Toronto’s Core Services Review Contemplates Transit Cuts

This morning, while TTC Chair Karen Stintz, Mayor Ford and other luminaries were dedicating the inaugural run in service of a Toronto Rocket subway train, the agenda for the July 28th Toronto Executive came out.  The city’s “core services review” has reached its agencies, including the TTC, and the consultant’s findings can be found starting on pdf page 161 of their report.

The premise of the city-wide review is that there is some sort of “standard” above or below which services are provided.  In some cases, reference is made to other cities, but in the case of the TTC, the “standards” appear to be pre- and post- David Miller’s mayoralty.  If something was done in the “Ridership Growth Strategy”, it is by definition “above standard” and up for elimination.

This is a strange way to evaluate services especially in the North American city lauded for the quality of its transit system and the economic benefits this brings.  Never does the consultant address the value of good service, only its cost.

The consultant, KPMG, show their colours on the title page with the double-entendre corporate motto “cutting through complexity”.

Service Level Cuts

The recommendations for service provision state:

There are opportunities to reduce service levels, predominantly in areas recently increased in response to the Ridership Growth Strategy –crowding standards, minimum service frequencies and late night services.

KPMG may be new to this file, but the Ridership Growth Strategy is hardly a “recent” creation as it dates from March 2003.  RGS was a deliberate policy to make transit more attractive to potential riders.  One of the most common complaints from transit-resistant users is that their car is more convenient and uncrowded.  While we will never duplicate an automobile’s comfort and privacy with a bus, streetcar or subway, we shouldn’t treat transit riders as third-class citizens especially when they are paying 70% of the cost of the service they ride.

KPMG was silent on capital financing issues as they were only reviewing the effect of transit on the City’s operating budget.  In the process, they note that capacity improvements for the subway are in progress, but fail to mention or analyze the cost, timeframe and risks of current TTC plans.

As to service quality, we see yet again the TTC “standard” of .23 passengers per dollar spent cited.  I have written before about the folly of this measure as it has not been adjusted for inflation since its invention over a decade ago.  The TTC claims that it is “dimensionless”, and they are wrong.  Getting them to admit this, or to correct their methodology, is an almost hopeless cause.  The problem with this number is that, as a standard, it becomes harder and harder to justify service improvements based on a cost/revenue calculation as one dollar buys less and less service that must get the same number of riders to be “acceptable”.

KPMG notes that Toronto has better financial performance and transit market share than other large North American cities, but makes no reference to the quality of service provided elsewhere.  How can we have a “standard” without reference to system use, or to the benefits and costs?

Notable by its absence is any reference to subway frequency standards.  Current TTC practice runs trains every five minutes whether they are needed or not, and never shuts a portion of the system for low usage.  Oddly enough, there was a time when a wider maximum headway was permitted, but this was changed back to the current 5 minute value before Mayor Miller’s time.  KPMG appears to be selective in the “standards” they consider.

Vehicle loading standards were improved under RGS for two reasons.  First, if the target peak hour average uses all of a vehicle’s capacity, then there is no room for the inevitable variation in demand.  Second, the scheduled capacity is rarely the capacity actually provided when short turns and bunching are taken into account.  Off peak service on many routes runs infrequently, and at times only somewhat related to the posted schedules.  The least the TTC can do is to aim for a seat for most of its off-peak riders.

Nowhere does KPMG address the much more fundamental “resource management” issue of service provision and quality.  I have written at great length about the problems of service management as practiced by the TTC, but this falls on deaf ears regardless of the political flavour of the Commission.  Providing better service with the resources you have is a fundamental tenet of management reviews, but this topic is completely missing from KPMG’s report.

KPMG suggests that night services could be discontinued or run as a premium service to reflect their cost of operation.

Transportation services at night are considered discretionary, although they are provided by other large municipalities. Service level rated S, as 30 minutes is a reasonable schedule, comparable with other large jurisdictions that provide similar service.

“Considered discretionary” by whom?

KPMG appears utterly unaware that some of the night routes meet the daytime service criteria.  More generally they do not even review how the night network fares against the recently minted standard for cutting lightly used services (15 riders per vehicle hour).

