The Chief General Manager’s Report for January and February, 2007, tells us that riding is up 2.8 percent over 2006, and 1.0 percent over budget. Most of this growth came in February where riding was up 4.4 percent over last year. Metropass sales in February were 24 percent above the 2006 level.
The TTC has not, at this point, revised its ridership projection for 2007 which remains at the 454-million mark. However, the City clearly expects the TTC to do better than anticipated because the operating subsidy will be lower than the TTC’s initial request. Part of this will come from a reduction in the planned increase in the number of Special Constables, and part will come from as-yet unspecified savings or growth in revenue.
The strong Metropass sales are a double-edged sword depending on whether they represent a net increase in revenue (passengers trading up to a pass) or a decrease (passes attracting riders who now will pay less than previously, especially when pass transferability is taken into account).
Service improvements are planned for the fall, and the TTC hopes that these will “alleviate” overcrowding problems. I put that in quotation marks because, of course, we don’t yet know whether the new service will both absorb rising demand and permit implementation of the Ridership Growth Strategy improvements to loading standards. Moreover, the TTC has no plans for further RGS-based improvements, and only limited provision for fleet growth going into 2008.