Toronto transit group gives John Tory low grade for ignoring election survey

A transit advocacy group is giving John Tory a low grade for largely ignoring a 28-question survey about his plans for public transportation in Toronto.

The TTCriders survey was sent to every mayoral candidate running in the October election. Candidates were asked to commit to a “yes”, “no,” or “other” descriptor on four main areas of interest: bus and streetcar lanes, fares, funding for the TTC; and a short-term solution to the 2023 Scarborough RT closure.

The group said that Tory’s campaign did not reply to the survey. Instead they sent over a written statement, and TTCriders used that response to determine where he stood compared to his competitors.

In the “Mayoral Transit Promises Tracker,” Tory was handed a two out of 28—the lowest score of all mayoral candidates who responded to the survey.

The two points were given for supporting greater investments in TTC operations and pledging to champion the expansion of Scarborough’s rapid transit network.

TTCriders put his responses as “no” for the remaining 26 questions in the survey, as he did not specifically address them in his statement.

In a statement to CTV News Toronto, a spokesperson for Tory’s campaign said they provided TTCriders with a “fulsome answer” when it came to the $28-billion transit plan for the GTHA that is being led by Ontario government that includes the Scarborough subway extension, the Ontario Line, the Eglinton Crosstown West extension and the Yonge North Subway extension.

“Throughout his time in office, the mayor has invested in the TTC’s bus network, restoring 200 kilometres of bus routes that had been cut before he was elected and making sure the busiest routes were maintained during the pandemic,” Jenessa Crognali said. “He also led City Council in approving RapidTO – which rolls out dedicated bus lanes where they make sense and, where reserved bus lanes aren’t practical, will do everything possible to speed up the busiest routes.”

“Mayor Tory is the only municipal candidate who will make sure these mega-transit projects get completed as soon as possible, and he’s the only one with a track record of investing in and protecting the TTC.”

Meanwhile, Gil Penalosa—who is widely seen as Tory’s biggest competitor—received a perfect score of 28 out of 28 for saying “yes” to every question asked by TTCriders.

This included promises to oppose fare increases; expand off-peak and nighttime service; work for more funding to expand Wheel-Trans; and support additional routes to replace the Scarborough RT when it closes.

The next highest-scoring candidates were Philip D’cruze and Ferin Yusuf Malek, who both received a 27 out of 28 each.

“The TTC needs a champion who will rebuild ridership with bus and streetcar lanes, better service, and lower fares,” said TTCriders member Khasir Hean in a statement.

“It’s not too late for candidates to improve their score.”

Penalosa unveiled his transit plan on Wednesday, promising to build more than 60 kilometers of high-speed bus lanes across the city.

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