Night service exists not just for the poor shift worker who occupies a low position in the new cost-effective business model at City Hall, but also many entertainment activities that go late into the night and count on transit as a safe way to take their patrons home.  The idea that night service is provided simply because it is “traditional” rather than “essential” belies a view of public transit quite foreign to Toronto’s citizens and business community.

Nowhere in the discussion does KPMG address access to transit, the walking distance and waiting time to obtain transit service.  Already we know that the TTC neglected this as part of its marginal service review and has created large blocks within the city bereft of late-night transit.

These changes would reduce convenience and travel flexibility for some customers, and would reduce total ridership levels. Elimination of Blue Night network of buses would be a major inconvenience to a relatively small number of customers. Raising/doubling of fares on Blue Night routes would be an alternative way to offset high costs of service delivery.

[The] majority of service levels are established through an internal TTC standard. Opportunities may exist to lower service levels/standards for these services to reduce costs. However, lowering of standards may impair safe and efficient operation of the transit system (this may also apply to Wheel-Trans). Further analysis may be required as part of the TTC efficiency review.

Regular users of night services are likely to have passes, and it’s hard to say when the “night fare” would kick in.  Does Sunday morning from 6 to 9 am, when the TTC chooses to keep the subway closed, count as “night” service?  Does a Queen car making its way from Neville to Long Branch stop at, say, 2:30 am to demand a supplementary fare from whoever is on board?  KPMG really does not understand how fare systems work, or the fact that late night service actually runs well beyond 2am, not 1am as cited in their report.

Quite bluntly, KPMG was lazy — they took the easy pickings, the RGS changes brought in by the previous regime, but ignored the broad question of the function transit should have in a city.

Fleet & Infrastructure Management and Repair

Although these areas consume a great deal of resources, KPMG is silent on whether these functions are provided cost-effectively.  Any discussion of potential cost savings must deal with basic criteria:

  • what is a reasonable standard for provision of any function,
  • does this standard requires more or fewer staff, or different staff qualifications, to provide it.

Answer these questions and we can get into issues like overmanning, pay categories, staff management and supervision, and outsourcing.

Administrative Functions

This set of activities includes Legal, Claims, Training, Finance, and IT services.

Opportunities may exist to merge some of these with comparable functions at the City, but the TTC is a large organization.  Indeed, some of its administrative groups may rival or exceed their opposite numbers within the City government.

Of particular note is “training”.  For many companies, this is a generic function conducted by hated members of the Human Resources department or consultants hired for the purpose on generic topics applicable to any organization.  However, a transit system has a unique requirement to train technical staff be they drivers or maintenance workers on the peculiarities of transit operations, equipment and infrastructure.

Outsourcing Service Provision

KPMG suggests that some transit services could be outsourced to a private contractor citing the Region of York as an example.  Given the labour relations implications of such a move, this is a longer-term target.  What is missing from the discussion is the recognition that York (and others) started from a position where creation of a transit system would require significant investment for what would be a comparatively small operation.  The TTC is a much different situation.  Moreover, KPMG does not address the capital side of the balance sheet.

Some types of facility maintenance are generic (groundskeeping, security, cleaning) and in theory could be provided by an outside contractor.  While this and other generic outsourcing may be possible, what can prove interesting is the definition of a standard to which a contractor may perform.  Will the TTC manage contractors any better than their own in house operations?  Will cleaning stations to a level of 80% (whatever that means) be an objective, measured criterion complete with performance penalties, or will it be a subjective standard met with a wink and a nod if things are not quite right?

Wheel Trans

Some of the KPMG suggestions are common to the “conventional” transit system such as consolidation of maintenance and back office functions with other agencies.  WT is already part of the much larger TTC and draws on its services.  The available savings may be small, except to the extent that there are consolidation benefits for the TTC as a whole.

KPMG suggests that the need for WT may decline:

With increased accessibility of regular transit services, there may be opportunities to narrow the range of eligible users, perhaps considering seasonal issues. Helping users become familiar with regular transit may also reduce requirements. (Development of an accessible taxi industry could also help).

