TTC Operating Budget 2011 (Update 3)

This article provides additional details on the TTC’s 2011 Operating Budget including information in a presentation given at the January 12 meeting, but not available online.

Updated January 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm:

A table listing cost recoveries for Canadian transit systems has been added at the end of this article.

Updated January 15, 2011 at 10:30 am:

On January 14, the TTC made its presentation to the City’s Budget Committee.  The linked document covers all three budgets: operating, Wheel Trans and capital.

The budget information is reformatted into the standard layout for City departments and agencies starting at page 26.  A projection through 2012-13 on page 30 shows the estimated growth in revenue, expenses and subsidy requirements, and the effect of a fare freeze on total cost recovery.  (Note that the projections do not include the effect of cancelling the proposed 2011 fare increase.)

Much supporting detail that was included in the TTC’s own budget presentation on January 12 is not in this document.  The detailed presentation is still not available online.

I will comment on the Capital Budget in a separate article.

Updated January 14, 2011 at 9:45 am:

Information has been added to the “Cuts & Additions” section regarding the annual savings from proposed cuts and their value expressed on a per vehicle hour and per passenger basis.

[Original post from January 13 below]

Revenue/Cost Ratio

The TTC’s revenue/cost ratio continues to run well above that of other cities and for 2011 will be about 70%.  Farebox revenue for 2011 is budgeted to rise by about $53.5-million relative to the 2010 budget which underestimated ridership.  Actual farebox revenue for 2010 is expected to be $40m above budget and, therefore, almost 80% of the jump for 2011 is attributable to strong ridership in 2010.

Advertising revenue for 2011 is expected to rise from $15m in 2010 to $20m in 2011 as a direct result of the improving economy and stronger demand for ad space on transit vehicles.  This is an example of a revenue stream where the ebb and flow of income has a non-trivial effect on fare and subsidy debates, although it is rarely mentioned.

With a projected farebox revenue of $941.5m and expenses of $1,429.1m, the farebox will account for 65.88% of total expenses.  Other non-subsidy revenues will bring in $58.7m or 4.11% of the total.  The remaining 30.01% will come from city-funded operating subsidy.

Headcount

The question of TTC’s headcount comes up regularly, and this year management presented a comparison from 1992 (early in the 90s recession but not at its nadir) to 2011.

  • Operating workforce up 14.3% from 9,442 to 10,791
  • Service kilometres up 20.3% from 187.1m to 225.0m
  • Revenue hours up 20.3% from 6.9m to 8.3m
  • Passengers up 20.5% from 404.3m to 487.0m
  • Toronto population up 20.8% from 2.276m to 2.750m

The headcount does not include staff (or fractional staff) allocated to capital projects as these are paid from a separate budget.  However, as a reference year 1992 probably lags the full effect of the recession and staffing may not yet have fallen proportionately to service and riding.  Therefore the smaller increase coming back to 2011 as compared to service and demand may be a question of timing in the statistics as much as a reflection of system efficiencies.

Getting from the 2010 Budget to the 2011 Projection

In September 2010, TTC management projected an increase in costs for 2011 of $53m.  This budget gap was adjusted downward as follows:

  • Elimination of a provision for new public sector accounting standards: $20m.  This change has been agreed to by the City Manager and relates to the manner in which the TTC accounts for some future liabilities.  They will be booked in a manner that does not contribute to the operating deficit.
  • Service reallocations: $7m.  Instead of paying for new service with new money, the TTC proposed to shift service from little-used periods on some routes.  This topic has been covered elsewhere.
  • Station Managers program phasing: $6m.  This rollout of this program will be stretched out to reduce the cost in 2011.
  • Advertising revenue: $5m.  Discussed above.
  • Diesel fuel cost reduction: $3m.  In 2010, diesel fuel cost $14m less than expected.  Much of this saving is expected to be lost again in 2011, but the total price to be paid is still $3m below the 2010 budget level.
  • Elimination of 10 hour rest period for operators: $2m.  This brings TTC practice into line with the Labour Standards Act which requires than a driver have an 8-hour break between successive days’ work.
  • Elimination of costs for new Head Office:  $2m.  It is unclear whether this is simply a deferral, or if this suggests that something is afoot with the proposed Head Office move to Yonge & York Mills.
  • Elimination of Transit City Bus Plan:  $1m.  This would have been the beginning of the TCBP rollout in fall 2011.

