Smog shrouds and gridlock above ground, but everything is beautiful underground in SHANGHAI, HONG KONG, CHONGQING & TOKYO. Mayor John Tory spent 10 days in China, Hong Kong and Japan, returning to TORONTO with renewed fervor for public transit in this city.
<ABOVE – Mayor John Tory onboard the Chongqing monorail> Mayor JOHN TORY: “We rode the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) in Hong Kong and I was crying out of envy of what they’ve built. There are some lessons we can take from what they’ve done.” <ABOVE – Hong Kong Metro Map> Four million passengers ride the MTR everyday and they’re expanding it by four lines. Much like TORONTO, the MTR is updating its signalling systems. Their contractor is TORONTO company Thales Canada.>
<ABOVE – Shanghai’s subway map. Second only to Beijing in terms of ridership, the Shanghai subway hauls 10-million passengers daily over the longest public transit network in the world – 588 kilometres>
<Mayor Tory – “Those cities responded to the growth they were seeing by doing something. We responded by doing nothing for a long period of time, and even when we talk about doing bold things we wring our hands and find reasons not to do it.”
On surface routes TORONTO scores fairly well with 8 lengthy streetcar lines, 24-hour bus & streetcar service, suburban double-decker commuter trains and articulated buses – but underground, things aren’t quite so rosy. The subway serves downtown & the inner suburbs with 69 stations and 6 more on the way. A cross-town LRT underground line is under construction, which will add another 22 stations. There’s a crying need for a Downtown Relief Line.