Day Pass Rules Change

One aspect of the pending fare change that has received little publicity is the fact that the Day Pass will be valid all day long.  This will take effect concurrently with the other fare changes on April 1st, 2006.  Until then it’s tokens and tickets until 9:30 am.

We have Chair Howard Moscoe to thank for moving this amendment to the new fare schedule.

Sell By Distance or Sell By Volume? The Silver Lining of a Fare Increase

Effective on April Fool’s Day, TTC fares will go up again.  You all know my position:  if we have to choose between fare increases and service cuts, fares should take the hit.  Having said this, let’s look at the way the fare structure has subtly changed over the past two years.

For all practical purposes, the price of monthly and weekly passes is frozen because the proportional change in cost is much lower than that of tickets, tokens and the cash fare.  This brings us to a philosophical divide:

Should we reward people who ride the TTC a lot (counted by number of boardings) with cheaper fares because they buy passes, or should we reward people who travel short distances with cheaper fares based by distance or zones?

All transit systems reward frequent users with cheaper fares, and one can argue that passes make it possible to take many short trips without incurring the extra cost of a token for each one.  The flip side of this is that someone who rides a lot, but not enough to make a pass worthwhile, is hit by the fare increases while pass users are almost immune. Continue reading

TTC Fare Increase

Every year we go through a charade about who really is responsible for a fare increase, assuming we have one.  In the bad old days of Mayor Mel Lastman, the TTC and Chair Howard Moscoe made a big point of forcing this debate onto the floor at Council.  If Council was going to limit or cut TTC funding, then Council should make the decision.

Something strange has happened:  now the TTC is raising fares because those baddies on the Budget Advisory Committee won’t relent.  In years past, this would be laid at the feet of the mayor, but, oh dear, we have a different mayor, one we shouldn’t try to embarrass too much.  I’ll take Mayor David Miller over Mel Lastman any day, but he has to stop hiding in his office and say publicly where he stands on transit.

Transit and the Ridership Growth Strategy are key parts of the City’s budget (RGS is listed as one of the “strategic” points this year), and the Official Plan’s scheme for accommodating a growing population hinges on much more and better transit.  If David Miller doesn’t want to pay for it, he should say so.

This may be fobbed off as a one-year setback, a situation forced on us by the half-billion-dollar hole in the City budget.  Funny thing, those one-year setbacks, they keep coming back year after year, and programs that were just within reach fall away to the indefinite future.  Political fortunes change, an anti-transit regime gains control, and the reduced transit system becomes the new base from which even more cuts are demanded.

We have been here before. Continue reading

TTC Ridership Growth Strategy – Where Are We Now?

In March 2003, the TTC published its Ridership Growth Strategy. Although it’s hard to believe, this report is official TTC policy, but like many good ideas has always been subject to the constraints of budget and subsidy pressures.

Now we’re coming up on the third anniversary, and I thought this would be a good time to review what was in the RGS and to see just where we are in implementing parts of it.

Ridership Growth Strategy Review

A Rose By Any Other Name: Subway Station Beautification

Recently, the TTC received a proposal to retrofit three of its stations on the University subway line (Museum, St. Patrick and Osgoode) with major redesigns linked to the nearby palaces of culture:

  • Museum (self evident)
  • St. Patrick (Art Gallery of Ontario)
  • Osgoode (new opera house)

Word of this seeped into the press as one of those grand public-spirited gestures.  A foundation would raise money (tax deductible of course) and with this pool of loot would go forth and do good works.  You can read about it at

There is a catch.  There is always a catch. Continue reading

Flatlining the TTC

[This item has been expanded on February 5, 2006 with additional information about loading standards in the more section.] 

This item contains a copy, modified into a suitable format for easy downloading, of the TTC staff presentation on January 25, 2006.  This has been adapted from a Power Point file by stripping out all of the photos and converting the remainder to a PDF.  This will allow easy access to the material by readers and very substantially reduces the size of the file.

20060125 TTC Flatlining

Explanatory notes and comments about this presentation are at the end of this item.

Here is the presentation I made at the TTC meeting.  My recommendations have been sent to staff for comment.  The nub of the argument is that TTC needs to provide ongoing projections of the resources needed to handle various scenarios for growth in demand, rather than treating each year’s changes as a big surprise for which there is no room in the budget.

20060125 TTC Budget and Loading Standards

Continue reading

A Bold Initiative for Don Valley Transport

The City of Toronto has spent a lot of time thinking about possible ways to improve capacity in the Don Valley corridor.  One night, after a particularly good concert at Tafelmusik, a conversation ensued in front of Greg’s Ice Cream.  This evolved into a late evening flight of whimsy together with the realization that transit could be much better in Toronto, that we could fly ahead of the world in transit innovation.

If only we could get enough feathers.

Swans on the Don