As the TTC mulls a $66 million funding shortfall, one measure which may save the commission $5 million will not be popular with rush-hour riders. Currently, the TTC has service standards which require the commission to add vehicles to a route if the number of riders per vehicle during rush hour exceeds certain levels. On buses, 52 passengers per vehicle trigger another vehicle; CLRVs are expected to hold 75, and ALRVs 108. Crowds are already a fact of life on many TTC routes during rush hour, but by budgeting in an acceptance of those crowds, the Commission could theoretically pack in more fares per vehicle.
According to this report in the Globe and Mail, Joe Mihevc has admitted that the TTC resorted to this late last year, when six million more passengers rode the TTC than expected, despite the fact that the TTC’s Ridership Growth Strategy calls for additional buses and streetcars to generate just such traffic. Howard Moscoe assures us that the TTC won’t be hiring “honourable pushers” as is the case on the Tokyo subway, but without some other way to close the $66 million gap, riders are going to have to expect to pay more for less space.
If the newly elected Conservative government expects their transit fare tax credit to be the only thing they need to do to improve public transportation in this country, this fact should illustrate the folly of that philosophy as it applies to Toronto. However, Toronto, the TTC and Torontonians could do more to make any additional transit funding count, obtaining its additional riders more efficiently. Blogger James Koole has some interesting thoughts on this. Perhaps more workplaces in Toronto should embark on staggered hours. Commuters who manage to work from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. do have an easier ride home. This recalls an earlier campaign the TTC embarked on during the late 70s and 80s.
The more things change, the more the stay the same.
(Update: Friday, January 27): TTC Commissioners considered this report during their meeting this past Wednesday and ultimately rejected it, according to this CBC report.