The list above totals $46m.  This leaves $7m to be found, and this corresponds, allowing for rounding, with the “unspecified reduction” of $8m to cover revenue increases or cost savings as yet unknown.

Ridership & Service

Riding for 2010 was budgeted at 462m but actually came in at 477m.  TTC management expects an additional 8m rides due to economic and employment growth, 1m because there will not be a G20 in 2011, and 1m from the Post-Secondary Pass.  The proposed 10-cent fare increase would have generated a 4m projected loss of riding, but this is no longer included, resulting in a budgeted 487m rides.

The Service Budget was prepared on the basis of 483m rides, the target when the fare increase was still on the table.  It assumed that $7m worth of service with low demand would be replaced by an equivalent value of new service on routes requiring more capacity, but only for the last four months of 2011.

There are two problems with this scheme.  First, there is no mention of how the full $21m value of the new service will be funded in 2012.  Second, there is no provision for revenue lost from riders driven away by service cuts.

Part of the additional cost of service comes for the continued replacement of high-floor by low-floor buses.  According to the fleet summary (part of the regular TTC Service Summary), there remain 63 non-accessible high floor buses and 227 lift-equipped high-floors.  The design capacity of high floor vehicles is greater than the new low-floor buses, and as the fleet moves to 100% low floor, more service must be operated to provide the same capacity.

The continuing rise in traffic congestion drives changes in running times on affected routes, and this requires more vehicles to maintain service.  In 2011 this will be offset somewhat by a reduction in the provision for construction delays as the Federal and Provincial stimulus-related spending on roadwork will wind down from the high level in 2010.

Service Cuts and Additions

Although I have discussed this elsewhere, I didn’t include maps, and the only place that the TTC has identified the routes where improvements might happen is in the presentation material.  Here are maps of the route sections affected by proposed cuts and additions.

Projected cuts:

Projected additions:

Update January 14, 2011

The total vehicle hours to be saved by the service cuts is approximately 132k.  The dollar value of this is stated by the TTC as $7m, and this implies an allocated cost per vehicle hour of about $53.

The number of passengers to be affected annually is about 1.3-million.  This means that the cost per passenger is about $5.37.  Note that this is a gross cost before a route’s share of a passenger fare.  That number is impossible to calculate because there is no reliable way to subdivide passenger revenue among the routes in a flat fare, free transfer system.

The estimated passenger loss is about 276k per year.  At an average fare of, say, $1.90, this represents about $525k in lost revenue.  However, a lost late night trip may have a counterpart earlier in the day which also no longer uses transit.

In the motion deferring a decision on the service cuts, the Commission asked that staff “find other transportation alternatives”.  This is a thinly veiled reference to taxis and jitneys.  Considering that the cost just to get into a cab these days is over $4, I will be amused to see whether any company is ready to try to provide an “alternative” service at a net cost lower than what the TTC is paying already.  By comparison, the average cost per passenger for a Wheel Trans taxi trip is $30 although to be fair, these trips would tend to be longer and require more driver assistance than rides on the route segments removed under this proposal.

[End of update]

Details of the Expense Budget

Many changes affect the expense budget.  Normally, I would not write up so much detail, but given the level of interest in the minutia, here we go.

