Editorial Archive

Letter from the Chief Executive

Commission seal 12/15/19 8:36 AM

The following is a letter from CEO Rick Leary sent to Commissioners on December 13, 2019.

TTC 2020 Budgets

Dear Commissioners,

You will have just received the TTC’s 2020 Operating and Capital Budgets for Monday’s meeting (December 16).

Let me first apologize for the lateness in getting you this information, but it was important to get it right before sending it to you. I want to acknowledge and thank CFO Josie La Vita and her staff for their hard work.

On the operating side, our recommended budget preserves all of the service the TTC currently offers, including all of those improvements delivered over the past five years – things like the 10-minute or better network, expansions to Express bus and Blue Night services, capacity improvements on the surface and subway networks, reductions in short-turns, and the two-hour transfer and kids ride free initiatives.

2020 Operating and Capital Budget reports

These are all improvements that our customers are seeing and feeling every day.

Also, this budget is about more than just preserving service. It’s about enhancing service and doing better; it’s about working smarter; it’s about being more inclusive and responding to reports from the City’s Ombudsman and Auditor General; it’s about making significant improvements to service reliability on our surface routes; and it’s about preparing the TTC for future demands and new service like Line 5 (Eglinton Crosstown).

As with every year, there are built-in pressures and cost of living increases for things like fuel and electricity and salaries – all just to preserve what we have.

As CEO, I am recommending we move beyond just preserving services.

At a time of increased growth and increased demand from a growing population, we need to respond in a way that supports our customers while being financially practical.

One of the ways this budget proposes doing that is by fully funding 128,000 hours of new service (2019 in-year adjustments as well as 2020 enhancements) and hiring 121 Operators to address more than two dozen of our busiest routes in areas where people are heavily reliant on buses.

We’ve already identified five routes for this improved service: 29/929 Dufferin, 35 Jane, 39/939 Finch East, 86/986 Scarborough and 37/937 Islington. These five routes alone are used by 160,000 people across the city every week day. Other routes will be identified throughout the year as we monitor our key performance indicators. This is the first of many steps in implementing the Five-Year Service Plan you approved yesterday (December 12).

Another way is through improvements at the Wheel-Trans call centre to put an end to unreasonable wait times our customers have had to endure.

We also, earlier this year, received two significant reports: one from the Ombudsman regarding inclusivity and equity, and another from the Auditor General on fare evasion. This budget addresses their recommendations with new training programs, the implementation of an anti-racism strategy, a new complaints process and 50 additional revenue protection staff.

But enhanced services for our customers come at a cost.

Our proposed Operating Budget for next year is $2.14 billion, an increase of nearly $85 million, or 4.1 per cent over 2019.

I am recommending covering that increase in three ways: revenue protection measures and cost recovery for service changes related to Metrolinx construction projects ($26.4 million), an increase in the City subsidy to $27 million (up 3.5 per cent from 2019) and a 10-cent increase on all fares except adult cash (to remain at $3.25) to generate $31.4 million.

I know a fare increase is never popular, but it will support the service we have and the proposed enhancements to support city building goals.

Commissioners, I hope you see these budgets as I do – as preserving and enhancing services to our customers while positioning the TTC for the future – and that you will give them your support on Monday.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
December 13, 2019

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