For The Greater Good (Update 4)

Update 4 on February 9, 2011 at 9:30 am:

I have now received the official text of the amendments passed by the Commission to the staff recommendations:

i)    That staff review all of the routes and services prior to the implementation date to ensure that no routes were improperly assessed under this criteria.
ii)     That service re-allocations, including minor reductions and improvements, be reported to the Commission on a quarterly, or semi-annual basis, based on the service thresholds established by the Commission.
iii)    That TTC management staff be requested to report back to the Commission on the accuracy of ridership on transit routes that are affected and may qualify to have the service reinstated where the ridership trend may be justified.

Update 3 on February 5, 2011 at 10:30 am:

A section has been added at the end discussing the proportion of Ridership Growth Strategy service improvements that have not been affected by these service cuts.

It is fashionable in the current regime to knock anything done by the Miller/Giambrone administration at the TTC, of which RGS was a major initiative.  Saying that the vast majority of the proposed cuts are (or were) to services that were implemented under RGS gives the impression that RGS was a failure.  In fact, half of RGS additions to hours of service, and all of the headway improvements remain in place.  One might say that there is a mandate for the Ridership Growth Strategy.

One cannot expect a largely new Commission to be aware of these facts, but it is disappointing that TTC staff never pointed them out either in reports or in responses to questions at Commission meetings.

Update 2 on February 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm: A section has been added at the end of the article reviewing some of the planned cutbacks from the viewpoint of alternative ways to deliver service as well as the compound effect of several cuts on routes serving the same area.

Updated February 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm: A section has been added after the main article detailing the positions taken by each member of the Commission.

February 2, 2011, will be remembered as the longest TTC board meeting to date (and I have been attending since late 1972) starting at 1:00 pm and ending after 10:00 pm, but its infamy rests with the abuse suffered by the public at the hands of the Commission.

Beginning at about 4:00 pm (after a long series of public deputations and a vote on the proposed Ashbridge Maintenance and Storage Facility, about which more in a later post), the Commission began to hear deputations on the proposed service cuts.  The speakers list had 140 names when we began.  A few were added along the way, and by the end of the deps at 8:49 pm, many had given up waiting for their turn.  I will write in more detail about the type of issues raised, but the treatment the public received, especially by the Chair, Councillor Karen Stintz, deserves special mention.

Many people spoke to the hardships that cuts to their bus routes would bring, while many others spoke to the general issue that transit service should exist as a basic part of the city.  Some services won’t do well, but citizens deserved access to their homes and workplaces.

Some of the deputants took time off work to attend the meeting and speak out for transit service and most were not, like me, “professional” attendees at the TTC.  They waited a long time to speak, and those who stayed to the bitter end, waited even longer to find out if they had been heard.

Stintz agreed that, yes, service “reallocations” were the last choice in the tools available to a transit system in meeting growing demands on the system overall, but argued that what staff had recommended was “the greater good for riders”.  Those words will haunt her.  They should be posted on every service change notice at every affected bus stop.

For the greater good, you no longer will have service.

By the time she addressed her little homily to the multitude, thanking them profusely for their passion about transit, it was clear from other Commissioners’ comments that reversing any of the proposals was a lost cause.  We could have saved a great deal of time if, back at the start of the meeting, Stintz had announced that a straw poll of the Commission showed that all of the cuts would be approved, and the deputants should just leave now.

The real insult came in Stintz’ characterization of riders’ pleas as being from self-interest, from saving their own routes at the expense of riders on busier routes elsewhere.  That completely misrepresented the majority of the presentations.  Some spoke of special needs for residents in neighbourhoods.  Some spoke of safety walking late at night.  Some showed that TTC riding counts were clearly off because actual usage was higher than TTC stats claimed.

I will return to the arguments in more detail in an update to this article, but a common thread was that there was more to a transit route than the riding counts, counts that many did not believe anyhow.  Given the previous flagrant errors in the TTC’s analysis, it wasn’t a stretch to suggest that the counts were wrong too.

Stintz wished that all the riders who will benefit, eventually, from improved service could have attended to show their support.  Of course those riders at least have a bus, crowded though it may be.

A mark of a civilized city is that it looks out for everyone, not just those with power, or money, or those whose demands on the municipal infrastructure can be cheaply served.  We built the city as it is, hard-to-serve subdivisions and all, and we are stuck with the legacy of that built form.  As a city, we owe decent service to our residents all the way from the thousands on rush hour subway trains to the dozens on late night buses.

Karen Stintz prefers to set neighbour against neighbour with the strong, the numerous, getting not just all of the pie, but the crumbs too.

That’s not my Toronto.

Updated February 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm:

Updated February 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm:

Although Chair Stintz takes the bulk of my wrath above, comments by other Commissioners are worth reporting.

Commissioner Kelly attempted to rescue the 162 Lawrence-Donway route because of its isolation, and the 116 Morningside Express service to UofT Scarborough campus. His proposals lost on votes of 2 to 6. I doubt that he expected these to succeed.

Commissioner Crisanti observed that the issue had been deferred from the January meeting to allow for feedback that came via the four public consultations. How he could ignore hours of deputations as “feedback” is hard to explain. He proposed a motion that staff review all routes and services to ensure that none were missed under the new criteria. The way this reads implies that he is looking for additional savings, but there was a lot of quick talking by various Commissioners that the real intent was to double-check the figures. The motion passed without any clarifying text, and I suspect that what it says is what it means but this was corrected in the official version posted in the update at the beginning of the article.

Commissioner Augimeri spoke to the issue of safety and long walks late at night. Her specific concerns were the 120 Calvington and 101 Downsview Park services. She noted that staff may do the math based on formulas, but the Commission needs to deal with the public good. To that end, she moved that the requirement for at least ten riders per hour on routes that are more than 600m from an alternative service be dropped so that remote areas would be guaranteed transit access. This motion lost 2 to 6.

Commissioner Milczyn supported the staff proposal, although it was clear that he did not understand how the revised evaluation actually worked. There is a mistaken impression (one that I myself had) that staff looked at a route over a period (say evenings 7 to 10) to determine if it achieved the ridership criterion in any hour. In fact, the change in procedure was to drop the requirement that routes do well weekday midday before they are considered for service at other times. This was a holdover of the pre-Ridership Growth Strategy Service Standards.

The change allows for non-standard demands such as the Downsview Park bus where the traditional sequence of peak, then midday, then evening, then weekend services would be implemented as demand builds. In some cases, there will be weekend or evening demand peculiar to a route, and this needs to be served.

