What John Tory's Mayoral Win Could Mean For Your Toronto Auto Insurance Rates

John Tory has been elected the 65th mayor of Toronto and is expected to take office December 1st. Transportation was a hot topic throughout the entire mayoral campaigning stretch, and Tory's relentless championing of the SmartTrack line no doubt contributed to his victory.

SmartTrack proposes to use a combination of existing Metrolinx GO tracks and the creation of new lines to create 22 new station stops and four interchanges connecting the Airport Corporate Centre in the west down to Union Station and back up to Markham in the east. In his platform, Tory indicated that SmartTrack will provide: If Tory's vision for SmartTrack comes to life, there will be greater public transit options, which in theory will reduce the number of cars on the road. Here's what the campaign promises:

  • relief for the Yonge-University-Spadina line as commuters from northern parts of Toronto will opt for SmartTrack over existing infrastructure
  • a reduction in car congestion especially around the Airport Corporate Centre and Unionville employment cluster
  • a regional line that extends beyond the borders of Toronto
  • a reduction in commuter times
  • a fully serviceable line by 2021

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Comparing Toronto's transit system and car insurance rates

In Toronto's downtown core, the average car insurance cost is about $2,000, and the surrounding region is not much lower. Scarborough car insurance rates, for example, are actually higher with some areas averaging up to $2,486. As part of Tory's platform, he promised to begin construction on the Scarborough subway extension immediately. The proposed plan will replace the existing (and aging) Scarborough RT. It will include stops at McCowan and Lawrence, Scarborough Town Centre, and McCowan and Sheppard.

Giving Scarborough more public transit options may help drivers lower their rates eventually, but there are other factors at stake. Crime rates, like auto theft and vandalism, also play a role in how rates are determined, and these variables are not outlined in Tory's platform.

A big part of SmartTrack is that Tory says it will emulate public transit systems in cities such as London, where commuting via public transit is much more common. The below chart compares the percentage of the population that commutes to work via car, public transit or bicycle as per 2011 census data.

John Tory's cycling strategy doesn't get into the specifics, but his platform promises he will champion the expansion of Toronto's on-street cycling network (including placing a priority on safer, separated bike lanes), partner with business to build more bike lanes, bike parking and bike sharing programs and facilities, and ensure all SmartTrack stations are equipped with sheltered bicycle parking. Better cycling infrastructure may encourage more people to bike to work instead of taking the car.

Even if all of these changes were implemented within the next couple of years, the overall insurance rates may not reflect them. However, commuters can contribute to a reduction in their own rates by switching to public transit or cycling to work. Improving public transit and cycling infrastructure in Toronto is a crucial issue and John Tory said he promises to begin working on these issues right away. Better transit systems will give commuters more options, lower the number of vehicles on the road, and reduce congestion.

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