Heathrow Airport has had a subway link for decades. When the Elizabeth line’s next phase is opened in the fall, passengers will be able to travel from Heathrow to the banks at Canary Wharf in East London in 40 minutes; that is a prime selling point for a city desperate to hold on to its status as financial mecca after Brexit. All told, the line has 10 entirely new stations, 42 miles of tunnels and crosses under the Thames three times.

“We’re jealous, it’s fair to say,” said Danny Pearlstein, the policy director for Riders Alliance, a transportation advocacy group in New York. “Imagining a new, full-length underground line here is not something anyone is doing. The Second Avenue subway, which people have been talking about for 100 years, has three stations.”

To be fair, Transport for London is not without its problems. It has shelved plans to build a north-south counterpart to the Elizabeth line, not to mention an extension to the Bakerloo tube line, because of a lack of funding. Still reeling from a near-total loss of riders during pandemic lockdowns, the system faces many of the same financial woes as New York’s subway.

Though ridership has recovered from a nadir of 5 percent, it is still at only 70 percent of prepandemic levels. Transport for London is also heavily dependent on ticket fares to cover its costs, more so than the New York subway, which gets state subsidies, as well as funds from bridge and tunnel tolls.

“My other obsession is sorting out the finances,” Mr. Byford said. “One way is to wean us away from dependence on fares.”

He is somewhat vague about how to do that, and it is clear that Transport for London will depend on additional government handouts to get back on sound financial footing. That is why the opening of the Elizabeth line is so important to London: It makes a powerful case for public transportation at a time when people are questioning how many workers will ever return to their offices.

Mr. Byford lays out the case with the practiced cadence of a stump speech. The new line will increase the capacity of the system by 10 percent. Its spacious coaches are well suited to a world in which people are used to social distancing. It will revitalize economically blighted towns east of the city, while making central London accessible to people who live in far-flung towns to the east and west.

While Mr. Byford does not expect ridership ever to return completely, he thinks 90 percent is attainable. If office buildings remain underpopulated, London could develop like Paris, with more residential neighborhoods downtown. (The Elizabeth line bears a distinct resemblance to the high-speed RER system in Paris.) The line, he says, is an insurance policy against the “siren voices of doom” about Brexit.

At times, Mr. Byford slips perilously close to a real estate agent’s patter. “These super-high-tech stations simply ooze quality,” he said. But emerging from Liverpool Street, with its spectacular, rippling, pinstriped ceiling, it is hard to argue with his basic assertion: “This is a game changer.”

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When the Bus No Longer Rolls Into Town

Given that Greyhound had already suspended operations for about a year because of the pandemic, its announcement on Thursday that it was permanently ending all of its remaining bus service in Canada was almost symbolic.

money being spent in Toronto on the subway. And yet when it comes to rural people, well, they’re just chopped liver. There is no subsidy for transportation.”

In parts of the country where Greyhound operated, its service was usually the most affordable form of travel. And for many rural communities it was frequently the only alternative to owning a car or finding a ride in one.

A 2012 inquiry into dozens of women who went missing on the Highway of Tears in British Columbia found that a lack of reliable public transportation led many of them into danger through hitchhiking. (A subsidized service was restored several years later.)

Professor Prentice added that buses didn’t just provide low-cost travel for people, their quick and economical parcel delivery service offered same-day shipping between many places and gave rural communities not served by courier companies a quick and reliable method to receive time-sensitive shipments such as parts for farm equipment.

The medical system was also a major user of bus parcel express. When shipping packages to family members at Christmas, I often managed to always show up at Ottawa’s bus terminal just after someone had dropped off a cooler covered in stickers indicating that it contained human eyeballs destined for corneal transplants.

government-owned Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation, saying that it could no longer afford its subsidies.

The provinces are now the only authority over bus lines, and some of them have completely deregulated their industries.

The result is an increasingly fragmented system in which Greyhound and others have been replaced by newcomers using smaller buses and nonunion drivers to find profits, although not always successfully. In some cases the newcomers have improved service, but many routes have gone unfilled.

Above all, it’s no longer possible to book a single ticket and enjoy, or perhaps endure, a bus ride across most of the country.

Coast to Coast Bus Coalition. The group is calling on the federal government to return to regulating buses and to work with bus lines to create a national system that would integrate with Via Rail.

Professor Prentice said that the end of Greyhound in Canada had elevated the importance of at least hearing out such a plan.

“It’s remarkable how little people care, or seem to care, about buses,” he said. “Rural areas need transport, but that doesn’t seem to be ever something that translates into votes and therefore doesn’t get a lot of attention.”


symbol of the sovereignty of Canada.” But beavers don’t immediately conjure up warm feelings among all Canadians.