  • Collective Bargaining Agreements ($13m):
    • This includes $7m for the effect of the April 2010 3% wage increase carrying over into 2011.  Note that there is no provision for further wage increases, and funding of any settlement on a new contract will have to be handled by the TTC and City whenever that occurs.
    • $2m is added for Group Life benefits.
    • $4m is added for a 0.5% increase in the pension contribution rate.
  • Operator wage progression ($7m):
    • In 2009 there was a larger-than-normal amount of new operator hiring that is not duplicated in 2011.  The “bulge” in new hires has now reached the seniority level where they are paid at the top rate, and there is no offsetting block of new operators coming in at the starting rate.  The average cost/hour for operators will go up as a result.
  • Other employee costs ($18m):
    • This category includes a variety of existing benefits whose cost rises with the number of employees, the utilization of the benefits (e.g. drug and dental insurance), growth of post-employment benefits and higher employer payroll costs for CPP and EI.
    • The base budget for this area, collectively, is about $250m meaning that the increase is about 7.2%.
  • Service ($5m):
    • This is the full year effect (relative to the 2010 budget) of the fact that service cuts planned for fall 2010 were not implemented due to increased riding.
  • Service adjustments ($6m reduction):
    • With less construction to cause traffic congestion, there will be about $5m less provision required for extra service in 2011 compared to 2010.
    • York Region Transit has reduced the amount of contracted service by $1m in 2011.  There will be an offsetting reduction in the Revenue Budget.
  • Vehicle & Facility maintenance ($7.2m, 14 positions):
    • More vehicle maintainers are required for the bus fleet’s increased complexity (1), reliability of the ALRV streetcar fleet (2), and replacement of cracked torque arms on the 372-car fleet of T1 subway cars (4).
    • More facility maintainers are required for track (3) and signals (2) safety and reliability, and for a backlog of sheet metal repairs (2).
    • These two areas will require 7 new positions each, or 14 in total.  It is quite clear that most of the cost increase here is for materials in these areas overall, not for the additional labour.
  • Maintaining existing service levels ($4m, 67 positions):
    • With the average seniority of the workforce growing, vacation entitlements rise.  This requires 18 more staff to cover for vacation absences.
    • 17 staff will be added for route management.
    • 17 staff will be added to reduce the bus recertification training cycle from 5 to 3 years to be in line with the practice for rail vehicles.
    • 7 staff will be added to maintain new and existing emergency and fire systems, as well as to deal with a backlog of work in this area.
    • 6 track patrollers will be added to provide 365-day coverage for this area.  These staff walk the rapid transit system checking for safety and maintenance issues along the lines.
    • 1 position will be added for safety training.
    • 1 position will be added to support the growth of the pass vending machines from 10 to 60 units.
  • Inflation in goods and services ($3m):
    • This allowance is based on the City of Toronto budget guideline of 1.8%.
  • Accident claims ($3m):
    • This increase reflects expected cost escalation and the effect of legislation implemented in September 1, 2010.  The TTC and other transit agencies are pursuing changes in No Fault Insurance regulations to minimize the threat of insurance fraud through faked injuries.
  • Customer Service ($2m):
    • This area was originally planned to receive 44 Station Managers, 14 Customer Service Trainers, a Customer Service Officer and a Customer Service Representative (total 58).  This has been cut back to 22 Station Managers and 7 Trainers plus the two senior positions.
    • With an allocation of only $2m, it is clear that this program, even at its original size, will not begin until late 2011.
  • Training ($2m, 14 positions):
    • The introduction of the Toronto Rocket subway cars will require a great deal of staff training for the new equipment.  This creates a need for 18 new trainers.  This will be partly offset by a reduction of 8 trainers for new operators as hiring will be at a lower level in 2011 than in 2010.
    • Three trainers are added so that escalator maintainers can also perform work now done by electricians to simplify and consolidate this work.
    • One trainer will be added to support the bus rebuild program which is part of the Capital Budget.
  • Depreciation ($2m):
    • The City does not finance capital projects with a life of less than 10 years.  This affects IT projects (partly), tools and shop equipment, automotive non-revenue vehicles (rail work cars have a much longer lifespan), furniture and office equipment.  These capital items are carried on the TTC’s books and paid for with depreciation charges to the Operating Budget.
    • As the total value of such items rises, so does the depreciation allowance.  (Note that subsidized capital items such as passenger vehicles and infrastructure are not depreciated in the TTC’s accounts because the TTC didn’t pay for them.)
  • Energy ($1m):
    • This is the combined effect of changes in anticipated pricing for diesel fuel, hydro and water, plus the fact that implementation of the HST increased energy costs relative to the previous tax and rebate scheme.
  • Health & Safety ($1m):
    • Changes to the Occupational Health & Safety Act in June 2010 require that employees in Revenue Operations be protected against workplace violence.  This will be provided by contracted armed guard services.
  • IT Support ($1m, 10 positions):
    • Three new IT systems replacing old technology will go into production in 2011.  Ten of the development staff, previously funded through the capital budget, will be transferred to the operating budget.
  • Subway Station Cleanliness ($1m):
    • The cleaning blitz begin in 2010 will continue using temporary employees (typically summer students).
  • Other Expenses ($2m net):
    • There is one less weekday and one more weekend day in 2011 versus 2010 ($2m saving).
    • Telephone service costs and IT maintenance/license costs will go up (the latter because of projects noted above moving from development/capital to production/operating budgets) ($2m).
    • Lease for Revenue Operations facility ($1m).  Because of the weight of the new tokens, Revenue Operations must be relocated from its current site at Hillcrest to another building.  The long-term requirement for this section depends on the rollout of self-service fare collection.
    • Office space leases ($1m).  Increased costs for space leased by the TTC.
  • The total increase in budgeted expenses is $66m with 221 additional positions in the workforce.