Although the surface fleet is becoming accessible, there is a very long way to go with the subway, and the date for an accessible system recedes in the future thanks to capital budget cuts.  The phrase about “helping users” is condescending and presumes that people don’t know what services are already available, and only this ignorance prevents them from leaping onto the nearest bus or subway train.  As for the taxi industry, it is well known that this is a big problem for the TTC because taxi owners don’t want, or cannot afford, the investment in accessible vehicles.

Among the options for savings is:

Review eligibility criteria for Wheel-Trans participants to make it stricter, thereby lowering total demand.

[This] could marginalize individuals with non-severe disabilities having mobility issues.

Oddly enough, KPMG observes:

Efforts over the past two decades to improve accessibility of regular TTC services has limited the growth in requirements for WheelTrans, but the service will still be needed as most users cannot access even accessible regular transit services, at least in some circumstances. [Emphasis added]


Like many other reports in the KPMG Core Services Review series prepared for Toronto, there is a strong thread of picking obvious targets without a real understanding of the implications the cutbacks may have or the broader policies, social and political, in which past decisions were taken.

Earlier this year, there was a huge battle over cuts to many bus routes and hours of service deemed to be “poor performers”.  The context was the need to free up budget headroom for service improvements in the fall.  Indeed, September will see better service on many routes in response to crowding.  However, there are 25 routes where service improvements are justified by demand, but where there is no money left in the budget to provide it.

Unlike most other city services, the TTC generates the majority of its operating budget from user fees.  We already know that the 2012 budget will include many demands including:

  • inflationary increases in materials
  • an extraordinary increase in fuel cost (35%) for diesel buses
  • a 10% cut in subsidy funding from the City of Toronto (about 3% of the budget)
  • an as-yet unknown labour cost increase (likely at least 2.5% based on other essential services)
  • the need for more service to cope with riding that will crest the half-billion mark for the first time in TTC history

There may be savings to be had, but these will not permanently cap the increase in TTC costs.  These may be one-time savings that cannot be repeated in 2013 and beyond.

More service, more riders means higher fares or greater subsidy or both.  A decision to stop serving transit demand because Toronto cannot or refuses to afford it runs counter to the city’s history and even Mayor Ford’s own Transportation City program.

Finally, this is a test of the independence of the TTC Board.  If choices are made from the KPMG menu by Toronto’s Executive Committee or by Council, then the TTC Board may as well pack up and cede control.  The TTC is doing its own efficiency review, but this has not yet been published.  Are there ways to limit costs or to provide service more effectively?  Are KPMG’s proposals realistic and an accurate read on where savings can be found, or are they the easy options for a consultant telling a client just what he wanted to hear?

22 thoughts on “Toronto’s Core Services Review Contemplates Transit Cuts

  1. “There may be opportunities to narrow the range of eligible users [for Wheeltrans]”

    If you are both deaf *and* blind, you don’t get access to Wheeltrans. How much narrower can you get??

    On nightbuses:

    1) The 320 runs every 3-4 minutes until 4am. I assume this is because of high demand levels rather than a desire for subway-like headways.

    2) The nightbuses make up about 1.5% of all bus trips, so eliminating them would save little money.

    3) Most people who ride the nightbus do the reverse trip on regular service… so those routes would lose riders – and hence revenue.


  2. Steve said

    Like many other reports in the KPMG Core Services Review series prepared for Toronto, there is a strong thread of picking obvious targets without a real understanding of the implications the cutbacks may have or the broader policies, social and political, in which past decisions were taken.

    I suspect, KPMG was given direction to look at things the we-want-more-donut-shops-in-our-area Fords wanted cut.

    Steve: Their knowledge of transit is probably bettered only by their knowledge of donuts.


  3. Toronto is not run by the Tea Party, or so I hope. The report seems to have a mandate to look only at potential for cuts as opposed to new ways to generate revenue to provide services. As you put it Steve, they look at service in terms of cost only, not the benefit provided. That’s ideological claptrap.

