TTC Proposes 2010 Fare Increase (Updated)

Updated 11:10 pm November 4:

The TTC has confirmed that existing Metropass subscribers will not pay at the new rate until their renewal comes around.  For example, if your annual renewal is in June, you will pay at the old rate up to and including the May pass.  If your renewal date is January, then you will get the increase as soon as it comes into effect.

New subscriptions are now being taken effective January 2010, and so they will be at the new rate, whatever it winds up being.

Original post:

TTC staff propose that fares rise effective January 3, 2010.

Table of 2010 Fare Increases

As expected, the Metropass takes the brunt of the increase.  Passholders will see their prices go up 16% on Monthly Discount Plan (MDP) subscription, slightly less otherwise.   The token rate will go up only 11.1%.

I am sure that we will hear that 11% figure a lot in the coming weeks even though the primary way adult fares are collected today is by passes.  Any politician who tries to duck that 16% figure deserves to be called out for misrepresentation.

This change represents a triumph of the bean counters, who have always hated passes and regard them as a drain on the system, over equitable increase in TTC fares.  Reducing the fare multiple (the number of token fares represented by a pass) was an integral part of the Ridership Growth Strategy, and the TTC is now moving backward.

Metropass users are loyal, and those who have subscriptions don’t have the option of changing quickly anyhow.  The “elasticity” of this market, as modellers like to say, is quite favourable to the TTC, at least in the short term.

How long into 2010 will it take for staff to tell us that they have still underestimated the use of Metropasses, that the average fare is below their projections, and that for 2011 we must again raise the multiple?  After all it started out at 52 for everyone (there was no MDP in 1980).  Why not just turn the clock back 30 years?

I have no doubt the Commission will endorse what the staff have proposed.  We have been softened up for this announcement for weeks, and the TTC would not issue a press release about it without fair cartainty that the proposal would go through.

There is no question that the TTC needs a fare increase to balance its books.  However, there has been no public discussion about changing the long-range policy of bringing the pass price down relative to tokens.  What other parts of the Ridership Growth Strategy will we abandon next?

We will get a perfunctory debate at the TTC’s November 17 meeting.  There will be much hand-wringing, but in the end I expect the very Commissioners, the “left wing”, are more likely to support their Chair and the staff proposal rather than talk about “fairness” in the fare structure.

Maybe Admiral Adam can explain on his new TV program starting tomorrow night (November 5, 8 pm on CP24) why the TTC will bump Metropass fares so disproportionately.  His constituency should be the people, the transit riders, of Toronto, not his management staff.

St. Clair Follies Fall 2009 Update

Word reached me this morning that plans for the St. Clair car continue to fall short of announcements, and that design screwups are still with us.

Opening to Keele

Although service will be extended to Earlscourt Loop at Lansdowne on December 20, service to Gunn’s loop is not expected to resume until August 2010.  The reason for this is that construction delays and design changes have pushed work well into the winter, when it is impractical and/or very expensive, and the west end of the line won’t be finished until good weather returns in the spring.

Oakwood Loop

This loop will not be available for streetcars because the overhead fittings are not available.  The TTC has been building the overhead on St. Clair to be fully pantograph compliant.  Why?  Because at some distant future time, they actually think St. Clair will become part of the Transit City network operating with Transit City cars from Black Creek Carhouse.

There is no connection between St. Clair and Eglinton, but this would be included in the Jane LRT.  There are two small problems:

  • The Jane LRT is not yet funded, and is unlikely to open before 2020.  Current plans show 2016, but that date assumed a more generous ongoing source of transit capital than we now have.  Moreover, it is unclear whether the southern part of the Jane route will be underground, and this would affect an interchange with an extended St. Clair route.  Indeed, the Jane route may never extend south of Eglinton and could operate as a branch off of the Eglinton LRT. 
  • There is a strong possibility that the Transit City network will be built to standard gauge.  If so, its cars will not be able to operate over the TTC gauge St. Clair route.

It is unclear whether the TTC is attempting to sever the St. Clair route from the rest of the “legacy” system to avoid operations on the Bathurst Street hill.

Dufferin & St. Clair

This intersection was the source of much debate during design.  At one point, the eastbound stop was going to be nearside due to constraints on the sidewalk a farside stop would entail.  However, the desire for a left turn lane east-to-north prevailed, and the stop was built farside.

There is a small problem.  The platform is wide enough (it was built extra-wide in anticipation of heavy use at this stop) and the roadway narrow enough that large vehicles cannot easily make the north-to-east turn.  The brand new stop will be rebuilt and narrowed so that the intersection can work properly.

A similar problem lurks in the design for St. Clair and Old Weston Road where the farside westbound island will constrain the ability of Keele buses to make the south-to-west turn.  Why the 41 Keele is not permanently rerouted via Rogers and Weston Road is a mystery (the express branch uses this route already, and there have been construction diversions of the local service).  The 168 Symington would continue to provide frequent service on Old Weston Road.