If you have read this far, you will probably notice that there are almost no references to increased “efficiency” in the deployment of staff.  This attracts the attention of those who go through TTC budgets looking for the hidden “gravy” with which to trim the budget.

What is not mentioned (and here I will sound like an apologist for management) is that despite the continued growth of the system, there are comparatively few areas of the budget receiving more funding or headcount.  This indicates that the growth is to a fair extent being handled within the existing system except where the function (e.g. driving a bus) cannot be provided simply by getting more work out of existing staff and facilities.

This aspect of TTC operations, assuming it exists, is not documented in the budget presentation and I feel that this is a shortcoming, especially in the political and financial climate.  If there are ongoing productivity gains within the TTC, this should be shown as a saving against what the budget might otherwise have been.  Conversely, if “productivity” causes areas to be squeezed or has reached the end of productive changes in certain areas, this too should be flagged for future planning.  There may be good news here, but we’re not hearing it.

Looking at the overall scope of TTC operations, the $7m in “poor performing routes” is small change.  This is not to say that we should not set standards and say “here is the line”, but we must also not devote disproportionate energy to debate over .5% of a $1.4-billion budget.  Next year, we will have to find much more just to pay for the full year effect of changes implemented in 2011, and there isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest that the new Commission knows how they will do this.  Meanwhile, Commissioners and Councillors who want businesslike analysis and standards need to address their own love for unproductive services whose purpose is to placate their own constituents.

Some argue that the TTC is a “social service”, an unfortunate choice of words considering that the phrase is usually applied to services for the poor, aged and frail.  The ability to move around the city is as much a part of “city service” as building roads and clearing snow.  Transit is vital for many who cannot afford to drive or to drive everywhere, and the fact that Toronto has hard-to-serve pockets where transit demand is comparatively low is simply part of the evolving cost of serving the city overall.

Updated January 17, 2011:

The following table of cost recoveries for Canadian transit systems was provided [with thanks] by a reader.  The data appear sorted by recovery level (left side) and city/province name (right side).

