The TTC monthly report of ridership and budget performance tells us that riding is up 3.8% over last year and 2% over budget. Total riding for 2007 is now projected at 462-million.
However, much of this growth has come through increased Metropass usage, and the average fare has actually fallen by 3.6 cents as the “free” additional Metropass trips dilute the overall revenue. As a result, there is no change in the projected total revenue for the year.
This year, we passed an important point in the evolution of fares on the TTC — over half of the adult fares are now paid by Metropass rather than by tickets, tokens or cash. This has strong implications for ridership because the “free” extra rides a pass offers cement a rider’s choice of the TTC for their travel. Moreover, proposals to implement any new fare system must meet the Metropass test for simplicity and cost.
The TTC plans service improvements and better loading standards for fall 2007, and details of this will probably appear soon given the lead time for implementing schedule changes. With better service will come more riding. Let’s hope that Council is prepared to pay for more improvements in years to come.