Milczyn noted that when the Commission became engaged in the process, the originally proposed cuts and standards were reviewed on a finer level. He claimed that the cuts were not a “war on transit”, but a reasonable reallocation of resources where they are most needed with many outer suburban routes getting additional service.

He went on to say that 80% of the services to be dropped were added through the Ridership Growth Strategy’s full service initiative. This was a leap of faith, and there had been two years to see whether it achieved its goal. What he missed is that many of the RGS service adds remain in place, and saying 80% of the May 2011 cuts came from RGS does not mean that RGS itself was a bad idea.

It is worth noting that Milczyn has been an advocate and defender of the Humber Bay premium express bus which has not exactly been packing in riders.  It will be intriguing to see how this route fares against the new standards for service productivity.

Commissioner Palacio moved that staff report quarterly or semi-annually on service changes and on underperforming routes, and that they report on the accuracy of ridership counts that may justify reinstatement of some cancelled services. He observed that the current proposal is the outcome of transparent public participation, ignoring the fact that none of the comments made in hours of deputations had any effect. Toronto is “broke”, and a fare increase to maintain underperforming routes would hurt the most vulnerable of riders. He missed the irony that some of those vulnerable riders will have no service at all. His motion passed 7-1.

Commissioner Parker echoed Cmmr Milczyn’s remarks and endorsed the staff position.

Commissioner Minnan-Wong stated that the RGS service adds in 2008 had cost the TTC $20-million. Resources are scarce, and deputants spoke against cuts to their own routes. In a bizarre twist, he claimed that advocacy for service on poor routes hurts the cause of transit, sending us backward, because there would be less service where it is needed.

This statement ignored the many deputants who spoke to the general issue of service to areas and times of low demand, and of the importance of having transit everywhere. Minnan-Wong did not even support the current recommendations preferring instead to adopt the original January 2011 list of cuts even though the analysis behind them contains outright errors in application of the TTC’s purported standard.

Commissioner Di Giorgio was not present.

I have already reported on Chair Stintz’ remarks.

As I write this, I await official copies of the text of the motions adopted at this meeting.  When they are available, I will update this article.

Updated February 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm:

Following up on the route-specific comments from various deputations, let’s have a look at the alternatives that might have been available, but were not looked at, by the TTC.

Back when routes didn’t run at all hours, it was common practice to look for ways to save vehicles while preserving service, but this has not been done for the current round.

Also, there are cases where multiple services are cut with overlapping territories, but no allowance is made for the combined effect in the TTC’s analysis.

32D Eglinton West to Emmett and 73B Royal York to La Rose

Councillors Nunziata and Lindsay-Luby spoke to these routes, respectively.  Each is a loop north of Eglinton.

Service on Emmett is provided on a 24 minute headway with 2 buses at all times when the service is threatened (after 10 pm Mon-Sat, after 7 pm Sun-Hol).  Service on La Rose is provided on a 30 minute headway with 1 bus (after 7 pm all days).  Neither of these services is integrated with the routes of which they are nominally branches because the headways do not mesh with the through routes.

I can’t help wondering whether a route could be constructed that served both loops off of Eglinton, either from Eglinton West Station to La Rose via Emmett, or from Royal York to Emmett via La Rose.  This should save one bus from the combined operation.

33 Forest Hill, 14 Glencairn and 5 Avenue Road

Service will be removed from both of these routes at various times leaving no transit in the block bounded by St. Clair, Yonge, Eglinton and Bathurst as follows:

Weekday early evenings:  Service on 14 and 5, but not on 33.
Weekend early evenings:  Service only on 14.
All days late evenings:  No service

It is physically impossible for all points within a block 2km on the side to be within 600m of the perimeter where transit is available.

103 Mt. Pleasant North, 124 Sunnybrook and 162 Lawrence-Donway

Service on both 103 and 124 will end at 10 pm Sundays and Holidays, and 162 is cut back to weekday daytime only.  This leaves no transit service in the block bounded by Eglinton, Bayview, the west Don River (Glen Echo) and Yonge Street late Sunday night.  It is physically impossible that all potential riders are within 600m of transit in a block roughly 2km by 3km.

162 Lawrence-Donway

This route serves the isolated Glenorchy and Bridal Path areas connecting them to the Yonge Subway at Lawrence Station and to the shopping area at Lawrence and Don Mills.  It will be cut back to weekday only service during daytimes.  The maximum walking distance to alternative service from this area is 1.7km.

There is no alternative for service here.

One point worth noting is that this area includes a school serving special needs children.  Originally, service was to be cut except during peak periods, but the midday service used by this school has been restored.  However, it wil not be accessible by TTC for any evening or weekend activities.

5 Avenue Road, 6 Bay, 26 Dupont and 127 Davenport

These routes serve the block bounded by Bloor, Bathurst, St. Clair and Yonge, and none of them will operate after 10 pm on Sundays.  The Dupont bus will end at 10 pm all days, and the Avenue Road bus will end at 7 pm on weekends.  Walking trips to “nearby” services must deal with hills, the main CPR line and some ravines.

101 Downsview Park

Winter (September to May) service on this route was to be cut because it is a “park”, but weekend service has been retained under the new scheme.  This leaves weeknight users of facilities in the park with a long, poorly lit walk to transit through an old industrial area.  Sheppard West buses could detour into the park at least on weekday evenings when there is demand, and although this would give through riders a slightly longer trip, it would maintain service to the park.

72A Pape via Commissioners

Winter service through the eastern portlands, the Distillery District and the St. Lawrence neighbourhood will end at 7 pm on Sundays.  This is a situation where the more populated area west of the Don River is penalized for having a service through an industrial area as part of its route.  Would its stats look better as a bus that only served the residential communities?  The TTC will soon have to deal with new developments north and east of the Distillery District, and they really need to contemplate better bus service here, especially if the Cherry Street LRT is delayed by funding problems.

This is not an exhaustive review of the service changes, but it begs the question of how thoroughly the TTC tried to find alternatives to simply eliminating routes, and the dedication, if any, of Commissioners to the complexity of working through the problems these proposed “reallocations” bring.

Updated February 5, 2011 at 10:30 am:

The service cuts have been presented as a rollback of Ridership Growth Strategy improvements, and the new transit Commissioners are all too happy to suggest that a major initiative of the Miller years was a failure.  In fact, half of RGS service additions and all of the headway improvements remain in place contributing to the overall health of the network.

Sundays after 10pm take the brunt of the cuts.  RGS added service to 58 routes, but only 16 of these (28%) retain service.  Late evenings in general fare poorly with only 17 of 44 routes (39%) retaining service weekdays, and 17 of 51 routes (33%) on Saturdays.