Canadian Cost Recoveries 2008

21 thoughts on “TTC Operating Budget 2011 (Update 3)

  1. Non-2011 specific comment…

    With farebox revenue of $941.5M and advertising revenue of $20M, it would appear we could remove all advertising from the TTC for an average 2.12% fare increase, less than six cents on the current $2.50 token fare and $2.60 on the adult metropass. That seems pretty cheap to me. Contractual obligations with advertising companies which likely institute penalties for early cancellation aside, has this ever been considered, and what were the arguments for and against? Are there additional benefits other than the $20M revenue?

    Steve: This issue comes up now and then, usually when the advertising contract is up for renewal. That happens again at the end of 2011, and with the current crowd in control of budgets, I don’t see them giving up a penny of revenue, much less listening to people talk about the visual benefits of advertising-free transit.

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  2. I wrote a few emails to Mayor Ford & Councillor Stintz expressing my disappointment at the demands for budget cuts when there is clearly a growing demand for TTC service. I wrote that private sector companies (since the new administration seems to like to use that analogy) almsot never wind-down funding on popular products, it’s therefore quite mind-boggling that they would do so to TTC. I wonder if there should be a more concerted effort in bringing the fact that the TTC is perhaps among the most efficient (budget-wise) mass-transit system in large North American cities to the forefront of public discourse. It’s really too bad that facts & figures are so easily trumped by rhetoric & driving habits.

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  3. As Steve correctly points out, the budget presumes zero for further wage increases in a new contract. This is a complete fantasy, particularly given Rob Ford’s push to have their right to strike replaced with mandatory arbitration.

    Does anyone, anywhere seriously believe that any arbitrator in the universe is going to hand out a zero wage increase?

    Here is what my cynical crystal ball reveals for the future: After the arbitrator gives TTC employees a wage increase, that’s when we get hit with a big fare hike. Which is, of course, blamed upon the Evil Awful Big Bad TTC Unions.

    This assumes that the province gives Mr. Ford his request for essential service status for the TTC. If not, and its Mr. Ford vs. the unions eyeball to eyeball mano a mano with the testosterone flowing freely, then get ready for a rough time.

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  4. “Passengers up 20.5% from 404.3m to 487.0m; Toronto population up 20.8% from 2.276m to 2.750m”

    If I read this correctly, then TTC’s ridership per person living in Toronto is basically unchanged, meaning that the ridership growth has been purely down to population increase. Yes, TTC has increased service, but only to match population-driven growth in demand.

    So here’s a question: what has the TTC done in the past 20 years to increase ridership other than changes to fares and service levels? The TTC seems very passive about trying to gain new riders.

    Steve: In the middle of that 20 years was a huge drop in riding caused by service cutbacks. The TTC over the past 7 years has done a lot to improve its service to be attractive to a population that is increasingly car-oriented and suburban. They haven’t done enough, in part because of budget constraints on their subsidies from the City and Queen’s Park. The Transit City Bus Plan, flawed though it is, was to be the next step, but it has been sidelined along with the LRT projects.

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  5. Re: the tokens relocation – wasn’t a floor reinforcement project funded a year or two back to cater for increased weight?

    Steve: That turned out to be only a temporary measure, and they have to move because of structural problems that are not worth fixing.

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  6. Steve writes, “Advertising revenue for 2011 is expected to rise from $15m in 2010 to $20m in 2011 as a direct result of the improving economy and stronger demand for ad space on transit vehicles. This is an example of a revenue stream where the ebb and flow of income has a non-trivial effect on fare and subsidy debates, although it is rarely mentioned.”

    Well, I guess it has a non-trivial effect when $5m or $8m one way or the other appears to be the critical marginal amount which results in fare increases and service cuts — or not. But this amount, while non-trivial, shouldn’t cause these kinds of swings. $8m shouldn’t be a critical marginal amount between “things are fine” and “cut! cut! cut!”

