Ridership, Revenues, and Benefits

Without a network model, it is difficult to predict the ridership with great confidence. However, we can look at four distinct origin-destination pairs.

  • Scarborough Centre – Sheppard Centre: TTC already attracts 10,000 daily riders onto the Scarborough Centre Rocket, which runs every 5 minutes weekdays, but is scheduled to take 29 minutes for the trip. Most passengers then change onto the Sheppard subway, taking about 45-50 minutes for the entire trip, including one transfer. ALRT would offer a single-ride trip, taking about 22 minutes with no transfer. With journey time halved, we would expect traffic to double, at least, with 10,000 new riders.
  • Malvern/Sheppard East towards Yonge: TTC has estimated 55,000 daily riders on the Sheppard LRT, with 25,600 “new riders.” Sheppard Avenue is mostly developed with uses that will not generate much walk-on ridership, so we assume most of this is transferring from north-south bus routes that can also feed the Malvern-Sheppard/Yonge ALRT route. Some passengers will have a slightly longer feeder bus trip, but the additional time should be offset entirely by a faster trip, and no transfer at Don Mills onto the subway.
  • Extending the Scarborough RT to Sheppard/Morningside should attract the same 20,000 additional riders with ALRT, as forecast by TTC.
  • Offering a direct service from Sheppard/Yonge to Kennedy/Eglinton, with a trip time of about 25 minutes, should generate new traffic. Currently this requires a 46-minute subway journey, via Bloor/Yonge. From Don Mills Station (Fairview Mall) to Kennedy takes even longer, about 50 minutes using the Scarborough Rocket bus and then the RT. We estimate that this might attract 15,000 new daily riders.

In total, therefore, we anticipate the Scarborough Wye would attract 70,600 new riders. Note that because the new ridership results from an integrated scheme, it cannot be specifically allocated to any of the four segments. Total ridership on the entire Wye might be 200,000 per day, with 80,000 on the Kennedy-Scarborough and 80,000 on the Sheppard/Yonge-Scarborough routes, and 40,000 on the Sheppard/Yonge-Kennedy route.

We assume that incremental ridership might double by 2033, as with the LRT schemes. We think this is probably conservative, given the faster service and wider range of journey opportunities that the ALRT network will offer.

Time savings will be substantial:

  • The 10,000 passengers diverted off the Scarborough Centre Rocket will save 20 minutes, and have a more comfortable ride with no need to change. At $13 per hour, the benefit is $299 million NPV. Total benefits, including those to the 10,000 new riders attracted onto the serve from Scarborough Centre to Sheppard/Yonge, and the 15,000 new riders attracted onto the Sheppard/Yonge – Kennedy Service will be worth half as much, for a total of $675 million.
  • About 70,000 or so existing and new riders will have faster and more comfortable trips, although the net benefit will vary and might be on average about 5 minutes. This implies a benefit of $1,047 million.

Total passenger benefits not captured through fares might total about $1.7 billion.

We assume the same road user benefit rate, $5 per new transit rider, about twice the rate for the Transit City LRT schemes. With higher speeds and much better connections to inter-regional services, many more of the new trips attracted by the scheme would otherwise be made by car on the regional road system. There will be no road user disbenefits, because the scheme will not take any existing road space.