Editorial Archive

More riders, more service planned for 2014

11/15/13 6:00 AM

Next week, the TTC Board will consider staff’s recommendations for the 2014 Budget – both Operating (day-to-day) and Capital (long-term, state of good repair, and expansion). The TTC is at a critical crossroads in its journey to modernize the TTC and to support the Five-Year Corporate Plan that will transform the transit system into one that makes Toronto proud.

As I have previously commented, the TTC must rise to the challenge of ever-increasing, and record-setting, customer numbers within the tightest financial constraints of any transit system in North America. Over the past two years, the TTC has cut internal costs and lived within a frozen subsidy despite this ongoing, annual growth.

With ridership expected to hit a record 540 million trips in 2014, and with the demands on our Wheel-Trans service continuing to grow, the TTC is seeking an increase to its subsidy from the City of Toronto that will cover the cost of the additional service that is required to meet demand.

The subsidy increase that the City has proposed still leaves a sizeable shortfall in funding, however. This means that fares will have to increase, but will be kept within the rate of inflation – five cents. At the same time, the TTC will continue to seek efficiencies inside the organization, while also improving service on the street.

The TTC’s Capital Budget is equally challenging. There is an urgent need for an additional $2.7 billion in funding over the next 10 years to enable the TTC to maintain the existing network in a state of good repair, but also to build new capacity. At present, the City, which funds the TTC’s Capital Budget, cannot afford this. The TTC and City together will establish a high-level task force to lobby both the provincial and federal governments to seek long-term, sustainable and predictable funding for the TTC’s ongoing, and growing, needs.

The budget report to be presented next week can be found at ttc.ca under Public Meetings. The report provides a detailed explanation of what is being asked, and why it is necessary to keep the TTC moving. The public meeting, should you wish to attend, starts at 1 p.m. at City Hall this Mon., Nov. 18.

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