Property owners struggle to keep their land from being flooded by the industrious creatures, and their dams sometimes lead to dangerous highway washouts. This week, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Saskatchewan found a pile of fence posts that had been reported as stolen incorporated into a beaver dam.

please email me directly and include your contact information and where you live. Please don’t labor over the note, I’ll be interviewing everyone who has a story that will fit with the article.


caught up with some of its artists. For one aerialist, Dan found that “the long pause had undermined his confidence, since he couldn’t rehearse his airborne routines. When he recently started retraining, he said, he discovered that he had lost his ‘muscle memory’ and felt afraid to be in the air.” Also be sure to check out this video presentation of the artists getting back to the unique line of work.

  • Four months after President Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, Canada is again at odds with the United States over another pipeline.

  • A prepandemic pregnancy means that Mandy Bujold, a top ranked boxer from Canada, may miss the Tokyo Olympics because of selection rule changes.

  • Tom Wilson, a Toronto native who plays for the Washington Capitals, is the talk of the N.H.L. for all the wrong reasons right now. Ben Shpigel reports that Wilson is the teammate that everyone wants and the opponent that everyone loves to hate. And Victor Mather has previewed the upcoming N.H.L. playoffs.

  • Jon Pareles writes that a new recording by the singer Allison Russell, a native of Montreal, delves into some dark places in her past and is “an album of strength and affirmation, not victimization.”


  • A native of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has reported about Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.


    How are we doing?
    We’re eager to have your thoughts about this newsletter and events in Canada in general. Please send them to nytcanada@nytimes.com.

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    Years of Unheeded Warnings. Then the Subway Crash Mexico City Had Feared.

    MEXICO CITY — The capital had been bracing for the disaster for years.

    Ever since it opened nearly a decade ago, the newest Mexico City subway line — a heralded expansion of the second largest subway system in the Americas — had been plagued with structural weaknesses that led engineers to warn of potential accidents. Yet other than a brief, partial shutdown of the line in 2014, the warnings went unheeded by successive governments.

    On Monday night, the mounting problems turned fatal: A subway train on the Golden Line plunged about 50 feet after an overpass collapsed underneath it, killing at least 24 people and injuring dozens more.

    The accident — and the government’s failure to act sooner to fix known problems with the line — immediately set off a political firestorm for three of the most powerful people in Mexico: the president and the two people widely believed to be front-runners to succeed him as leaders of the governing party and possibly, the country.

    told reporters through sobs. “I can’t find him anywhere.”

    Hours later, her 13-year-old son, Brandon Giovani Hernández Tapia, was still missing.

    told reporters gathered at the crash site on Tuesday. “The metro wasn’t built on its own — this flaw has been there for a long time and no one did anything.”

    A total of 79 injured people had been taken to hospitals, three of whom later died, according to Claudia Sheinbaum, the mayor of Mexico City. Among those hospitalized were three minors.

    Mexico City’s water problems and its subway system, a key mode of transportation for the sprawling capital’s population of nearly 22 million.

    In the aftermath of Monday’s disaster, two of Mr. López Obrador’s closest allies came under immediate scrutiny: Ms. Sheinbaum, the capital’s mayor, and Marcelo Ebrard, the foreign minister who was mayor when the new subway line opened. Both are presumed to be top contenders to run for the presidency when Mr. López Obrador, limited to one term, steps down in 2024.

    The new line, which serves the working-class neighborhoods in the capital’s southeast, was built by Mr. Ebrard, who was mayor of Mexico from 2006 to 2012. He was accused by critics of rushing to finish construction before his term concluded in an effort to bolster his political legacy. Troubles emerged immediately.

    In just the first month after the line was inaugurated, there were 60 mechanical failures on trains or on tracks, according to local media. Trains had to slow down over elevated stretches of track, because engineers feared derailments. About a year later, the city was forced to temporarily shut down part of the $2 billion line for repairs.

    transport authorities reported “a structural fault” in one of the metro line’s supporting columns, which had affected its ability to support heavy weight.

    In 2018, senators from the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party called for Mexico City authorities to inform Congress about irregularities in the funding of the subway line’s expansion. In an official party document, the opposition lawmakers called the Golden Line a “symbol of corruption and the misuse of public resources that prevailed during that administration.”

    The lawmakers cited a congressional inquiry into the faulty line which found that “the modifications to the basic engineering, to the original layout with the change of underground stations to elevated stations, severely affected the technical operating conditions” of the subway line.

    Residents living near the scene of the accident said government workers had fixed the column shortly after the earthquake. But they expressed doubt about the quality of the reconstruction, after seeing how many shutdowns and maintenance issues the line had over the years.

    Hernando Manon, 42, was walking home from work Monday night when he felt a tremor and heard a loud crash a few hundred yards up the street.

    “There was a rumbling and then sparks. The lights went out, and we didn’t know what happened. Then we heard the sirens,” Mr. Manon said, standing just a few hundred yards from the site of the accident. “As we approached, we realized that the subway had collapsed.”

    Families rushed to the scene, he said, hoping to find their loved ones and yelling at the police demanding to be let through the cordon they had erected around the wreckage.

    2018-2030 Master Plan for the subway system detailed major backlogs to the maintenance of tracks and trains and warned that trains could be derailed on the Golden Line unless major repairs were undertaken. It is unclear whether those needed repairs were ever carried out.

