How Many People Work For The TTC? (Update 2)

Updated February 21 at 8:20 pm:

I have now assembled data on the TTC workforce going back from 2007 to 1990 and have, I believe, created as good a presentation of this as we are likely to see.  Some readers may not agree.  That’s their option.

There are two problems in going back over a long series of data like this:

  1. There were fundamental changes in the way the TTC reported its staffing over the period 1990-1996.  Some of this arose from structural reorganization, some from changes in accounting practices.  The numbers must be adjusted to place them on an equal footing.
  2. Many people worked on capital projects on a contract basis either directly for the TTC or for companies engaged by them.  This is particularly the case for major design projects such as subways and new buildings.  These people do not show up in TTC headcounts.

I have produced two charts which show the relationship of staff, budget allocation area and riding over the period 1990-2007.  (2008 and 2009 will be added when I dig out details for those years.)

TTC Workforce and Riding 1990-2007

The first chart shows the major groups of employees:

  • Operations:  These departments are responsible for running service and maintaining vehicles and infrastructure.  For 1990-91, the engineering staff are included in this number.
  • Wheel Trans (W/T):  There is an anomalous drop in 1995 which I suspect is an error, but the value used comes from the budget for that year.  The staff reappear in 1996.
  • Administration:  These departments are a separate branch only until 1993.  Thereafter, they are rolled into the respective branches which they support.  The jump in “operations” in 1994 reflects the assignment of most of “administration” to that group.
  • Capital:  Starting in 1992, the engineering staff were reported separately from plant maintenance, and I have assigned them to “capital”.  A few years later, the capital staff for all departments were identified explicitly in the budgets.
  •  Toronto Coach Terminal Inc. (TCTI):  This is the Bay Street bus terminal whose staff were formerly reported separately.  TCTI is all that remains of the old Gray Coach Lines Ltd.

The second chart shows the annual ridership and the ratio of riders to “operations” staff.  A few important points:

  • For the years when “administration” was a separate branch (until 1993), the headcount is included pro-rata in “operations” for the purpose of calculating the ratio.  (The “pro-rata” allocation is based on the apparent redistribution of the admin staff in 1994, a year when nothing else changed much.)
  • Ridership follows a long decline to its nadir in 1996 by which time the TTC had managed to lose 100m riders relative to its high point in 1988.  Reports from the early 90s when management talks about stopping the downward spiral make sobering reading when we consider what actually happened.
  • The ratio of rides to operations staff followed the same trend from 1990-92.  This indicates that riding was falling, but staffing was not on a proportionate basis.  Thereafter, due to staff cuts, the ratio rose until 2,000.  From 2003 onward, both ridership and rides/staff have grown indicating that staff is not increasing as fast as ridership.
  • The ratio of rides to operations staff in 2007 is slightly higher than in 1990.

During this period, new groups were formed to deal with a number of safety issues and transit policing.  Moreover, there was a recognition after the 1995 subway crash at Russell Hill that “state of good repair” needed serious attention.  This corresponds to the point where the capital workforce begins to grow.  More recently, other projects such as the subway extensions, Transit City and station renewal have come into play.

Another issue is the distribution of increases between management and front line staff.  A 2007 TTC report on workforce history gives this breakdown for 1997-2007.  It also includes a description of the additions to salaried positions (broadly speaking management and administration) over the decade.  (The report in question is part of the TTC meeting agenda for September 12, 2007.  However, these appendices are not included with the online version.)

1997-2007 Workforce

1997-2007 Salaried Staff Increases

In the Operations group, the number of salaried staff rose from 1,553 to 1,805, or 16%.  During the same period, the number of hourly-paid staff (union positions, almost all operators and maintenance workers) rose from 6,963 to 8,030, or 15%. 

The proportionate increases in the Capital group were larger (55% in management/admin, 249% in hourly).  Some may argue that “operations” staff and costs are being hidden in the Capital budget.  Some shift may be happening, but I don’t believe that is the entire explanation.  Without a detailed review of TTC staff allocations over many years and the assignment of projects as “operations” or “capital”, this is a very difficult question to answer.  Certainly, it is worthwhile understanding how these numbers evolve for future years’ budgets.

The original material in this post follows the break.  It should be read with care in light of the more detailed figures I have presented above. Continue reading