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Scarborough RT reports 'quietly' posted on TTC's website raise 'more questions than answers,' city councillor says

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A series of consultant reports on the Scarborough RT that were “quietly” posted on the TTC’s website have “raised more questions than answers” about last summer’s derailment, a Toronto city councillor and TTC board member said Thursday.

Transit advocacy group TTCriders said external consultant reports published on the TTC’s website this past fall reveal that the transit agency was warned in early 2023 about issues with how defects were prioritized and how inspections were happening.

“Another report found that some preventative maintenance was stopped before the SRT derailed so this is absolutely shocking,” Shelagh Pizey-Allen, the executive director of the TTCRiders, told CP24 on Thursday.

“We have a lot of questions. One of them is who decided to stop doing preventative maintenance work on the Scarborough RT because that is one of the contributing factors to the derailment.”

Pizey-Allen said the group is also alarmed by the fact that the consultant reports were never presented to the TTC board, a concern echoed by Coun. Josh Matlow, who sits on the board.

“A report was quietly posted last October, never brought to the TTC board by TTC staff that raised more questions than answers about the SRT’s derailment last summer,” Matlow said.

“There was a magical and unexplainable drop in the number of defects that were reported from one year to the next that we need explanations about.”

The Scarborough RT was taken out of service after the July 24 derailment, which left five people with minor injuries.

The SRT opened in 1985 and operated well past its intended lifespan. The vehicles were only designed to operate for 25 years and the line should have been retired more than a decade ago. The derailment occurred just months before the TTC had planned to decommission the line.

“I think when you've heard me speak before about the infrastructure, you know, it (the Scarborough RT) was 38 years old, the design life was 25,” TTC CEO Rick Leary said in September after the line was shuttered. “We've talked a lot in the past about state of good repair and needing funding, and unfortunately we've closed it and shut it down and we're running a bus service right now.”

Pizey-Allen said TTC management needs to come forward with “honest answers” about the recently discovered reports.

Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, Leary said the reports were not buried intentionally, and members of the board were notified.

"When the report came out, there were elements of the report we wanted to do more due diligence to and that's what we're doing now with the intent of coming back in April, identifying some of those anomalies," Leary told reporters Thursday afternoon.

He denied that maintenance of the SRT was reduced or relaxed.

"Safety is a commitment that we have – I have personally like to the city and our riders. You never not to put safety first. So that's our commitment," Leary said.

Mayor Olivia Chow was asked about the reports at an unrelated news conference on Thursday afternoon. 

"I know as we speak the TTC board and the CEO Rick Leary are seized with this issue," she said.

"It’s important to assure riders that everything is safe. State of good repair is important and TTC needs to be accountable."

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