    Since becoming mayor of the capital in 2018, Ms. Sheinbaum, who is closely aligned with the president’s pursuit of austerity, has presided over cuts to spending on the subway system.

    For a year, the city did not appoint a director of infrastructure maintenance for the subway system. Ms. Sheinbaum only filled the role last week.

    two subway trains collided in Mexico City. Then in January, a fire ripped through the subway’s headquarters in downtown Mexico City, killing a police officer and sending 30 others to hospital.

    At a news conference on Tuesday, both Ms. Sheinbaum and Mr. Ebrard faced harsh questioning from reporters. Publicly, at least, the two political heavyweights presented a united front.

    “We are in agreement to get to the bottom of this and work together to find the truth and know what caused this incident,” Ms. Sheinbaum said.

    “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” Mr. Ebrard said. “Like anyone else, I am subject to whatever the authorities determine, but even more so as a high-level official, as someone who promoted the construction of the line.”

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    Seven Infrastructure Problems in Urgent Need of Fixing

    Engineers say that when infrastructure works, most people do not even think about it. But they recognize it when they turn on a faucet and water does not come out, when they see levees eroding or when they inch through traffic, the driver’s awareness of the highway growing mile after creeping mile.

    President Biden has announced an ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure plan that would pump huge sums of money into improving the nation’s bridges, roads, public transportation, railways, ports and airports.

    The plan faces opposition from Republicans and business groups, who point to the enormous cost and the higher corporate taxes that Mr. Biden has proposed to pay for it.

    Still, leaders in both parties have long seen infrastructure as a possible unifying issue. Urban and rural communities, red and blue states, the coasts and the middle of the country: All are confronting weak and faltering infrastructure.

    plagued by delays and cancellations, with similar problems affecting railways along the Northeast Corridor.

    bridge has remained a source of frustration. Rusty and creaky, it has been listed as “functionally obsolete” in the federal bridge inventory since the 1990s, and it has a history of bottlenecks and crashes.

    There is a $2.5 billion plan to fix the bridge and build a new one alongside it, but in Covington, Ky., some have expressed worries about the proposal. The mayor told The Cincinnati Enquirer that it was an “existential threat,” citing the size of the proposed bridge (some traffic would still cross over the old one, as well).

    told local reporters at a news conference on Wednesday. “Hopefully somewhere in the bowels of this multitrillion bill, there’s a solution.”

    Puerto Rico

    a serious earthquake on Jan. 7.

    The collapse brought attention to the more than 600 schools on the island that shared a “short column” architectural design, which makes them vulnerable to tremors. Teachers and parents were wary of reopening, and the schools with that design risk remain closed. Children who had gone to them are still learning remotely.

    In addition, nearly 60 schools were closed after inspections following the earthquakes showed structural deficiencies. About 25 had “persistent” problems that predated the earthquake and its aftershocks, Puerto Rico’s education secretary told The New York Times last year.

    residents went weeks with a boil notice in place.

    The water crisis inflamed enduring tensions in Jackson, ones that grip many communities where white residents have fled and tax bases have evaporated. The city has old and broken pipes. It does not have the funding to repair them. City officials estimated that modernizing Jackson’s water infrastructure could cost $2 billion.

    The storm also caused power failures for millions of people across Texas, which has prompted lawmakers there to weigh an overhaul of the state’s electric infrastructure. At least 111 people died as a result of the storm, according to state officials, and it also caused widespread property damage and left some residents to face huge electric bills.

    conclusions were stark: A historic flooding event had caught up with years of underfunding and neglect.

    The country has roughly 91,000 dams, a majority of which are more than 50 years old, and many are an exceptional rainfall away from potential disaster. As dams have aged, the weather has grown more severe, rendering old building standards outdated and creating conditions that few considered when many of the dams were built.

    Residential development has also steadily spread into once rural areas that lie downstream from the weakening infrastructure. According to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, about 15,600 dams in the country would most likely cause death and extensive property damage if they failed. Of those, more than 2,330 are considered deficient, the group said.

    is not likely to let up soon, given new weather patterns driven by climate change. And some of the officials whose towns and cities were most affected by the 2019 floods are adamant: Simply refurbishing levees is not going to work anymore.

    “Levees aren’t going to do it,” said Colin Wellenkamp, the executive director of Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative, an association of 100 mayors along the Mississippi River. His group presented a plan to the White House last month detailing a “systemic solution” to flooding. It includes replacing wetlands, reconnecting backwaters to the main river and opening up areas for natural flooding.

    A plan that simply replaces infrastructure, rather than rethinking what it encompasses, will be ineffective and ultimately unaffordable, Mr. Wellenkamp said. He is not sure whether his group’s proposals have been folded into the Biden plan. But he sees little choice.

    “This is a losing game unless we incorporate other, larger solutions,” he said.

    Campbell Robertson and Frances Robles contributed reporting.

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