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Morning Brew: Kathleen Wynne to discuss transit with Ford, zone-based TTC fares, Norm Kelly is skeptical, The Star gets a new look, and a record-breaking January 30

Posted by Chris Bateman / January 30, 2013

toronto snowIncoming Premier Kathleen Wynne says transit is a top priority ahead of her first scheduled meeting with mayor Rob Ford. The former Ontario Minister of Transportation has called for new revenue tools in the battle against gridlock in the past and could be a champion for transit expansion in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. How do you see the Ford-Wynne meeting going down?

Also in transit, a new report says charging TTC users different fares depending on the distance they travel is one of several ways the province could raise enough cash to fund Metrolinx's Big Move, a $50 billion Ontario-wide series of infrastructure projects. Tolls for 400-series highways and parking are also among the ideas floated by the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario. Would this scheme unfairly penalize long-distance commuters?

Toronto's contrarian parks and environment chair Norm Kelly, a noted climate change skeptic, is a little torn. During a presentation yesterday about how warmer weather will effect the city, the Scarborough-Agincourt rep repeatedly questioned the accuracy of climate science, calling it an "issue that has yet to be fully understood." Then, just to be safe, he voted in favour of all motions on the $250,000 study. Right...

The Toronto Star is showing off a new-look website this morning. The paper's GTA section has been broken down into "City Hall" and "Crime and Courts" sections and the site as a while has been tweaked to display more content on each page. The Star is planning to implement a paywall in the next few weeks.

Hey TTC - the "N" in the "Dufferin" sign at Dufferin station is upside down and #topoli tweeter @Neville_Park wants it fixed. A hilarious (and decidedly sarcastic) SeeClickFix posting outlines what's at stake, namely a creative exodus due to poor design leading to a post-apocalyptic, stroller-ruled subway system. The horror!

The new George Brown campus on Lake Shore Blvd. E is looking pretty smart, and the Globe and Mail [$] has an interesting profile on the award-winning building which sits over the mouth of a long-lost river and is partly below the level of the lake.

Finally, today is already the warmest Jan. 30 on record in Toronto. Today's high is expected to be around 14 C, almost five degrees above the old record of 9.1 C. Expect rain and an overnight low back in the normal temperature range.

IN BRIEF:

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Pink" by Dominic Bugatto/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

46 Comments

Jack&jill / January 30, 2013 at 08:09 am
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Ford-Wynne meeting going down? over a bucket of KFC, that's how.
AV / January 30, 2013 at 08:26 am
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Its going to be fun to watch The Star bleed readers when they implement their pay-wall. Pay-walls; the lazy company's idea of smart revenue generation.
DL / January 30, 2013 at 08:51 am
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How did Wynne feel about streetcars vs subways?

The answer to that oughtta paint a pretty good picture how this meeting will go.
EricM / January 30, 2013 at 09:04 am
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Meah, I guess The Star can do what it wants and I wont really have to get use to it anyway. As soon as the pay-wall is up I'll never read it again anyway.
Ford4ever replying to a comment from AV / January 30, 2013 at 09:12 am
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"Pay-walls; the lazy company's idea of smart revenue generation"

I think the issue is a little more complex than that. And I think the expectation of getting good, objective news reporting for free is completely unrealistic.
Plus replying to a comment from DL / January 30, 2013 at 09:25 am
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Plus one who is gay and the other who hates gays, oh to be the fly on that wall
urbnplnr / January 30, 2013 at 09:30 am
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is he aware that she is teh gaysz?
Jen replying to a comment from Ford4ever / January 30, 2013 at 09:43 am
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...except, that it exists in other mediums and weirdly it is that pressure that has pushed the MSM guys into kamikaze approaches such as pay-walls. It's a pretty vicious cycle, they aren't creative enough to figure out how to garner more add revenues online, so the institute a pay-wall. Online readership invariably goes down and add revenue lessens more as less eyes are seeing the product. thestar.com can make more money through adds then through pay-wall fees... but, they missed the boat. So, the paper of Burton, Frayne and briefly Hemmingway has been reduced to that of DiManno, Cox, Dale and the rest. I'd actually say, larger systemic issues aside, "Pay-walls; the lazy company's idea of smart revenue generation" is bang on here.
Google / January 30, 2013 at 09:56 am
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Dear Toronto Star: Less is More
chrisjemery / January 30, 2013 at 09:56 am
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As an avid transit user that is considering a move outside the downtown core, I'm not opposed to a distanced-based fare to help fund transit. If I'm not mistaken, this is utilized in London (UK) and Vancouver to great success.
Ford4ever replying to a comment from Jen / January 30, 2013 at 10:00 am
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Having written for one of the dailies in Toronto, I can tell you that the news business is a crazy one. Advertisers are jittery and have never fully stood behind funding a newsroom dedicated to the dirty business of exposing corruption and lies -- but newsstand sales and dedicated subscribers MIGHT.

