Editorial Archive

TTC subsidy must rise to keep up with ridership

9/20/13 6:00 AM

This month, the TTC will carry its 29 billionth rider since its inception in 1921.

At the TTC, we are very proud of this milestone and of the fact that we are carrying record numbers each and every day – 1.7 million rides and rising. Our annual ridership has just surpassed 521 million (already topping last year’s record total) and as Toronto grows, that figure will rise to a predicted 540 million trips by the end of next year.

With rising ridership, however, comes increased cost as we work to keep up with demand. More riders means we need to add service, and that in turn means more vehicles, more Operators, expanded garage space and higher maintenance and fuel costs.

For the past two years, the TTC’s subsidy has been frozen while ridership has grown. This equates to a decrease in subsidy-per-rider of 16 per cent to a figure that is the lowest of any major North American or European transit system.

The TTC has found efficiencies within the organization to allow it to keep pace with service demand while focusing more clearly on basic customer care. We will continue to look for efficiencies, but a third successive year of a subsidy decrease is simply not tenable.

In this year’s budget negotiations with the City, I will make a strong argument for an increase to our subsidy that will enable us to maintain your service and also limit any fare increase to the rate of inflation.

Effective public transit benefits everyone. It is time to restore sustainable funding to keep Toronto moving.

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