View Full Version : invite new transit head to share his ideas

31-10-2006, 10:56 AM
i think someone should invite Rick Ducharme to write a little column on his vision for our transit system. how about it?

31-10-2006, 11:01 AM

Barry N
31-10-2006, 11:54 AM
Here is a start.


31-10-2006, 12:11 PM
To keep in our archives...

Tuesday October 31 2006

New transportation boss keen to take transit down 'right road'
Outspoken former head of Toronto transit is ready to fight for funding to improve system

Susan Ruttan
The Edmonton Journal

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

EDMONTON - Rick Ducharme left his last job in explosive fashion, quitting abruptly June 6 as manager of the Toronto Transit Commission and accusing his political masters of meddling.

Two weeks ago, the 58-year-old Ducharme became Edmonton's general manager of transportation.

The outspoken civil engineer brings with him a wealth of experience, including nearly seven years running the TTC, a transit system that carries five times the number of passengers as does Edmonton Transit. Among North American transit systems, Toronto is third in size after New York City and Mexico City.

He also brings a few scars.

His departure from Toronto followed a showdown with Toronto Coun. Howard Moscoe, the board chair of the TTC, over internal matters, including union issues. Members of the Toronto branch of the Amalgamated Transit Union went on a wildcat strike in early June, and Ducharme quit after hearing that Moscoe was talking directly to the union.

"The main reason behind my decision (to quit) is due to political interference ... ," Ducharme wrote in an internal letter leaked to the press when he resigned.

"I've always been a straight shooter; however, when some commission members choose to undermine my role and responsibilities, then the game is over."

Ducharme's dramatic departure rocked Toronto city hall. The Toronto Star called for Moscoe's resignation and credited Ducharme with revitalizing the nation's largest public transit system.

Globe and Mail columnist John Barber, while criticizing the "juvenile temper tantrum" that prompted Ducharme's sudden resignation, called him a hard-headed engineer whose departure was a big loss for Toronto.

Even Toronto ATU president Bob Kinnear, no friend of Ducharme, says of him: "Overall, Mr. Ducharme is a very reasonable person. He's very direct. You always know where Mr. Ducharme is coming from."

In Edmonton, Ducharme will be in charge, not just of transit, but of the entire transportation system, including roads and bridges.

Still, he's a pretty big fish for a city Edmonton's size -- he has represented North America on the International Union of Public Transport, a global transit association, so he knows transit honchos around the world.

And he's taken a pay cut to come here. He was making $260,000 a year as TTC manager, while his Edmonton job pays around $200,000.

"I didn't come here for money," Ducharme says in an interview in his new 15th-storey office a block away from City Hall. "I came to end my career in a nice city."

He and his wife Carol spent a week in Edmonton this summer, getting the feel of the city, and fell in love with it, he says. He also talked to acquaintances who had lived in Edmonton or moved here, and heard nothing but praise.

Among them was his friend Mike Boyd, who became Edmonton's police chief in January after failing to get the Toronto police chief job. "He said, 'Rick, you'll love it here.' "

Michael Roschlau, president of the Canadian Urban Transit Association, says Ducharme is coming to Edmonton at an interesting time, when the LRT line is finally being lengthened.

"Rick is a very committed and determined kind of individual who is really dedicated to the stuff he does," Roschlau says.

Ducharme brings with him a passion for urban transportation issues, and a willingness to fight for what he believes.

"This city has a perfect opportunity to go down the right road, and that's where I'm going to push hard -- for roads and transit," he says. A city that thinks it can't afford to provide good transit is making a mistake, he said, because it can't afford not to.

The key to good transit, Ducharme says, is service. High gas prices alone won't get people on the bus.

"If I'm going to stand in a snowstorm for 20 minutes, I'm not taking your bus," he says. "If you give me frequency of service, reliable service, people will use it."

He's prepared to fight for transportation funding from both the federal and provincial governments -- either personally, or by arming city manager Al Maurer with "all the ammunition he can get."

Ducharme is a fan not just of light rail transit, but also of bus rapid transit, a system that provides a dedicated lane where buses can go faster than cars. Edmonton is just now planning a BRT line.

He comes to Edmonton with three top priorities: first, moving people; second, moving goods; and third, moving cars.

[email protected]

The Edmonton Journal 2006

Copyright 2006 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

31-10-2006, 01:11 PM
first, moving people; second, moving goods; and third, moving cars.

i like it already... :D :D :D

31-10-2006, 03:53 PM
first, moving people; second, moving goods; and third, moving cars.

i like it already... :D :D :D

But if cars carry people, doesn't rule #1 kick in?

If this were the 3 laws of robotics, I'd be scared to use my toaster.

31-10-2006, 08:59 PM
^ A bus full of people should always supersede a car with one driver.

04-11-2006, 02:32 AM
I'd be interested to see what Ducharme has to say. I really like his point about not taking the bus because of infrequency. When I moved to TO for a few years I had a car, but prefered to commute by TTC. I found it strange that so many ppl in TO complained the bus service because in my opinion, it was the best form of public transportation I had ever taken. (mind you I've only really taken ETS and Calgary transit otherwise). Because I was used to ETS, I thought 20-30 min intervals for busses was normal everywhere...then I got spoiled with 5-10 minute intervals in TO.

I'd also be interested in what he'd say about certain issues that have been floated around a lot, for instance, a possible 2nd bridge from bank to bank over the river into downtown. Working freeways/thoroughfares into downtown, what he thinks of the roads right now; if he would fast track BRT; where he'd like to see LRT next...and a host of other things too.

Hey, also, isn't it nice to hear about someone excited to move here. It's not often that people take a $60K pay cut to come here. Good on him! Now let's hear from him! In a city that has a tendency to drag their heels on transportation issues, I guess it's good to have an experienced and somewhat outspoken manager to push important issues. Can C2E invite him please!?!?