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Tory says subway barriers could cost 'well north' of $1B

Last Updated Jun 19, 2018 at 2:24 pm EDT

A subway train enters a station in Toronto in an undated file photo. CITYNEWS

A day after a man was allegedly pushed in front of a moving train at Bloor-Yonge Station, Mayor John Tory said he was awaiting the results of a TTC study into the feasibility of erecting safety barriers in the city’s subway stations.

Tory said he voted in favour of the study, but admitted that the potentially staggering costs of retrofitting the city’s aging stations could pose a problem.

“Always the issue that looms out there, and I don’t mean to bring this back to money when you are trying to save lives, but in the end this is a huge undertaking … the question would arise how we would pay for it,” he said.

“This would cost, by most estimates … well north of a billion dollars.”

Despite the hefty price tag, Tory said the barriers are worth considering.

“I will await that report because I think when we are losing lives, we owe it to the city … to take a really serious look at it.”

The TTC’s Brad Ross told CityNews the study is expected to be completed by 2020 and would probe engineering and design challenges, as well as associated costs.

“It’s something that other transit systems around the world do,” Ross said. “(But) to retrofit a system as old as the TTC’s is a significant amount of work and a significant amount of money.”

Coun. Joe Mihevc, who sits on the TTC Board, touted the many benefits of the barriers, while noting they would cost around $10 million to $15 million per station.

“There are many advantages,” he stressed. “One: you protect lives.

“It stops all those operational difficulties we have … When you hear the conductor saying we have had to stop service because of things at track level.

“It would make our system up to 20 per cent more efficient. So there’s lots of good reasons to do it.”