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Toronto Transit Commission - Customer priorities are the focus of Ridership Growth Strategy

TORONTO, March 12 /CNW/ - The March 19th Commission meeting will review a staff report on a Ridership Growth Strategy.

In terms of attracting new riders, customer research in Toronto and elsewhere has consistently shown that the public wants fast, reliable, comfortable, convenient service, and this is the focus of the ridership growth strategy.

“With more buses and dedicated right-of-ways for buses and streetcars, TTC ridership will grow,” said Rick Ducharme, TTC Chief General Manager. “In addition, the city must implement extended parking and left-turn restrictions on major transit routes and encourage denser development on transit corridors,” said Ducharme.

“If you can’t offer a seat, comfortable standing room or frequent service…you could give it away free and people won’t ride,” said Rick Ducharme.

The ridership growth strategy includes the following:

  • Implementing the pro-transit policies, regulations, enforcement and principles from the city’s Official Plan.
  • Expanding the bus fleet by 100 additional buses and a 10% increase in peak period service on crowded routes when the additional vehicles are delivered, likely in 2006.
  • Increased off-peak service on major routes in 2004 with furtherincreases between 2005 and 2008.
  • A staged program of construction of surface rapid transit facilities on major corridors beginning in 2004.
  • Expansion of commuter parking in surface lots.
  • Installation of additional transit signal priority equipment on an ongoing basis.
  • Proceeding with the VIP Green Pass fare discount program if the current test is successful.
  • A reduction in the cost of Metropasses by $5 in 2005.
  • Increasing the capacity of the Scarborough RT.
  • A reduction in fares, in real terms, in 2006/2007.

All of these recommendations will cost added capital and operating subsidies, above and beyond current subsidy levels.

“Until long-term funding issues are addressed, these investments, although worthy, remain elusive,” said Rick Ducharme.

“We need only look back to the 70’s and 80’s when a senior level of government made investments in public transit infrastructure and TTC ridership increased by almost 200 million annual rides,” said Ducharme.

For further information: Marilyn Bolton, (416) 393-3741