    Meanwhile, the Toronto Board of Trade continues to bemoan our lack of investment in transportation infrastructure in its reports “The Move Ahead” and “Reaching Top Speed.” As a business lobby group, they recognize that these investments cost real money and so merit considering new revenue tools such as a regional sales tax, parking surcharge, road tolls, etc.

    The irony? Currently sitting on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Board of Trade is Beth Wilson, Toronto Managing Partner, KPMG. I’d be very interested to hear her interviewed on the approaches the two reports take and how to reconcile them. She may have nothing to do with either, of course, but one imagines that if she wanted to she could dabble in both.


  4. The report is short-sighted and does not looks at the broader picture. Eliminating the Blue Night Network results in the following:

    (a) Shift workers who rely on transit and cannot afford to drive will be forced to quit their jobs. Many of these folks use the “daytime” network to get to work and the Blue Night network to get home so the TTC will be losing twice as many trips not just the blue night trips.

    On top of that eliminating the Blue Night service causes an increase in the unemployment rate from people quitting their jobs if they have no way of getting to work. In a consumer driven society, fewer people with a disposable income has an impact on an already fragile economy.

    (b) Many people across the GTA use the Blue Night Network to get home after spending time and money downtown for entertainment purposes. If people have no reliable way to get home, then fewer people will go out and spend money at the businesses in downtown Toronto. Toronto’s economy suffers as a result.

    The Ontario Government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Aren’t government agencies and private business supposed to be compliant with the act by now? I know non-profit organizations have until January 2012. The question is, does eliminating wheel-trans mean the TTC is in violation of this act? I would argue yes. What are the consequences of violating this act? Heavy fines?

    The report is not well thought out. It is highly limited in scope to immediate cost and does not examine the wide ranging and long-term effects of these proposed cuts.

    Steve: Transit systems do not have to be accessible until 2024. However, a cutback of Wheel Trans certainly would fly in the fact of a move to improve, not reduce, mobility. KPMG’s arbitrary placement of services in “mandatory” or “traditional” roles is meaningless when the whole concept of access has no “traditional” precursor.

    That said, the TTC and other transit agencies are hammering at Queen’s Park for the lack of funding to make systems built decades ago accessible.


  5. I’ll say this much about the KPMG review with regards to the blue night service, never have I seen a group push so hard to increase the number of drunk drivers on the road.

    But at least we’ll have phantom subways along Sheppard.


  6. The thing with the KPMG reports (about TTC or otherwise) is that they’re not really about improving efficiency — they’re about reviewing the different services that the City provides, and recommending whether the City should be in the business of providing that service (or, whether the City is providing “too much” of a service). So we get into whether the City should be in the business of ploughing snow off the streets, and if so, maybe we should stop ploughing the windrows (as if we haven’t had that debate before), rather than into whether it could be done more efficiently.

    Ironically, I think the so-called “gravy” that Ford expects is of the latter variety. Hence his claim that he can simultaneously reduce costs, maintain services, and increase customer service. I believe that Ford Nation thinks that City Hall (and the various City agencies) is staffed by people that are working less efficiently than “us hard-working folks.” They think that Ford is the new sheriff that they need to lay down the law, and the City’s problems will be solved by getting employees to work harder or more efficiently. The sleeping subway collector (regardless of the circumstances) was the unfortunate poster boy for this belief.

    Anyway, maybe there are these efficiencies that could be found, but that’s not what the KPMG reports do. And, arguably, that’s where they should have started. If departments or services can operate more efficiently, then there’s less need to run around with a chainsaw to things like water fluoridation and Riverdale Farm and night buses. And some efficiencies that might be found in the TTC could have a positive impact on riders’ experience, too — like spacing service out evenly would regain the capacity lost to bunching while also reducing crowding and waiting times.


  7. I think this is the first time I’ve heard of night buses running once every half hour described as a “premium” service that is so attractive that its riders should pay a higher fare.

    Steve: KPMG tips their hand in that recommendation, as in so many others, that they have no concept of how the city works, and are parroting positions fed to them by those for whom cutbacks are the holy grail of city administration.