Early evenings do better with 13 of 21 (62%) retaining service on weekdays, 20 of 36 (56%) on Saturdays, and 20 of 44 (45%) on Sundays.

Weekday middays saw new service on 11 routes, and 9 of these remain in operation (82%).  On Saturday afternoons, 15 of 25 (60%) were not cut, and on Sunday afternoons, 21 of 36 (58%) survived.

(Apologies if I missed the odd route.  Keeping track of this, even on a spreadsheet, is tedious work and, unlike TTC staff, I am not paid to do it.)

Overall, half (210 out of 423) of the new services added by RGS remain in operation meeting the TTC’s new criteria for acceptable performance.  That’s not a wild success, but hardly an abject failure.

55 thoughts on “For The Greater Good (Update 4)

  1. The real insult came in Stintz’ characterization of riders’ pleas as being from self-interest, from saving their own routes at the expense of riders on busier routes elsewhere. That completely misrepresented the majority of the presentations. Some spoke of special needs for residents in neighbourhoods. Some spoke of safety walking late at night. Some showed that TTC riding counts were clearly off because actual usage was higher than TTC stats claimed.

    Self-interest hey? That sounds a bit harsh, almost insulting. TTC is getting cuts so that the books can look good on the other end, so that levies on cars etc can be removed etcetera.

    There are always 2 basic needs for transit:

    1. Welfare service (because people need a basic level of service)
    2. Patronage service (because there is huge demand and people and to move those people around by car would need huge road infrastructure upgrades)

    This post is worth reading with regards to evening and weekend services, because it shows that people will catch public transport if it is frequent and has a good scope of hours.

    If the TTC is squeezed to be “more efficient” like a private company (70% shows that it already is quite efficient vs international benchmarks) then it will probably start acting like one- by focusing on the ‘profit only’ routes and cutting the ‘welfare services’.

    What you might get is a TTC that looks more efficient on paper, perhaps you might get 100% farebox recovery, but with far lower level of service, low or no welfare routes and worse customer experience.

    Like

  2. “For the greater good, you no longer will have service.”

    That reminds me of the notice posted on the doors of bank branches when they close which says something akin to “we’ve moved to serve you better”. Each time I see one, I’m forced to wonder how is making something less convenient for me better.

    Like

  3. Thank you for your impassioned recap of this meeting and of the TTC service cuts. Although I live more than 3500 km from your city, the issues that you have written about on your blog are relevant in many other metropolitan areas including my own.

    Many cities have searched in vain for silver bullets to try to solve the basic structural problem facing the transit industry: simply put, transit cannot make a profit. Some routes will require more funding than others, but are nonetheless necessary to make the system function as a coherent whole. Many customers riding on “unproductive” routes or during “unproductive” times of the day also ride on more “productive” services. Take away the appendages of the system and pretty soon the whole system suffers. This is the fallacy with the simple “productivity” methodology employed not just by the TTC but by the transit industry as a whole. Moreover, this methodology fuels the perception that the structural realities of transit’s financial model can be addressed by service cuts – leading to calls for yet more service cuts as ridership inevitably falls on the remaining system. The “productivity” rationalization further guarantees that severed services have no chance of ever being restored; after all, if they weren’t “productive” in the first place, they won’t be needed in the future even if money appears in the future.

    I challenge anyone to find one example where a transit system has solved its underlying financial issues through service cuts or even service reallocation. There are plenty of examples, however, where transit systems have improved significantly by more frequent and longer-running services made possible through additional funding.

    I wish you the very best as you try to ride out your new mayoral administration. Please keep up the impassioned fight to protect one of North America’s finest transit systems.

    Like

  4. For the greater good, you no longer will have service.

    It would not surprise me one bit if someone started expressing their disappointment this way by sticking this on bus stops etc.

    Like

  5. Ironically, “for the greater good” sounds almost like a Stalinist line from some George Orwell novel.

    What is Karen Stintz’s history? Just who is she, and why is she so arrogant?

    Steve: There was a profile on Stintz in the Star recently that gives a bit of background, but it doesn’t really give the flavour of her behaviour during the Miller years. There was also a puff piece in Toronto Life that only scratches the surface.

    Both pieces talk about customer service and the subway, but as you will see when I write up the “Customer Service” initiative presented yesterday, management has highjacked this process.

    At the end of the day, she is part of Ford’s team — you don’t get to be the Chair of the TTC without playing ball with the Mayor — and the agenda was clearly not to go any further on saving routes than had already happened. She did herself no good with her comments and with her bright, somewhat encouraging treatment of deputants who clearly were wasting their time.

    Like

  6. Thanks for the summary of the meeting. I was contemplating attending such public meetings but as your article clearly indicates, it’s just as well I didn’t waste my time. Indeed it seems most decisions have already been made and for the most part “cut in stone” with public input largely being ignored unless it is sync with the idiology currently at City Hall. What I find curious is that Council had voted in favour of asking the Province to make the TTC an essential service but nevertheless is willing to cut service on some routes in the name of more efficient use of resources. Imagine if they did that with fire, ambulance or police, all in the name of better use of resources.

    Given the current record with public meetings, I think it’s a better use of my time to send e-mail, snail-mail letters and phone calls to my councillor and the mayor rather than attend meetings where I can be easily brushed off.

    Phil

    Like

  7. Isn’t all public transit about the passenger’s self-interest? After all, if a transit system cannot take ME from points A to B in a reliable, safe, rapid, affordable and convenient way, then what is the point of public transit?

    Like

  8. Hi Steve, I was sitting through all 9 hours of the entire meeting behind you and was thoroughly disgusted at the commission’s behaviour.

    You made a good case for Stintz’s behaviour, although I found the behaviour of Denzil Minnan-Wong to be much much more disgusting. I’ve watched him in the shadow of the TTC during the last regime always criticizing the actions of the Commission as not being fiscally responsible. Besides for constantly grilling Webster during the last two meetings about budget items line-by-line (including salaries of cleaners and their unionization), he was notably absent for over half the meeting, and for hours at a time (most specifically during the public deputation portions). The biggest slap in the face came not from Stintz, but from Minnan-Wong during his soliloquy at the end of the meeting by directly addressing the remaining crowd and telling them that after spending 8 hours at the meeting and speaking on behalf of the service to be cut was causing a disservice by taking improvements away from the riders who “need it the most” on the most crowded routes, and their actions were taking a step backwards in advancing transit in Toronto.