    Let’s say you have an income of $941.50/month, and expenses of $1429.10/month. First of all, you need a long-term subsidy to continue like this, whether it be your parents (say, the city) or OSAP (say, the province) . Now, as part of your income from working at the coffee shop, you might get $15 in tips one month, and maybe $20 another month. If the $5 possible variance makes a big difference in your lifestyle, so you have to majorly re-plan how you live (analagous to fare increases, or service cutbacks), wouldn’t you want to fix your budgeting process so predictable variances don’t make you flail about making big lifestyle changes? I would think so!

    Since the above numbers scale to the TTC’s operating budget, it really shows how dysfunctional the budgeting process is. (Maybe your big daddy will give you an extra fiver a month so you can maintain your lifestyle….and take lots and lots of credit in the pages of the Sun….)

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  7. Advertising may only represent 2.6% of actual revenue, but there is a significant perception out there that it is more. Sure, you could ‘educate’ the public, but I would be willing to bet that would cost even more.

    As nice an idea as advertising-free transit is, the hassle of having to put up with cries to use advertising to help keep fares down, regardless of how much effect it has, is just not worth it. Pick your battles carefully!

    Steve: Much as I hate the advertising I agree. However, the excesses of “domination campaigns” where a station becomes unrecognizable need to be reined in. That’s the sort of issue that needs to be fought as part of discussion on a new contract.

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  8. 70% may be not good enough for a non-transit user such as Rob Ford. He’ll object to the 30% coming from property taxes, except that 100% of the city roads (excluding the 400-series highways and the QEW, which is paid by the province) is paid from property taxes.

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  9. Steve: You mentioned how the TTC has been coming back from its massive loss in ridership as a result of cuts. I find it sad that it appears that we are in for a repeat of those times. I’m only 24 so I don’t have memory of the early and mid 90’s. It concerns me when I wonder just how bad service levels could fall.

    If the system was just given the chance to build up and provide a real and attractive alternative, we could move forward and avoid these gut wrenching moments when service cuts are even considered a possibility. As it stands, far tpo many people fail to see the importance, potential and economic benefit of a well served and funded public transit system.

    I’m sure the people who rely on those routes which are being cut back or ending service at 10pm for work will be thrilled.

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  10. Steve, you said: With a projected farebox revenue of $941.5m and expenses of $1,429.1m, the farebox will account for 65.88% of total expenses. Other non-subsidy revenues will bring in $58.7m or 4.11% of the total. The remaining 30.01% will come from city-funded operating subsidy.

    One of the things I tire of hearing about is how much cheaper a monthly pass/ticket/fare is in another city, for example Montreal. Do you have numbers or know of a website that provides said numbers which show the financial support provided to transit systems by first and second-tier governments in Canada, the U.S., Europe, etc.? I’m sick of people complaining about fares being too high and the lack of service expansion and blaming the expense side of the ledger when any sane observer would know it is an issue of no dedicated operating subsidy from Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill.

    Steve: The farebox recovery levels for various cities are included in the TTC’s budget presentation at pages 15 and 16. Information on US systems is available in great detail in the National Transit Database. A comparable table does not appear to be freely available for Canadian cities. If anyone knows where this might be, please leave a comment here.

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  11. Thanks for that link, the information is eye-opening. How sad is it that the supposedly more conservative United States federal government and state governments give tens, if not hundreds of millions in subsidies to the major transit systems in New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, etc. while our transit systems have to go cap in hand to get any support, usually in the form of some legacy-building project like the Sheppard line or the Vaughan extension. I did find this summary report by CUTA showing the various federal funding mechanisms which are being used to support capital projects, but this isn’t the same as the day-to-day operation of the systems. In fact, many of the capital projects will result in larger operating deficits since many of them will be underused relative to the rest of the system, like a Sheppard extension would be.

    Steve: I was annoyed by CUTA’s website because they collect the same sort of data as you can get from the US site, but don’t publish it openly except in summary format.