    If the night service actually ran on time, that would really be a premium service. Any time I have to use it, the schedules are utterly meaningless, and only my detailed knowledge of the system and alternate routes that might work get me home in vaguely decent time. Or I take a cab. That’s only an option to an occasional night traveller, and one who can afford it now and then.


  8. I actually take the night bus to get home from work some nights and to get to work for my 6 am start times. If they cut it I could not get home from work. I depend on that service because without it I cannot get to work.

    KPMG is a bunch of money hungry idiots that fail to realize that unlike their job, the world does not shut down at 5 PM Monday – Friday.

    All I will say is this.. we can rest assured the cuts to the TTC and to the rest of the city will not happen. Not if any of our current Councillors want to EVER get re-elected again.

    There will be hell to pay if they make these cuts and I doubt our current elected officials would want to deal with it. Though, I can see Dalton McGuinty making a large campaign promise to help bail out the city in the coming weeks.. first and foremost the TTC.


  9. Richard White said:

    “All I will say is this.. we can rest assured the cuts to the TTC and to the rest of the city will not happen. Not if any of our current Councillors want to EVER get re-elected again.”

    While watching the financial nightmare playing out with the debt ceiling in the United States, I’ve come to realize that politicians nowadays have lost their fear of political suicide when it comes to making dumb decisions. As a result, I would not rest so easily until we can confirm that items really are off the table or possibly if we have a city council revolt.


  10. Brent,
    Do we use the same Blue Night buses? I have used the Blue Night for years, and knock wood it has always been on time to the posted schedules, except for maybe two or three times in all the years I have taken it.

    In terms of cuts. I am so embarrassed that services like Blue Night are even being looked at as possible places to cut. Blue Night is a North American model, as no other city, save for Montreal, provides 24 hour transit to suburban districts, like the TTC does. (Vancouver & Ottawa have some, but no standard that most of the population be within walking distance of 24 hour service like Toronto and Montreal have).

    Sad sad day indeed, and all this will do if these things pass is make transit a commuter service and a service for the poor outside of rush hour. Because you can bet people who have a choice are not going to stand for crowded buses at midnight, service ending early, and no overnight service in case they are out late.

    I just hope all us transit users do not become complacent. I have found over the years that Toronto transit supporters talk a good talk on internet boards. But when it comes to actually getting together and fighting to stop cuts, we don’t do a very good job.

    Now is the time to actually get organized and save our TTC. Because if there is no comments made about these cuts, you can be sure they will go through.

    Blue Night handles only something like 5,000 people a night, if that, and even less Mon-Thurs. It is not a lot of people, and is an easy target for cuts. But it is a target that will make our system a lot less attractive.


  11. And if the insanity of cutting the blue night service wasn’t bad enough, according to the Star, our mayor and his brother are seriously considering scrapping the streetcar network to raise funds for the Sheppard subway.


  12. Does Rob Ford want Toronto to cede its place as Canada’s top city? Montréal just increased its night network service levels by nearly 75% after having introduced a 10-minutes max network last year.


  13. I’ve only ever used the Bathurst night bus, and it is somehow just as unreliable as the day bus, usually coming 30-45 minutes late, and quite packed.


  14. Jason,

    While Montreal’s added night services are welcome. Please remember Montreal started with a lot less service than Toronto. Montreal took their night bus service from a bus about every hour, to a bus every 45 minutes on most routes.

    Still much lower service than Toronto. Even the main routes don’t run that often.

    They do get marks for express buses to the West Island. We don’t have express night buses.


  15. Maybe it is time for the province through Metrolinx to own and operate the TTC, just to get it out of the ruinous hands of the anti-transit Ford brothers.


  16. The comment from the KPMG report:

    “Elimination of Blue Night network of buses would be a major inconvenience to a relatively small number of customers. Raising/doubling of fares on Blue Night routes would be an alternative way to offset high costs of service delivery.”

    begs a response.

    During my career as a TTC Operator, I have spent much time operating these routes (quite standard when one is a new operator). One thing that I know as fact is that the majority of “regular” riders on these routes have no other means to travel at this time of night. They are the working poor, who have to travel from one end of the city to/from their low wage jobs at the other end of the city. A number of them that I got to know had to use two, sometimes three Blue Night buses. These people cannot afford cab fare for these trips, let alone owning a car. This “inconvenience to a relatively small number of customers” actually further marginalizes the poor and actually sets them down the road to even worse poverty.