    The only commissioner who actually listened to the public was Commissioner Kelly, who after deputations noted the large number of deputations for the 116A/E and 162 buses (as well as the reasonings behind them, service to the UofT campus and the very long walk respectively) begging for service to be reinstated. After his movement to retain service on these two routes was defeated, he supported the retention of all the routes.

    Steve: I am going to include Minnan-Wong’s little rant in an updated version of the article. It was a long day yesterday, and I wanted to get the most important part of the story out first. I know at least one person in Stintz’ office is already miffed. Too bad. If you’re ambitious enough to take a high profile job, it’s not all going to be puff pieces in the media.

    The commissioners should be happy I didn’t include any reference to trained seals.

    Like

  9. I guess we should take Adam Giambrone’s argument for why we shouldn’t upload the TTC to the province in Now with a grain of salt:

    “The TTC, on the other hand, is overseen by a commission of elected city councillors directly responsible to the people of the city. It’s a model that ensures that the riding public has avenues to bring up concerns and suggestions. “

    As long as the ‘avenues’ don’t include Avenue Road in the evenings, where there will no longer be service.

    Steve: I have not yet written this up, but late in the meeting (around 10 pm), Stintz had a motion asking for the TTC to work with the city on a “skills-based Commission”. That’s a non-elected Commission of “experts”, possibly with some sort of citizen oversight body. That’s the sort of model where Council would completely lose control of transit to the bureaucrats and their “expert” friends.

    Like

  10. At some point, there are consequences for choosing to live and work in transit-hostile neighbourhoods.

    To provide “access” to every home and workplace 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, guess what we’re going to get: More transit-hostile neighbourhoods.

    How about we assume that the residents of the city are fully capable of choosing where they live and work? If access to dependable transit is important to them, then they can pick to live and work in places where transit will obviously be dependable. Major arterials, subway lines, high-rise apartment buildings. We’re not going to get a city with better density and livability by sending buses to every nook and cranny on the map.

    Another mark of a civilized city is one that respects democracy. A man who campaigned on tax-cutting and “waste-reducing” was just elected mayor by the citizens of our city. You disagree with what is considered “waste.” Fine. But elections have consequences. And to say that Councillor Stintz is planning a picnic so she can enjoy some neighbourhood warfare is a bit much.

    Steve: I didn’t say anything of the kind about Cllr Stintz. The election was about reducing “waste”, but the meaning of that term has never been debated. TTC staff cooked up a formula, then applied it with many errors, then cooked up a revised formula (which still has problems), but we have never actually debated what constitutes acceptable service. Moreover, people have made decisions about where they live, work or go to school based on services as they already exist. It’s not as if someone plopped York University at the edge of the universe and said “build me a subway”, and students made their choice to enroll at York knowing that they are at the mercy of TTC bus service. The TTC will lose $14-million a year the day that line opens. Whose service will we “reallocate” to pay for this gift to York U and York region?

    Some of the areas that will lose service are in the heart of the city, and could hardly be called “transit hostile”. As for democracy, Ford was not elected dictator, and he got barely half of the votes in the election. Democracy works best when the winners don’t stomp all over the losers, let alone tell the losers that they are responsible for their own misfortune.

    Like

  11. I thought it rather “rich” that many of those same deputants who spoke in opposition to route cuts felt entitled (or prompted?) to speak against Mary-Margaret’s motion to defer the soil removal contract for 90 days to explore options to Ashbridges Bay; an issue which most of them clearly knew nothing about since the majority spoke passionately in defence of Transit City – which the Ashbridges facility has no connection to. Deputant after deputant taking up valuable time to speak on an issue they didn’t understand. No wonder the meeting went until all hours. “What a waste” is right.

    The bizarre icing on the cake was the last deputation on Ashbridges Bay by the “architect” (heaven help us if this is what architectural schools are producing these days) who spoke for more than her 5 minutes about being a “tree-hugger”, meeting David Miller, family “drama”, being an avid supporter of Miller and Transit City, and never got to her point even after being given an extra minute. But when I heard someone from the panel congratulate her on her presentation and saying that we need architects like her – well I knew I’d had enough of the dog and pony show and that this had devolved to the level of farce.

    The speaker should be responsible for making sure that the deputations are on topic, and if not, asking those speakers to either speak on topic or sit down and stop wasting everyone’s time.

    Steve: While there was an overlap on the speakers’ list, you cannot condemn the basic issues regarding service simply because some of those people did not support your cause at Ashbridge. By the way, some of the people appeared on both lists in error, and in fact spoke to only one of the two subjects. Those who spoke about Transit City did so in the overall context of cutbacks in the scope of the transit system, and of proposals to spend billions on a dubious subway plan while shuffling a few millions around between bus routes.

    Cllr McMahon did herself no good with a counter proposal that is a moving target — the scheme for using land at Hillcrest Yard had completely changed between the version at Budget Committee and at the TTC. Her position is scattershot, and there are enough gaps in her arguments to undermine the credibility of the whole. I will be writing about the Ashbridge debate in a separate article.

    Like

  12. “We could have saved a great deal of time if, back at the start of the meeting, Stintz had announced that a straw poll of the Commission showed that all of the cuts would be approved, and the deputants should just leave now.”

    It was ever thus. I believe we’ve heard this song before:

    “They’re saying in June that we’ll get to submit deputations, but you people (city staff) are being commissioned to make a plan when the site has supposedly not been decided upon. Are we as citizens so powerless?”

    Interesting that one of the reasons for voting against MM’s motion was that “there had been extensive consultation with the community”.

    The process is broken. The process is broken. The process is broken.

    Steve: Regardless of where we may stand on various aspects of the issues, I agree that “consultation” as defined by the TTC leaves much to be desired. It is also flawed because the Commissioners always defer to the “experts” on staff, and presume that the consultation was fair and open.

    Like

  13. I cannot but wonder what these service cuts and the arrogantly dismissive way the “public hearing” to “discuss” them was handled by TTC Chair Stintz are going to have on Mayor Rob Ford’s popularity over the coming weeks and months, as the reality of just what the voters for Mayor Ford are getting begins to sink in.

    How telling it is that your new mayor’s given name is “Rob,” as he and his minions commence to ‘rob’ Peter to pay Paul, as evidenced by these TTC service cuts, announced as being made “for the greater good”.

    His name is purely happenstance coincidence, I know, yet in the circumstances ‘Rob’ is so prognosticative of what’s he’s likely to do to basic public services during his four-year term.

    Like

  14. One word comes to mind when I think of Karen Stintz: flip flopper. During Miller’s reign she was for Transit City, even handing out pamphlets with the mayor at Eglinton station, and now she’s against it. Amazing.