Real journalism requires some commitment and contribution from the readership, I'm afraid.
cathy replying to a comment from EricM / January 30, 2013 at 10:06 am
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If you delete the cookies for Toronto Star in your browser you can probably read as many articles as you want. I started doing that with the Globe and it resets every time.

If you have a library card you can also read the papers for free online at the TPL website. Deleting cookies is easier though.

I do have to say, though, that since the paywall at the Globe went up the comments on the stories got a lot crazier.
Soren / January 30, 2013 at 10:25 am
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The Toronto Star ripped off Yahoo's interface.
Alex / January 30, 2013 at 10:34 am
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I don't see the distance based fare working. If they keep $3 as the base and then just increase the fare for people traveling long distances then less people will use them. Why take the TTC across town if it ends up being the same as the GO and the GO is faster and more comfortable? If they do a real distance based system and decrease the amount if you're only going a couple stops then I feel that they'll lose a ton of money.

Plus if anyone is using the TTC to travel a long distance then it generally means they don't have the money to buy a car, and increasing the fare is going to hit them pretty hard. Nobody takes the TTC across more than one transfer unless they absolutely have to.
jer / January 30, 2013 at 10:35 am
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I agree with TTC fares based on distance. Especially now that Presto is getting rolled out.

Having said that, this should mean that going 2 stops should be like $1. The "cheapest" fare shouldn't be the current fare. You could increase ridership on cash fares if this is rolled out.
Rob / January 30, 2013 at 10:50 am
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We already have a distance based transit system-- GO.
crc replying to a comment from Alex / January 30, 2013 at 11:32 am
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Short term pain for long term gain. As pointed out in the article -- flat fares for long distance commutes promotes sprawl. Sprawl is a dirty word for many reasons. If people choose to drive instead, they'll eventually just be stuck in traffic with each other....prompting them to take the better transit options available (and paying a distance based fare.)
Ling Gu / January 30, 2013 at 11:34 am
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Distance-based fares for the TTC?? Shoot, I live in North York, and take the subway downtown typically twice a week. Not looking forward to higher $$$.
the lemur / January 30, 2013 at 11:46 am
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Since the redesign of the Star site, I can't log in to my account and I can't visit the non-mobile version of the site on my phone either. Anyone else having problems?
Rob replying to a comment from crc / January 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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Not really. The bizarre trend of wanting to live as far away from your work as possible in as large of a house as possible is what causes urban sprawl. Commuters from Barrie and Oshawa and Oakville already utilize GO Transit, which is distance based.


Craig / January 30, 2013 at 12:26 pm
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Distance based fares are probably inevitable. I can see it working by having your first mode costs $2, each transfer point costs $0.50 (ie bus to subway). The added bonus of this is that people may opt to walk 1-2 stops instead of hopping on the bus and slowing it down for the people traveling long distances.

The idea of tapping on and tapping off (the Presto model) will be hard to imlipment on the bus/stretcar fleet. But tapping at each transfer point can be implimented easily.
Kim / January 30, 2013 at 01:01 pm
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The Presto model is ridiculous. It's not even at every stop, PLUS, the TTC is inefficient -- they lose fares from absentee attendants, 1950s PAPER TRANSFERS!!!, and their total inability to be customer service oriented. In addition, right on their website the TTC says they are not responsible for third party issues, which is Presto. Presto is a third party, not part of the TTC. It's stupid to allow a completely different company to handle fares. When they have problems the TTC can just wash their hands of it (as per their usual unaccountability).

They need to look at Montreal -- they have a very efficient electronic transfer system. It's fantastic. And it's not some stupid third party tap card that is only being implemented for other people. You can buy them at every station -- they are implemented with every fare, be it daily, one ride, or other weekly or monthly options. The buses have them as well.

I loathe the current operating inability of the TTC. Get some brains, customer service ability and foresight, you backwater non-major city operating piece of crud.
steve replying to a comment from the lemur / January 30, 2013 at 01:16 pm
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Didi you not receive your email telling you to reset your password to migrate to the new interface?
Daryl replying to a comment from Craig / January 30, 2013 at 01:17 pm
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I envision it to work more like Berlin's zones:

"Berlin is divided into three fare zones, known as A, B, and C. Zone A is the area in the centre of Berlin [..] Zone B covers the rest of the area within the city borders, and Zone C is the surrounding Berlin. Tickets can be bought for specific fare zones, or multiple zones. Most passengers who live in Berlin buy AB farezone tickets, while commuters coming in from the suburbs need ABC farezone tickets."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_U-Bahn#Tickets
Mike replying to a comment from Ford4ever / January 30, 2013 at 01:24 pm
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Agreed but the Star giving " good, objective news reporting "? Ya right. The lefties want everything else subsidized, might have a problem when forced to pay for the garbage news they are "entitled" to.
Mark / January 30, 2013 at 01:33 pm
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Shouldn't we have higher distance based fares on any expanded lines? For example charge more for the expansion to highway 7 but leave the original routes the same?
jd / January 30, 2013 at 01:36 pm
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The only main issue I see with distance based fares is that it's an increase that will effect mainly the poor.