    From a personal standpoint the elimination of Blue Night service would seriously affect my own family. We currently choose to own one vehicle. My wife works shift work at a major downtown health care facility. She relies on the Night Bus to get from our home in northeast Scarborough (we are a ten minute walk from the 302) to get to Main St. station to transfer to the 306/506 streetcar which takes her to within a ten minute walk of Hospital Row on University Ave. I, as well, quite frequently take the same bus to work if my wife requires the use of our vehicle when she is working the night shift (the 302 stops right at the front door of TTC’s Birchmount Division). My son, who doesn’t hold a driver’s licence, also relies on the Night Bus because he works shift work. We are in the situation where we would have to purchase a second vehicle and try to juggle the various shifts that we all work to enable us all to get to work.


  17. Steve said:

    Like many other reports in the KPMG Core Services Review series prepared for Toronto, there is a strong thread of picking obvious targets without a real understanding of the implications the cutbacks may have or the broader policies, social and political, in which past decisions were taken.

    Brent said:

    The thing with the KPMG reports (about TTC or otherwise) is that they’re not really about improving efficiency — they’re about reviewing the different services that the City provides, and recommending whether the City should be in the business of providing that service (or, whether the City is providing “too much” of a service). So we get into whether the City should be in the business of ploughing snow off the streets, and if so, maybe we should stop ploughing the windrows (as if we haven’t had that debate before), rather than into whether it could be done more efficiently.

    From what I read in another article, “Critics see KPMG report as smoke and mirrors” yesterday, one reason for the poor quality of the report may be because “Industry experts say KPMG, which received $350,000 and two months to complete its part of the research — one of three parts in the review — was not given the resources to do more. ”

    The Star also said that “one prestigious international consulting firm … said they would not have accepted the contract.”

    There’s more in the article, but the message is clear – the decisions were political and KPMG is just doing what they were paid to do.


    Moaz Yusuf Ahmad


  18. As for the proposed cuts to Blue Night services, the best way to speak out against them is to get MADD (pun intended).

    Regards, Moaz

    Steve: For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with the acronym, “MADD” is “Mothers Against Drunk Driving”.


  19. Michael says:

    “I have found over the years that Toronto transit supporters talk a good talk on internet boards. But when it comes to actually getting together and fighting to stop cuts, we don’t do a very good job.”

    I think the many people who have given public deputations at TTC meetings, myself included, will disagree with you. In early February when the TTC was debating cutting service to 42 routes, the list of debutantes was very long and the marathon meeting lasted many hours. For the most part, the Commission ignored the public on that day. They heard that Torontonians do not want service cuts but they made them anyways.

    Nick L. says:

    “..our mayor and his brother are seriously considering scrapping the streetcar network to raise funds for the Sheppard subway.”

    This is upsetting. If Ford does end up ripping out the streetcar network, what exactly does he expect to do with the new streetcars for the legacy system when they arrive in a few years? I rode the Queen streetcar during rush hour earlier this week and the ALRV’s were jam packed. There is no way buses can handle the volume of peak period passengers who use the downtown streetcar routes.

    My only question is should Toronto be renamed Detroit East now or should we wait until after Ford completely runs the city into the ground.


  20. “Notable by its absence is any reference to subway frequency standards.”

    Yes it is tempting to cut service on the Sheppard subway from every 5 minutes to every 10 minutes to save money. This is short sighted though, because the subway isn’t nearly as empty as it is popularly believed to be. The Sheppard line is full during rush hour, and I have frequently seen it half full or so during off peak times. Cutting Sheppard line service = more traffic on 401 (the section of the 401 parallel to Sheppard carries almost 10x as many cars as the number of passengers on the Sheppard subway and has horrible traffic congestion).

    During the very late night hours (after midnight or so), cutting subway frequencies to 10 minutes (like Montreal) might make sense, but like any service cut this should be done sparingly.

