Editorial Archive

Service levels maintained as TTC budget approved by Board

11/25/16 6:00 AM

Earlier this week (Nov. 21), the TTC Board met to consider the 2017 budget.

This was always going to be a tough budget. As with other City departments and agencies, the TTC was required to find savings equivalent to 2.6 per cent of its 2016 subsidy, including absorption of all year-over-year cost increases. For the TTC, this meant a daunting opening budget shortfall of $231 million.

Over the summer, staff here looked at every possible way to close the gap without impacting customers. I was determined to achieve three objectives: to protect service; to protect the improvements that we have delivered over the past five years; and to minimize the need for a fare increase.

That said, the TTC only has two ways to balance its books: through fares and via City subsidy. If subsidy is unable to cover costs, then a fare increase has to be considered.

After a vigorous public debate on Monday, where many riders were heard, the TTC Board approved a budget and a 10-cent fare increase for 2017. The Board, it should be noted, also directed there be no fare increase in 2018.

I fully recognize that it is a big ask to have riders pay more, but you will see service improvements.

In addition to the ongoing rollout of PRESTO and new streetcars, a new signalling system for Line 1 Yonge-University and the Spadina subway extension are on the horizon. We also won budget approval to purchase nearly 800 new buses over the next two years.

The budget now goes to City Council to debate. I will keep you posted.

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