to be reached on those issues and others two years prior to the lines being operational, which will be in 2020,” said Robinson.
The provincial government is funding the LRT project, which will cost $8.4 billion.
Metrolinx and the TTC announced two weeks ago that the private company would assume the responsibility of the design and operation of the LRT lines.
In a letter dated Sept. 10, Sameh Ghaly, TTC chief capital officer, reiterated this point by saying the transit body would have a limited role.
“The new LRT lines will be fully integrated with the TTC with one fare structure,” Metrolinx said in a statement.
Two weeks ago TTC Chair Karen Stintz told Humber News the deadline may change since there is extensive work to be done.
Construction of the stations will not begin for another 12 months.