Editorial Archive

TTC achieves 2.6 per cent budget reduction for 2017

9/23/16 6:00 AM

Earlier this week, the TTC Board budget sub-committee met to consider the TTC’s preliminary operating budget for 2017.

Along with every other City department and agency, the TTC has been tasked by Council to find a 2.6 per cent reduction in its operating budget from that which was approved for 2016. For the TTC, this meant finding just under $16 million. I am pleased to tell you that the TTC has achieved that without impacting service by finding further efficiencies in how it operates.

This budget is particularly challenging for a number of reasons. Cost pressures include lower-than-expected ridership on what we call the conventional system, but soaring ridership on our Wheel-Trans network. While ridership on the conventional system is still up compared to last year, it has not reached the level that we forecast based on prevailing economic forecasts, meaning that overall revenue is down. The surge in Wheel-Trans ridership, meanwhile, adds considerable cost.

Other cost drivers in 2017 include increases in what the TTC has to pay for fuel and other utilities, the need to recruit staff ready for the opening of the Spadina subway extension and the progressive conversion to the PRESTO smart card, for which the TTC pays a fee.

In its meeting on Sept. 21, the TTC Board sub-committee endorsed the initiatives we have undertaken so far, and asked the TTC to draw up options to address the remaining year-over-year budget pressures of $172 million for consideration later this year.

While this is a daunting challenge, we know we have to continue to find every possible efficiency to close this budget gap. As CEO, I am determined to minimize the impact on service and fares and I will keep you updated as the budget unfolds.

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