The TTC's Board today approved a 2021 operating budget that protects priority bus service while freezing fares next year.
"The 2021 Operating Budget approved by the TTC Board today reflects our commitment to providing high-quality, demand-responsive service to our riders through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond," said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson. "By freezing fares and increasing bus service where it is needed most, we are ensuring that the TTC remains a safe, reliable, and accessible option for Torontonians."
The $2.15 billion operating budgets for both conventional and Wheel-Trans services holds the line on the city subsidy at 2020's subsidy at $789.8 million. Pandemic-related costs are estimated to be $796.4 million next year.
"The 2021 TTC budget protects our current system and will make sure we are putting more service on our busiest routes during the pandemic," said Mayor John Tory. "With the provincial and federal governments through the Safe Restart agreement, the City is doing everything possible to keep our system safe, accessible and efficient. This budget also freezes fares to keep transit affordable - something we know residents need right now. Thank you to the TTC and commissioners for approving this budget which will keep our transit system strong and ready to help our city build back better."
The budget allows for a slight increase in bus service to 101 per cent of pre-pandemic levels while providing for flexibility to match service with demand at the individual route level. Streetcar, subway and Wheel-Trans service will be maintained at modified 2020 levels but can be restored to 2020 budgeted levels later in 2021 as ridership increases.
"We are protecting services where they are needed most while keeping the cost of transit affordable by freezing fares, which is the right thing to do given the economic toll the pandemic has taken on our customers and residents across this great city," said TTC CEPO Rick Leary.
In addition to flexible, demand-based service, the 2021 operating budget includes funding for:
- Vehicle maintenance programs to ensure repairs are completed proactively prior to failure, to maintain strong, safe vehicle performance.
- Diversity and inclusion initiatives contained in the Embrace Diversity Action Plan, including enhanced training for all employees and diversity outreach programs designed to ensure that the TTC's workforce is representative of the community it serves.
- Improvements to call wait times for Wheel Trans customers through the implementation of call overflow service.
- Provision of capacity for business continuity and emergency management operations;
- Preparation for ModernTO and cybersecurity implementation;
- Preparations for Line 5 Eglinton LRT operations which opens in 2022.
- Other initiatives such as work on service integration with regional partners and an automated shuttle service, helping ensure the TTC is ready for and resilient to changes in the future.
The TTC Board also approved the 2021 Capital Budget plan of $1.32 billion, including $902.7 million for Infrastructure projects and $411.8 million for Vehicle projects. Consistent with the 10-year Capital Plan, more than 60 per cent is dedicated to state of good repair funding while the balance enables the TTC to begin or continue work on critical service improvement projects and complete vehicle related procurements.