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  12. This argument comes up again and again. If those who get agitated about this issue want to do something about it, they should pay into a fund to buy up all the TTC spaces on the 501 and the stations south of Bloor and replace them with art or something. Asking already stretched TTC customers in Toronto’s poorer districts to bear the costs of aesthetic value judgements doesn’t sit well with me.

    Ask your average customer about how little (relatively) TTC advertising brings in, they might raise issues like how posters for events remain on subway cars for weeks or months after the event is over, which is both a poor utilisation of available space and a gain for event sponsors whose logos linger.

    Steve: My concern is that when advertising drops off, this usually triggers calls for higher fares or cuts in service, not for better city subsidy to tide the TTC over a difficult period. The TTC counts “other revenue” into the total when showing total cost recoveries, and most people — politicians, press, public — read this as all being farebox revenue when in fact it is not.

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  13. Yes, CUTA appears to have all the data locked up, available to members only. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be provision for enthusiasts or community groups access to the data for their lobbying purposes. The same with UITP (International Union of Public Transport) unfortunately.

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  14. I found this item interesting:

    “6 track patrollers will be added to provide 365-day coverage for this area. These staff walk the rapid transit system checking for safety and maintenance issues along the lines.”

    Could it be that the TTC is finally back in the MoW game, and that we’ll see concerted action to remove the piles of garbage and litter under platform overhangs and along the open sections of track, to say nothing of weeds and overgrown shrubbery?

    Steve: The TTC, in the constant shell game of their capital budget, wants to spend nearly $1-billion on platform edge doors, although the project won’t actually be finished until at least 2025, supposedly to keep garbage from accumulating on the track. Meanwhile, we should all be a tiny bit neater and hope that the TTC will actually clean up their tunnels.

    As for the track patrols, their job is generally not to clean up garbage, but to check for problems like broken rail mounts and problems that can be spotted by someone walking by on a visual inspection.

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  15. The map of improvements includes two streetcar routes (Carlton and Bathurst). I assume that the map therefore isn’t peak period-specific, but shows any route where the crowding standard is exceeded at any time of the day.

    Arguably this is less critical during the off-peak, where loading standards relate to passenger comfort, than during the peak, where loading standards primarily relate to vehicle capacity and route reliability.

    Again, there hasn’t been much if any political discussion about priorities, assuming a limited amount of funding is available — is it more important to keep under the off-peak loading factor, or to maintain evening service on routes that may be lightly-used but make neighbourhoods accessible by transit, or to maintain fares at the current level?

    Steve: The problem is that the Mayor has made this one of his “no new taxes” promises (despite many other fees going up elsewhere in the budget), and this is being portrayed as an attempt to save extremely marginal services at the expense of fixing crowding conditions. $7-million doesn’t buy a lot of fixes, and we have also learned that changes implemented in January are part of the package. Therefore, there will be precious little to see come fall 2011. However, publishing a list at this point could be embarrassing, so we just have a map.

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  16. Except that fares don’t pay for any of the TTC’s capital costs and motorists are on the hook for almost all of their operating costs. What’s amazing to me is how many thousands of dollars people are willing to pay to own a car.

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  17. As a matter of interest, how does the TTC clean the subway tracks. I had assumed there was some sort of specialised “Hoover Car” that travelled all the lines daily to vacuum up paper, bottles etc but now I am not so sure. Do they use gangs of workers with pointed sticks and garbage bags?

    Steve: Yes, more or less, although you don’t see them as often as you used to.

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  18. Just wondering what is the source for these farebox ratios and also are these for the entire transit system or just particular modes?

    Steve: The farebox ratio info is calculated by each system and the consolidated info is available from the Canadian Urban Transit Association. That said, you have to watch out for accounting differences between properties in that the TTC has a much higher proportion of infrastructure relative to its operation, and a good chunk of the maintenance of this falls to the capital, not the operating budget. There are no mode-based farebox ratios because in a system with transfers and passes, it is impossible to allocate revenue to specific routes.

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