5 Reasons Why Mississauga Doesn't Have a Subway
For years, many of the people of Mississauga have bemoaned the lack of a subway linking the city's main hub to Toronto. That bemoaning is perfectly acceptable, mostly because various subway construction opportunities have been prematurely quashed, neglected, ignored or put off until the plans were no longer feasible.
You can even see a very reasonable plan for a tube station here . So, why don't we have a subway? Here's a list of potential reasons in no particular order (most are tongue in cheek, but there's a tidbit of truth to every cynical theory):
Uncertain Political Risks and Rewards
Subway construction is a lengthy process. Underground transport, much like the architecturally awesome city of Rome, is never built in a day. For that reason, the municipal leaders who get the subway ball rolling might very well be long out of office by the time the first passengers ride the rocket to Union Station. This means that the massive upfront costs will be all the current mayor and council are known for. People will see potential tax hikes, construction and budgetary back-and-forthing long before they see their property value skyrocket and this might compel them to declare the elected officials wasteful destroyers of the roads. Also, when the subway is built, it might be that mayor -- whoever he or she may be -- getting credit and accolades for a plan put in motion long before his or her run.
WE CAN'T AFFORD IT!
People screamed (and are still screaming) this when the much-needed Pearson Union Express was announced http://www.upexpress.com/en/. The complaints about the long overdue train were vast and stupid: it's too expensive to build, it's too expensive to ride ($27.50 per rider), it's ugly, it's out of the low-income commuter's price range, it has too many stops, it'll pollute our pristine air, etc. Public transportation is expensive to build, but Canada is a first-world country and it can absolutely afford a train that links its busiest airport to its biggest city. Delhi and Beijing have first-rate subway stations. The ticket price is expensive, but it's less expensive than a cab ride to the downtown core and it's at least 6.5 million times more convenient than a city bus. Low-income commuters probably won't be using it because they tend to restrict their air travel. I won't address the stops, the ugliness or the pollution because they're not worth addressing. All I know is that a Mississauga subway will garner the same complaints about affordability even though it'll be much cheaper to ride. We're a city of almost a million people and we need better access to Toronto. We -- and the province -- can afford it.
Toronto Riffraff Will Ride
We don't like to talk much about the nervous suburbanites who are afraid of the city, but we should because those people tend to vote religiously and attend council meetings that are open to the public. There are people who will argue that a TTC link will bring big city untouchables to our safe streets, bombarding Square One shoppers with requests for loose change and serenading unwilling subway riders with poor violin solos. There are already panhandlers in the city and there's a plethora of crazy people wandering Square One (I worked at a kiosk there, I would know). This is a terrible reason to argue against a very necessary upgrade to our city's (and by extension, our province's) infrastructure. Anyone who makes this point needs to take several seats.
TTC and MiWay Profit Splitting
A more practical reason for hemming and hawing might be potential profit splitting issues between MiWay and the TTC. Mississauga isn't likely to have its own subway line, as Metrolinx would probably build a TTC extension. This means that the TTC would be cutting into MiWay's coffers, something that might anger people in Sauga's transportation sector. A new or different profit model might need to be implemented so both transit systems can co-exist peacefully and that could take some haggling.
It Makes Too Much Sense
We live in a world where people pull their children out of school and howl in the streets about a perfectly reasonable, modern and important sex-ed curriculum teaching six-year-olds how to have anal sex (it's NOT teaching anyone how to anally penetrate anybody), so we're rarely dealing with a reasonable or forward-thinking electorate. Elected officials are often terrified of offending large swaths of voters, even if those voters need to be dragged kicking and screaming into contemporary society (something they'll eventually accept and perhaps even enjoy). For years there has been talk of tearing down the Gardiner, making the Lakeshore the next major access point into the city for drivers coming from the west end. Driving to Toronto in general can be stressful and inconvenient, what with expensive parking to contend with. Having a subway system that links two already interconnected cities just makes sense. It makes sense for Toronto and it makes sense for Mississauga. It's just not an easy sell to everyone and therein lies the problem.