    Steve: Not amazing. Simply ambitious. The problem is that the Eglinton line isn’t part of Ford’s plan, and we’ll have to see what political horse trading, if any, Queen’s Park does with the Mayor to produce an new transportation plan.

    Like

  15. “The commissioners should be happy I didn’t include any reference to trained seals.”

    LMAO….er, I mean: Uh-oh. Looks like TTC mandarins are going to be forbidden to talk to a certain transit advocate in the not-too-distant future, lest they loose their herring quota.

    Like

  16. Phil Piltch says:
    “… I was contemplating attending such public meetings but as your article clearly indicates, it’s just as well I didn’t waste my time. Indeed it seems most decisions have already been made and for the most part “cut in stone” with public input largely being ignored unless it is sync with the idiology currently at City Hall.”

    I was not at the meeting yesterday so I cannot comment on the speakers or the commission, or the behavior of people and respecting different points of view. Sounds like it was not a good day.

    However, the notion of City Hall ignoring public input unless in sync with the current ideology is not new, and is not limited to Rob Ford or a right wing/left wing thing.

    It is precisely how I felt under David Miller’s regime, and especially at the Transit City and Kingston Road EA session I attended. Basically we were being told to take it the way the masters had planned it, no changes, as it was “better urban planning”

    Better than what? No other options, or even modifications were even being considered.

    Two wrongs do not make a right, but don’t assume that Rob Ford and his team have a monopoly in not listening to dissenting views. That was perfected under David Miller.

    Steve: Actually it was perfected long before Miller under various regimes of the old Metro Toronto government. One of my greatest disappointments of the Transit City “consultations” was that they fell victim to the standard TTC/City approach of telling us what we need and not entertaining alternatives even though TC had problems worth fixing. Miller had a naive faith in the expertise of staff, and their openness to considering alternatives. We are seeing this already in the Ford era even though they claim to be on a hunt for badly managed departments.

    Like

  17. You know what would make for interesting public meetings? This fun and wild idea:

    1) Televise and/or web-stream the proceedings so that more people can ‘attend’
    2) Have a big projection screen as a backdrop, so that as someone is talking, Twitter/chat reaction to their comments (through pre-arranged hashtag) piped behind them
    3) Result – instant democratic feedback! Perhaps knowing what ppl really thought of the proceedings, WHILE IT’S HAPPENING, would help our public officials from making asses of themselves, and prevent a few shrill ‘selfish’ types (if they indeed exist) from hijacking the discussion

    Too crazy?

    Steve: Shrill, selfish types? Oh yes, they do exist.

    Like

  18. That 80% number is somewhat misleading without something to balance it. If one made only 5 cuts and 4 were RGS additions, it would still be 80%.

    Are there any hard numbers on how much of the RGS additions were kept? %
    of board periods … % of buses … something like that.

    Certainly all the ones I use were kept. I don’t think leaving the perception that RGS was a failure is a good idea. Perhaps the topic for a separate article …

    Steve: I did a chart on the overall RGS adds in my original article on this topic. I have to update it for the revised cuts, and calculate the percentages. Stay tuned.

    Like

  19. I don’t see how cutting $5.23m of transit service is “stomping all over the losers.” For all the doom and gloom bemoaned by detractors of Mr. Ford, his supposed dictator-like behaviour is boringly benign.

    I see only one “service in the heart of the city” that had faced a cut without other options at least 5 minutes away: 5 Avenue Road. There’s a good reason that it faced the chopping block: The Yonge subway line is 500m to the east. It’s the same distance as the whopping 7 minute walk from Osgoode station to Queen station. Even with a bus on the street they live, Avenue Road residents choose to book it to Yonge to exploit its frequent, dependable, faster service. Improving service where subways aren’t nearby would be better appreciated.

    There hasn’t been a debate about what “waste” means because there doesn’t need to be. The elected representatives of our city were chosen because the voters believe they will choose appropriately. If the citizens of Toronto disagree with the mayor’s take on the word, the ballot boxes will be open October 27, 2014.

    Steve: I will be dealing with the Avenue Road cut in a pending update to this article. The problem is the combined effect of cuts to 6 Bay, 5 Avenue Road, 26 Dupont and 127 Davenport is that there is no service anywhere within the block bounded by Yonge, Bloor, Bathurst and St. Clair after 10pm on Sunday evenings.

    As for people walking to Yonge, there are many who cannot walk that distance, and they are effectively cut off from transit service. Don’t forget that a walk to Yonge may also involve a walk back from Yonge for a trip between points on Avenue Road, and the subway stops are further apart than the bus stops. Geographic barriers such as hills, valleys and railway lines (past and present) also block some of the “crow fly” routes, especially for people who have mobility problems. The TTC often misses basic points like this in their analyses.

    Like

  20. Steve: While there was an overlap on the speakers’ list, you cannot condemn the basic issues regarding service simply because some of those people did not support your cause at Ashbridge. By the way, some of the people appeared on both lists in error, and in fact spoke to only one of the two subjects.

    “you cannot condemn the basic issues regarding service”

    I in no way said that. What I did say was that people who were primarily there to depute against the service cuts ALSO deputed against MM’s Ashbridges Bay motion without having adequate knowledge of what they were deputing. I will go further to say that they were put up to it.

    Over the course of the afternoon the people seated around me ebbed and flowed such that by the time it came for deputations on AB I was surrounded on three sides by people all with handouts that appeared to come from the Toronto Environmental Alliance website.

    They each had well-written clear instructions on how to give their deputations re: the service cuts. More than one ALSO got up to depute against AB, including the person sitting beside me who, I would imagine, didn’t realize that I wasn’t part of his group. When he sat back down afterwards I asked him “Do you know much about this issue?” A: “Not really.” “Then why on earth would you go up to depute against an issue you don’t understand?”

    I fail to understand WHY the AB issue was, or at least appeared to be, used as a political football to further someone’s TC agenda. That’s way below the belt, if you ask me.

    Or is just that some TC enthusiasts are keen to make enemies out of former supporters? MM campaigned on a platform supporting TC after all. I’m doubting she’s feeling all that warm and fuzzy about it after yesterday’s meeting.

    Like

  21. Steve: I have not yet written this up, but late in the meeting (around 10 pm), Stintz had a motion asking for the TTC to work with the city on a “skills-based Commission”. That’s a non-elected Commission of “experts”, possibly with some sort of citizen oversight body. That’s the sort of model where Council would completely lose control of transit to the bureaucrats and their “expert” friends.

