Metrolinx carpool program spends millions with little impact

A carpool program run by Metrolinx has received millions of dollars in funding, but has had little impact on congestion across the Greater Toronto Area, according to an analysis by the Consumer Policy Institute.

After nearly a decade in existence and millions of dollars in funds, a carpool program run by Metrolinx has failed to make an impact on congestion in the Greater Toronto Area, according to an analysis done by the Consumer Policy Institute.

The program, known as Smart Commute, was first launched in 2004 and aims largely to increase the number of commuters who carpool on their way to work each day.

But by comparing figures published by Metrolinx with official data, Consumer Policy Institute shows that the program has reduced the number of kilometres driven each month by commuters in the GTA by a negligible 0.08%. Yet, since 2004, Smart Commute has received more than $20 million in funding, largely from government coffers.

“We recognize the importance of tackling congestion in the GTA, but Smart Commute has failed to do that,” says Consumer Policy Institute’s Executive Director Brady Yauch. “We should be asking Metrolinx and other officials – has that been money well spent? The public has a right to know what they received for their money.”

Smart Commute is one of many programs overseen by Metrolinx, the provincial agency overseeing transit policy in the GTA.  Metrolinx has tabled plans for $50 billion of transit expansion over the next 25 years. It has also called on governments to raise sales and gas taxes, introduce parking levies and hike development fees to pay for that expansion. Based on Metrolinx’s poor performance in the past, says CPI, taxpayers should be on alert.

Read the full study here.

Contact Information:

Brady Yauch
Executive Director and Economist of Consumer Policy Institute
(416) 964-9223 ext 236
bradyyauch@consumerpolicyinstitute.org

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