Budget Cut Update

The City of Toronto has announced a number of budget cuts intended to reduce this year’s operating costs and providing a contribution to the shortfall in 2008.  Details can be found in the City’s news release.

Agencies such as the Toronto Police and the TTC whose budgets are managed by separate boards will be up for discussion at future meetings, although some dollar figures are shown in the City announcement.

The TTC will hold a special meeting on September 12 to discuss the budget situation.  (Note that this is addition to the regular meeting on September 19.)  At that point, we may learn more about the options actually under consideration depending on whether or not the City resolves its budgetary shortfall.

In the news release, the City is asking that the Province resume permanent operating budget support for the TTC.  However it is unclear whether this is a request to return to the old Bill Davis formula (68% farebox, 16% Queen’s Park, 16% City) or some other arrangement.

3 thoughts on “Budget Cut Update

  1. I’m seeing a disappointing trend where I work, which may be indicative of a trend we are about to see throughout Toronto. When our company moved to our present office at Kennedy/Sheppard four years ago, all employees were given the option of free parking or free metropasses. While the majority took the free parking, a higher number than expected decided to take the free metropass. Some of these people were new to transit, and it was an encouraging sign.

    However, over the past year I have noticed a slow but certain change; every month, a few people sign up for the free parking and give up their metropass. What’s disturbing is that even as a FREE service, people at my office are giving up on transit in favour of driving to work. I think that’s a good way to sum up existing TTC service on surface routes – it’s not even attractive to some people as a free service! The postponement of service increases in September is a real shame, but if the City’s budget problems result in service cuts, transit ridership will likely plummet. Heck, if service on the 43 gets any worse during the school year (when thousands of students heading up to one of three highschools on the route result in packed buses, long waits and inconsistent service), I’ll probably start driving to work too.


  2. I had a scary experience yesterday on the 43 Kennedy bus. As it pulled up to the stop in front of my office at about 4:30pm, I noticed it was packed, as usual. Only a few people at the stop were able to get on, myself included. As soon as I boarded, I noticed there was quite a commotion at the back of the bus. Apparently, the bus driver had been asking partons to move to the back of the bus “since Finch”, and a few people were yelling that the back was already full (in very colourful language). The driver started yelling back, and said that if people didn’t shut up she’d kick everyone off the bus. Moments later, when the bus was at the 401 and the commotion continued, she stopped, got up and yelled that it wasn’t her fault there weren’t enough buses on the route or that her bus was so packed. People kept yelling back at her, with one guy saying that if she and other TTC workers took a paycut, maybe they could afford to buy more buses. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! Anyway, she then threatened not to pick up the people who were yelling, saying that she’d remember their faces tomorrow. One guy said not to worry, he was going to drive from now on.

    Anyway, the yelling back and forth continued for another minute, with the bus stopped at the 401, and she then opened the doors for everyone to get out. Needless to say, no one did. So she just sat there, while the yelling and the tension increased. Finally, a few of us who had just gotten on the bus told her that the situtation would just escalate even more if she didn’t start driving, and so she reluctantly closed the doors and started to drive. She made it a point to brake real hard at the first stop, throwing a few people around. As people got off at Antrim and then Progress, more expletives were thrown back and forth, and a fight very nearly broke out when one guy refused to move to let someone get by to get off the bus.

    By Ellesmere, I had had enough and got off the bus, walked to Ellesmere station and took the RT down to Kennedy station. From what I could tell, I got to Kennedy before that bus did, so who knows what happened after I got off.

    Service cuts, you say? Maybe Miller needs to take a ride on the 43 one day to see what the impact would be for himself. Not everyone has the luxury of using the subway exclusively – most people need to use a bus for at least part of the route, and significant service increases are needed, not reductions. I’m not looking forward to the ride home today. Maybe I’ll just walk the 20 minutes to Ellesmere station…


  3. Steve: On the Hong Kong MTR, i saw that all the tunnels don’t have lights, maybe if we remove all the lights, we can save alot of money from electricity, since TTC always uses money on the pointless things…and if TTC was a way to make money, not as a government service, could it be as good as MTR & Tokyo Metro?

    Steve: The cost of lighting the tunnels is peanuts out of the total operating budget, and the lighting is there for TTC workers walking through the tunnel and for emergency evacuation, among other reasons.

    Oddly enough, it is not impossible for a government service to make money — just look at the LCBO or the Lottery Corporation. We choose not to make money on transit because we consider it a public service. Moreover, if we had the kind of population density HK or Tokyo do, we wouldn’t have to worry about how to serve lightly populated areas without losing a fortune.


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