    The TTC’s problems go beyond funding, the root, the cause, the source is the design of the commission which is under direct political control. This is the model that allows populist fare cuts and then starves the TTC of funds to do things, the model that starts with the answer (subways) first and then reverse-plans them to create ex-post justifications for them.

    Change the structure of the TTC.

    Before our version of Metrolinx (TransLink) took over planning, funding and other high-level strategic functions of public transport in our city, Brisbane City Council (our council) ran our buses, and they separated the bus operations and planning from the council itself by turning it into a business unit at arm’s length.

    I see that as the problem- there is no separation of power here. And to compound it, there are no funds either! It seems like fighting over deck chairs on the Titanic when it is sinking!

    We never have this problem, it is unheard of over here. No Australian city council would be expected to run the entire transport system on its own and fund it- And Toronto runs and fund the whole caboose- streetcar/bus/subway.

    In order to keep the integration and cross-subsidy and single agency oversight, the only thing I can see that will save the TTC is for MetroLinx to be absorbed into the TTC (easy- MetroLinx is tiny in comparison) to combine into one organisation, to pay operators on a per-km basis, and to have a mixed funding stream where contributions money is matched from the City of Toronto and Ontario.

    There are all sorts of arguments for retaining the TTC wholly within City of Toronto powers, but in 10 years time, will you even have a public transport system left if it keeps going this way? The root of the problem, I feel, is the politicised commission structure.

    Like

  22. I attended the TTC budget meeting yesterday. I’m the Vice-President Equity and Community Relations of the Graduate Students’ Association and gave a deputation asking the TTC to not cut service to 48 bus routes across the city. I also strongly urged the TTC to build the Transit City network.

    My comment that building a 120 km light rail network makes more sense than building a gravy train to Scarborough Town Centre got a few laughs from the crowd at the Mayor’s expense even though that was not my intention. I wanted to show how wasteful it is to build a subway to Scarborough Town Centre when we have a cheaper plan to build a light rail network that will put 630,000 Torontonians within walking distance of rail-based transit.

    Like

  23. @PatT
    “You know what would make for interesting public meetings? This fun and wild idea:
    1) Televise and/or web-stream the proceedings so that more people can ‘attend’”

    Wonderful idea.

    I was thinking along the same lines myself, but for a different reason. I was wondering how the deputations have any weight at all in the public record, if they aren’t recorded along with the votes they precede. And if they aren’t officially recorded, doesn’t that speak to just how significant (or not) they are considered in the TTC meeting and decision process? It’s easy to justify a Commision vote when all the dissenting opinions and supporting arguments are effectively off the record after the fact.

    As for your “instant democratic feedback” point – I think that’s a great idea, that perhaps needs some refinement to work as intended. Unfortunately, online tweeting/feedback is as easy to hijack by ‘interested parties’ as are the current meetings. At least in this case we’d have IP’s/tags/etc.. to log and trend on. But I imagine just having the whole thing on the public record for the public to comment on – even after the fact – might be enough to make a change for the better.

    Like

  24. Chad stated:

    “There hasn’t been a debate about what “waste” means because there doesn’t need to be. The elected representatives of our city were chosen because the voters believe they will choose appropriately.”

    That’s not how our representative democracy works. It might be in the dreams of many a politician forced to deal with people questioning them.

    But, like it or not, we do not choose our representatives and then let them go on their merry way deciding things without input before the next election. We ask them questions. We badger them. We do what Rob Ford said we should do, and call them. If we didn’t, we’d be following Denzil Minan-Wong’s approach of trusting management, which would have gotten rid of even more lines then this flawed attempt to discover waste has done.

    As for defining waste, yeah, there better be a discussion. Otherwise we end up with things like Walkerton or Ipperwash, or Rae Days, or eco-fees, each cases where our elected representatives, PC, NDP or Liberal, didn’t think through the ramifications of their actions.

    Or to put it into transit terms – what’s to say this set of politicans knows better about wasting TTC money then the group who thunk up the SRT or stuck us with the extension to York University? City building is a long term project. Actions done 10-15 years ago, like Mel Lastman applying the North York approach of no tax increase while giving generous union agreements, still have reverberations today.

    So, yeah, given the track record of city politicians getting it wrong, regardless of political stripe, darn right I’m going to ask for a debate about what waste means. Because what they are deciding today means something.

    Example – the Ombudsman’s office says it can reduce waste by helping city departments find out where people see problems. But, the current administration calls adding two people to that staff waste because the culture of customer service, however that is defined by management/council, will make that unnecessary.

    That is a debate that needs to happen – is two staff members on the Ombud team going to get more savings then not having them? I’m not sure, but lets talk about what that culture of customer service means.

    But, if we use your approach, we don’t debate that and do what? Trust management/council when through the haphazard cutting of excess routes debate, they have already proven they are behind the taxpayers in the statistics, let alone how to interpret them? Not likely.

    I may not like the thoughts of people like Steven Cheung on here, but I would rather he be talking about his opinions then we blindly trust management and the politicians, regardless of their political stripe.

    Like

  25. This exersize is just begging for some sort of computerized fare system (i.e. Presto) to give the most accurate picture of what ridership these routes really carry, imo.

    Steve: Actually, Presto may not give you all the info you need. Unless you force everyone to tap every time they change routes, or use proximity readers to scan crowds for cards, you will not get all of the trip segments. Imagine trying to have everyone who is carrying a “pass” equivalent on their card having to tap as they come through, say, Finch Station. Even Presto has recognized the problem of forcing a tap in and out for every trip by allowing users to register their most common trip. This is not practical in the much more complex trip pattern of TTC riders.

    The TTC will be installing passenger counters on a subset of its fleet over the next few years, and for the purposes of riding counts, these are accurate enough. Lower tech solutions are sometimes preferable.

    Like

  26. This exersize is just begging for some sort of computerized fare system (i.e. Presto) to give the most accurate picture of what ridership these routes really carry, imo.

    If the service is bad, you won’t see many passengers, because they are acting rationally not to use the service. That could mean no-one wants to catch it, or it could mean that no-one wants to catch it at that level of service it offers currently because it is too long a wait, inconvenient, doesn’t connect where they want to go.

    Simply looking at fare data does not show something very important- the people who do not take public transport, and ultimately those are the people who would be the most valuable to gain for the system, not the people who already are converts.

    Many years ago we upgraded service on certain bus routes, including evenings and the weekend when “no-one” would catch the bus. Immediately following the upgrades, ridership started going through the roof, we are talking typical increases of 100% overall and 200% on evenings/weekends (as measured prior to 4 years earlier). Sunday patronage on many routes reached levels equal to or higher than their weekday patronage just 4 years earlier!