Public transit should be set up to get people out of cars and make it cheaper for them to use.

The reason it works well in London is because the city itself is set up much different than Toronto with a much more equal distribution of economic levels through out the city.

Plus, there are congestion charges in London on cars in zones at certain hours. Which then tends to get more people using public transit.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Mike / January 30, 2013 at 01:41 pm
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Is it at all possible for you to make a point about even a stupid paywall at a newspaper website without degenerating into "evil lefties" rhetoric?
Mike replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 30, 2013 at 02:08 pm
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No lefties are idiots!
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Mike / January 30, 2013 at 02:10 pm
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Oooookaaaaay then. One track mind. World destroyed by or personal harm caused to you and/or your loved ones by "evil lefties" You must be a hit at parties.
the lemur replying to a comment from steve / January 30, 2013 at 02:10 pm
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Nope. I tried resetting the password through the site this morning and it doesn't accept that either.
cathy replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 30, 2013 at 02:34 pm
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Since he's missing some important punctuation in that last comment, he's actually being really complementary towards people on the left. :)
Jade / January 30, 2013 at 02:45 pm
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Kathleen Wynne is clearly pandering to Toronto voters when she says she's making transit a top priority, and personally I think that's great. But in the end, it doesn't really matter because she's not going to be around very long. She's pretty much the captain of the Titanic...
vampchick21 replying to a comment from cathy / January 30, 2013 at 02:45 pm
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LMAO!!!! Nice catch! :)
Tommy replying to a comment from Daryl / January 30, 2013 at 02:49 pm
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We kind of already have this with the 905 transit systems (i.e. pay at Steeles). Dividing Toronto-proper into zones will get a swift backlash from people in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough. People need to remember that the intrinsic 'cost' of a TTC ride is not just your money - it's your time too. In terms of VALUE, a 10 minute 1 km journey may have the same VALUE to many people as a 1 hour 10 km journey.

If we penalize the 10 km traveler, then it will make more sense for them to drive, no matter what the traffic. These people will form a voting block, and elect anti-transit officials, then where do we end up? Oh right, exactly where we are right now!

Also, don't a good portion of regular TTC riders have metropasses anyway? Is complicating the system with Presto tapping and zones even worth it in the long run?
Mike / January 30, 2013 at 03:58 pm
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thankfully lefties are a dying breed, on all levels of government. Soon they will be a distant past. Tried of the self titled attitudes of lefties!
vampchick21 / January 30, 2013 at 04:00 pm
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Hudak is my idol.
Mike / January 30, 2013 at 04:32 pm
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Say what you will about Hudak, but I think the man has a plan and is steadily working his way into power. It might take another election or so, but you have to like his chances if you think on it awhile.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Mike / January 30, 2013 at 04:32 pm
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And I'm sick and bloody tired of this constant generalization of those of us who identify left of centre on the political spectrum. I don't think poorly of all 'right wingers', only of those individuals who, like yourself, display utter ignorance and a complete lack of empathy and basic common sense, never mind sorely lacking in basic human decency. You aren't right wing, you're an idiot. And I'm tired of you. You and those like you are what are holding up political discourse in this modern world.
glenn storey replying to a comment from Mike / January 30, 2013 at 04:38 pm
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gee. didn't sun news just ask for the same subsidies from the crtc?
Daniel / January 30, 2013 at 05:08 pm
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Just how are these zoned fares going to work anyway? last time TTC had zoned fares, the people of this city were honest. are we going to depend on the driver to somehow enforce this? will riders be "trusted" to ensure they tap their presto as they leave?

seems like a pipe dream.
Jay / January 30, 2013 at 06:21 pm
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Zone based fares for public transit is common in many cities. I think it's inevitable that it will happen here.

I also think it's inevitable the Province and the City will likely screw up whatever plan they decide to implement.
Brad / January 30, 2013 at 07:13 pm
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Nobody told me that zone based fares would be part of my 32
Jake / February 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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Yeah, we already have fare zones in the GTA. Toronto is one, Mississuaga is another, Brampton, York Region, Durham, etc. It makes no sense that your cost doubles only when you cross a municipal boundary. It makes a lot more sense if it increases by small intervals every few kilometres.

I like the idea of running higher-order transit (subways, LRT, GO trains and buses, municipal express buses, etc.) on a fare-by-distance model, while leaving the local bus routes on a flat fare with time-based transfers. This is almost necessary unless you force riders to 'tap-off' every time they leave a bus.
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