    Steve: I am not just talking about Sheppard.

    On Wheeltrans:

    Anyone who uses the TTC regularly knows how much of a joke “accessible transit” is, and not surprisingly the number of wheelchair users who use transit is very low (I very rarely see them). Overcrowded buses and subway trains, broken wheelchair ramps and broken elevators make transit difficult to use for the disabled.

    On night buses:

    The Yonge Street night bus (and Bloor as well) are heavily used and would be crazy to cut. Would this mean that there would be no bus service from 6-9am on Sunday as well?


  21. I have to say I am disappointed that the city even had to hire a consulting firm to come up with this report. I would expect city staff to be able to provide this type of information, and for council to discuss what is essential and what can be reduced when it comes to services.

    What I was expecting is an overview of processes used by the city and to identify were things are inefficient (ie. it takes x employees to screw in a lightbulb, while the average should be y).


  22. Steve, It’s becoming more and more obvious that this group (Ford et al) are trying to kill and distance themselves that anything to do with the previous administration (Miller).Remember, after his first term, David Miller was so far in front of everyone that he could have been acclaimed (except for John Tory). After the second term, with council being split as bad as it was (and a lot of his allies getting into stupid trouble or having stupid parties … UGH!!!!!), a lot of good plans got stuck in a sort of limbo.

    This situation has been transit planning 101 in Toronto since politicians got involved (check out the Eglinton tunnel that got scrapped because of the “Harris” Tories … the idols of the Ford family). It’s weird that a surplus was experienced by Miller and now the shortfall is massive (according to them!!!!!).Go figure.

    When I first started working (back in ’72), the all night service only went as far as St.Clair going east-west and the Yonge bus at that time only went north of Eglinton to the City Limits loop (on Yonge across from Yonge Blvd … where a Loblaws is now). When the subway was extended to York Mills, the night service was extended to Steeles. About 25 years ago, the Blue Night Network was introduced. When I was younger and lived in the city, I used this system extensively. Even this past week I had to use it and you know what … the [southbound] 3:18AM-320 Yonge bus had no seats left after Sheppard. And most of those people got from the connecting routes … Steeles East, Finch East and West and Sheppard East. These routes are essential to many residents in and outside of Toronto.

    But, it is not essential to many of Ford’s followers. And most that are waiting for a bus during the rest of the day really don’t care about someone waiting in the middle of the night and this group in power knows it. Most people don’t give a damn until it affects them and then it is usually too late.

    Remember this also, most of Ford’s support came from what we previously would have known as “Zone 2” in the old TTC, with the inner city being the old “Zone1”. If they were to take away the streetcars, they wouldn’t care because it affects an area that did not vote for them. We can only hope that chair Stintz has seen the light of day as the Globe and Mail surmises. What would this group have done if it had to deal with old sewers and watermains that were bursting because of age when Miller was in control? I don’t know myself.

    Steve: In defense of Miller, it was under his administration that the long-standing shortfall in watermain maintenance and replacement was turned around. Now there are projects everywhere, and the biggest complaint is about the amount of construction.

    And yes Montreal, Ottawa (1 route), and Vancouver have night services beside Toronto. But, in North America, you can add Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York that have extensive night systems among others.

    What also concerns me is what will happen when and/or if Hudak becomes Premier. We may be only seeing the beginning and that is even scarier!

    Steve: What’s really appalling is that KPMG seems to think that the whole TTC shuts down at 1am and doesn’t start up again until around 6. In fact, there is fairly good service on many routes until after 2 am (many last trips outbound connect with the last subway trains, and they leave Bloor-Yonge at 1:55 am). Day service starts up at 5 am on many routes.

    This is a classic example of how they were given a list of “Miller” improvements and given the task of killing them off without understanding what they were proposing, just like the folks who commissioned their reports.

    As for “Zone 2”, a lot of Ford votes out there came from the appearance of competence, and some degree of anti-Smitherman, anti-downtown elitism that had been whipped up both by press and candidates. Once the folks in Zone 2 discover that their communities and services are under attack, they will think differently of the Fords and their camp followers.


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