    Service quality and frequency is a big influence on whether people will catch the service.

    Steve: I rode the King car down Broadview this morning at 8 am. We stopped picking up people before we reached Gerrard, and I suspect that by the time we got to Queen, we had left the equivalent of a seated load at various stops. Part of the problem was that half of the service was being short turned eastbound via Broadview, Dundas and Parliament. This means that the headway from Broadview Station was at best 4 minutes rather than the scheduled 2, and with the merge point for short turns westbound at Parliament, many people would not be served. However, the cars would be “on time”. In the AM peak, they should short turn the other way around to re-enter service from Dundas southbound, but that is probably too challenging an arrangement.

    Like

  27. Steve,

    My thanks to you for offering the wider public a more fullsome report on the discourse of TTC-related matters (otherwise people’s knowledge would be limited to “Readers Digest” versions on Facebook or Twitter. I can attest to the fact that our City, transit and all, is better because of you. It is extremely frustrating to sit on a Board and feel as though you are the sole defender of a certain right or the sole promoter of a certain philosophy. I am grateful that we can work together “for the greater good”.

    Maria

    Like

  28. Steve writes apropos of Parc Downsview Park 101:
    “Sheppard West buses could detour into the park at least on weekday evenings when there is demand, and although this would give through riders a slightly longer trip, it would maintain service to the park.”

    The 84B and 84C did loop through Downsview. They stopped doing so some time between 1993 and 1998, looking at maps on Transit-Toronto.

    And apropos of 72A Pape via Commissioners:

    “Winter service through the eastern portlands, the Distillery District and the St. Lawrence neighbourhood will end at 7 pm on Sundays. This is a situation where the more populated area west of the Don River is penalized for having a service through an industrial area as part of its route. Would its stats look better as a bus that only served the residential communities?”

    I took the 72A once as a DRB (Downtown Relief Bus) — I was starting from downtown, was heading to the Ontario Science Centre, and had time to explore. The bus left Front and Bay with people standing, around 6 PM on a weeknight. Most got off at various stops along the Esplanade, and by the time we reached Cherry we were down to a handful. Some workers got on along Commissioners.

    Note that the nearest route to Esplanade, the King car, isn’t accessible. I wonder if the St. Lawrence neighbourhood may have higher needs for accessible service than average. Absent the 72A, the accessible approach to St. Lawrence from downtown would involve a trek north, east, and then south on Sherbourne or Parliament.

    I expect that the first time that someone who requires accessible service is left stranded by these cuts and makes a public fuss, the Councillors on the commission are going to be left in a tough spot.

    Finally, I have often wondered why any smart, ambitious Councillor would take on the kinds of jobs that taskmaster Ford is handing out. There’s dirty work to be done to meet Ford’s off-the-cuff statements. It was funny listening to the interview Metro Morning did shortly after the election with Doug Holyday, deputy mayor. Holyday sounded bemused when asked about Ford’s programme, and was pretty non-commital about what was actually going to happen; and I haven’t noticed him take a lot of public positions in various subsequent foo-fraws. Other Councillors may not be that smart?

    Like

  29. I wonder if anyone at TTC has a notion that once the high floor fleet is replaced in 13 years that Hillcrest might be a good place to sell for development (with subway related work moved to another yard such as the one needed for the Yonge extension). Of course, that would mean maintaining a heritage fleet would be difficult if not impossible…

    Steve: Hillcrest isn’t just the maintenance shops. It is also the main bus shops for engine work (relocated many years ago from Parkdale Garage to the Duncan Shops). It is also Transit Control and a few other departments. Yes, some redevelopment would be possible, presuming that this does not actually wind up being the site for the new LFLRV shops instead of Ashbridge (article pending on that issue).

    Like

  30. Steve says that TTC Chair Karen Stinz referred to those who made deputations as trying to serve their self-interest.

    I spoke on behalf of 6000 graduate students and how these service cuts adversely affect their day-to-day lives. I made no specific mention of the fact that the TTC arbitrarily, largely replaced the reliable 39 bus with the useless 199 “Rocket” to Scarborough Town Centre which immediately made my commute unbearable. A 90 minute trip to work now takes 2 hours (one-way). Because of that decision I cannot leave my house without getting a ride to areas that are better served by transit. As a result, I largely switched to GO Transit and will eventually abandon transit altogether in favor of driving. This is one of the effects of arbitrary service cuts or service changes without doing the proper research. I tried to get this point across to the commission. In addition, my deputation was not serving my own self-interest but it is now clear that Karen Stintz was not listening to a word anyone in the room was saying.

    Like

  31. Ed says: The 84B and 84C did loop through Downsview. They stopped doing so some time between 1993 and 1998, looking at maps on Transit-Toronto.

    The service through the Park (at the time the CFB Base) was stopped in September 1996.

    Steve: This is a case where the TTC’s analysis says that taking people out of their way through the base “inconveniences” more through riders than the benefit of providing service. However, given the off peak headways on the 84, I have a hard time believing that this is a huge problem, especially given the expected and growing uses of the site.

    Like

  32. The problem with the Downsview site is that there is no longer through access as there was in the 1990s that made the trip though the park take only 2-3 minutes longer than via Sheppard under the tracks. The 84 would have to make a complete loop in the property, which would add in my guess at least 5 extra minutes, I guess comparable to the 11 Bayview’s loop through Sunnybrook.

    The 84 suffers badly from poor scheduling as it is; the route between Downsview and Sheppard-Yonge Stations suffers from severe overcrowding and lousy service, it does not have the benefit of the 106 or 108 to take up some of the slack that it does west of Downsview Station. Routing through Downsview Park would be a disaster for that route.

    Like

  33. “I spoke on behalf of 6000 graduate students and how these service cuts adversely affect their day-to-day lives.”

    6000 Graduate students can’t speak for themselves? BOO HOO

    “I made no specific mention of the fact that the TTC arbitrarily, largely replaced the reliable 39 bus with the useless 199 “Rocket” to Scarborough Town Centre which immediately made my commute unbearable. A 90 minute trip to work now takes 2 hours (one-way). Because of that decision I cannot leave my house without getting a ride to areas that are better served by transit. As a result, I largely switched to GO Transit and will eventually abandon transit altogether in favor of driving.”

    The solution should be obvious even to a graduate student. Move.

    Like

  34. Well – I don’t remember so much writing about lowly (didn’t someone once call them ‘smelly’ and ‘old’) buses on this site for a while.

    It’s too bad that there is a shortage of money to run things – hmm but we ‘must’ afford a $433 million new light rail storage facility. (Even if no-one up until now really looked at an alternative.)

    Just looking at the TTC financials on its website, the operating cost per rider seems to have gone up by 26% from 2005 to 2009. That’s over 6% a year. Inflation has been around 2% a year (other than in David Miller’s mind.) So – hmm – maybe the problem is not that the TTC isn’t being give enough money, but rather that it has not (up until now) been held to account. (By the way, it IS the role of a governance organization to grill the heck out of management about expenses.)

    Steve: There is more going on here than meets the eye, at least in your analysis. Total operating expenses rose 38.4% from 2005 to 2009 ($960.2m to $1328.7m), but in the same period, the amount of bus service rose by 20.2% (102.9m km to 123.7m km). Passenger counts went up by only 9.3%, and the spread here reflects the fact that during this period service was increased at a rate faster than ridership to reduce crowding and to extend service hours. This explains part, but not all I agree, of the 26.5% increase in the cost/trip.

    If making people walk further and wait longer for transit service is bad, we should kibosh the transit city plan right away – because that will be the result for many customers.

    Steve: If that is our criterion for measuring the effect of new services, then the subway plan is even more harmful to would-be riders. Just ask the folks who live on Sheppard west of Don Mills, or Yonge north of Eglinton, what their service looked like before the subway arrived.

    Like

  35. Well the meeting ended after 10PM. Let’s see … outside the headquarters, there is the 14 Glencairn and 5 Avenue Road (nearby). If it was a few weeks from now instead of that night, your access out of there was the Yonge subway, 97 Yonge and 11 Bayview. Heaven help you if you need to go west. Considering the background of most of the commissioners involved, they probably drove to and from and not experience what the regular rider does.

    I miss David Gunn. Those of us who took the very earliest of subways in the morning when he was in charge (5:45AM), always saw him get on every morning at Sheppard Station. He always went to the car where the whistle blower was and talked to everybody everyday on their way to work. Many on those trains knew him as David and not Mr. Gunn (or some stranger). He was in amongst us experiencing everything we were, the good and the bad.

    Steve, you mentioned the area of Yonge, Bloor, Bathurst,and St.Clair will have no service in that area after 10PM. Funny, I remember taking the 77 Spadina bus when it ran all night up to Dupont. I know you’re old enough to remember that. Also, after reading about the meeting, do we now have all transit meetings conducted in Wongspeak or Stintzspeak? Meetings like that are in most cases a waste of time because they have already made up their minds and it is too far along in the process for anyone to listen with an open mind. Keep up the good work!!!

    Steve: The meeting was at City Hall. No services in the immediate area will be cancelled, although 6 Bay was originally on the chopping block.

    Like

  36. Don Hamilton said:

    “I spoke on behalf of 6000 graduate students and how these service cuts adversely affect their day-to-day lives.”

    6000 Graduate students can’t speak for themselves? BOO HOO

    Yes, Don, I see your point; it would be much preferable to have each student speak for his or her self. After all, with a 5 minute limit for each person, this wouldn’t take long. Of course, if the politicians limited the sittings to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, it would stretch out for about 12.5 weeks, but why would they do that? If they kept the meeting going 24/7 the graduate students would be finished in under 3 weeks (4 hours under, to be precise), and the next group, perhaps nurses who may work late, could start their comments.

    Steve: And the last time I looked, we have a Mayor who claims to speak on behalf of millions of Torontonians. Maybe he should let the rest of us speak too. The whole idea of representation is to allow a group to speak with one voice, but if you would prefer that we have thousands rather than hundreds at public meetings, all the more to show how little they are listened to, be my guest. At some point the crowd will outnumber the politicians by a ratio that cannot be ignored.

    Like

  37. Two points:

    1) Buses run on diesel. The TTC expects that oil prices will rise at a faster rate than electricity. Maybe that is why they will be cutting those poor performing routes, in anticipation of higher fuel costs. Of course, if the TTC will be paying higher prices, so will the automobile drivers, who might switch to to the TTC as an alternative. Another reason NOT to cut services.

    2) If we give the last commission (with Adam Giambrone at the helm) a starting grade of C, I would give the current commission (with Karen Stintz at the helm) a D-. Denzil Minnan-Wong performance so far at the commission gets an E, which is why the overall is not a D.

    Steve: Fuel is only a small part of the total cost of bus operation. The reason the cuts are all on bus routes is that the routes with very low ridership are all operated by buses.

    Like

  38. “The solution should be obvious even to a graduate student. Move.”

    The solution should be obvious even to someone like you: provide better transit to every part of the city. Not every person in Toronto can live downtown. The downtown core is already crowded and the number of people living there will only increase in the future with the amount of development happening. Many of the routes downtown such as Queen, King and College already suffer from overcrowding. Not everyone in the city who lives in areas of poor transit can move downtown because (a) they may not be able to afford to live there which is why they live elsewhere in the city or (b) the downtown core cannot accommodate everyone in the inner-suburbs if they were to move downtown.

    “6000 Graduate students can’t speak for themselves? BOO HOO”

    You expect all 6000 graduate students from York to sit in a meeting at City Hall from 1 pm to 10 pm when many have to teach or conduct research during that time period. There were a couple of hundred people presenting deputations and the meeting lasted 9 hours. If you would like to hold a meeting where thousands of people speak for themselves then go ahead. You can quit your full-time job to hold the hearings which should last quite some time.

    How about actually adding something substantive to the actual discussion rather than making condescending comments that make little sense.

    Like

  39. It is hard to feel sorry for university students at York who have more service options, with VIVA and GO express and a dedicated bus lane, than the much larger group that comes in from the North and East and is crammed onto the Yonge line at Bloor. And, York will soon get its own subway stop. Compared to the people having to trek through Downsview park at night in the dark, the York students have it made. I understand the need for people to lobby, but how much more does that group need?

    And, having the inconvenience of the 199 compared to the 39 (I’m trying to understand what the problem is with that … take a 39 to a 199 stop, get off, catch an express – that is the beauty of the Metropass) doesn’t quite match with a massive block of the city receiving no service.

    Steve: The York students who are complaining are at Glendon Campus on Bayview and Lawrence. They will lose the connection westbound to Lawrence Station when the 124 Sunnybrook and 162 Lawrence Donway are not running, albeit only on Sunday nights after 10 pm. I suspect that they thought the cut would be more severe and affect them on nights when the campus is busier. The 11 Bayview runs every 26 minutes late Sunday nights and goes to Davisville Station.

    Like

Comments are closed.