TTC 2016 Operating Budget

On November 23, 2015, the TTC Board will consider its operating budget for 2016 including issues of fares and possible service improvements. The version of the budget before the Board was approved at the TTC’s Budget Committee meeting of November 9, 2015 with some amendments from the original staff proposal. The only recommendation related to fares was that the price of a Metropasses be frozen in 2016, but no other specifics. (I have already commented on the motions passed by the Committee in a previous article.)

The matter is complicated by the fact that the actual subsidy that will be made available to the TTC by City Council will not be set until early in 2016, and the TTC will compete with other agencies for available money.

(The 2016-2025 Capital Budget is also on the November 23 agenda, but it has not changed from the version discussed at Budget Committee.)

Although the Operating Budget report is long, it is better organized than the previous version with more detail, rather than depending on whatever questions might arise from a long PowerPoint slide deck and the skill (or lack thereof) of the presenter.

This budget is always a balancing act between competing forces and interests:

  • A political imperative to “keep taxes down” and limit the growth of the TTC’s call on City subsidies from the property tax base. This often manifests itself in calls for “efficiency” year after year in the hopes that the TTC can do more with less funding in constant dollar terms.
  • A political will to keep riders happy with benefits such as controlling growth in, or even freezing fares while providing more and better service. This includes targeted fare changes to benefit groups who are perceived to be more deserving of support through lower fares.
  • Annual increases in the cost of labour, materials and utilities.
  • The cost of additional service to handle demand from a larger population and a shift to transit from other modes.

In 2015, Council approved an extra $95-million for a number of improvements to service, elimination of the fare for children, and a capital-from-current purchase of 50 new buses to be used for new express routes in 2016. This increase only covered the part-year cost of the changes, many of which came into effect only in recent months, and additional subsidy will be needed in 2016 for the full 12-month cost. Additional improvements are on the table as part of the 2016 budget, and some of these were approved in the Budget Committee. The bottom line here is that improving transit has an ongoing cost and is not something to be done on a one year “feel good” program followed by a return to penny-pinching. Indeed, even that $95m might not have come to the TTC had Council been aware of unexpected costs from changes in Provincial funding arrangements for other programs that came to light after the extra transit money was announced by Mayor Tory and TTC Chair Josh Colle.

The Budget Gap

When the TTC began work on its 2016 budget, it faced a $95m gap between anticipated revenues and projected costs. For the purpose of this analysis, the subsidy remained at 2015’s level (including the extra $95m from that year) and fare revenue was increased based on projected ridership, but at 2015 rates. Expenditures were originally expected to rise by $101m as shown below:

Expenditure Changes: +$101M

Annualization of Prior Year Actions/Decisions:
- Service – maintain existing, annualize current, growth to 555M   $46M
- Leasing Requirements                                              17
- Collective Bargaining Agreement                                   10
- Reliability Centered Maintenance                                   8
- POP Fare Inspectors – Deferred from 2015                           2
- Annualization of 2015 workforce changes                            5
Total Annualization of Prior Year Actions/Decisions:                88M

Inflationary Increases:
- Other Employee Costs                                              10
- Traction Power & Utilities (Hydro, Natural Gas, Water)             7
- Accident Claims & Insurance                                        4
- Material Price Inflation                                           3
Total Inflationary Increases:                                       24M

- Presto Commissions                                                 4
- Diesel Hedging                                                   (13)
- Other                                                             (2)

TOTAL                                                             $101M

TTC Management sharpened their pencils and cut a substantial chunk out of this increase:

Expenditure Reductions: -$42M

Leasing Requirements 
- cancelled Concord Garage acquisition                            ($5.2M)
- deferred 250 Bus Garage until later in 2016                      (9.3)
- other changes                                                    (0.5)  

Departmental Non-labour Reduction                                
- across-the-board cut based on recent experience                 (10.0)
Accident Claims flatlined to 2015 budget                           (3.5)
Service - refined calculation                                      (3.0)
Hydro - reduced volume                                             (2.0)
Employee Benefits
- actuarial projection re: reduced WSIB long-term liability        (1.0)
- reflects reduced futures price for unhedged volume               (1.0)
Leap Year
- 1-time draw from TTC Stabilization Reserve                       (1.0)
Contribution to Capital
- all 50 new buses to be received in 2015, rather than phase in    (5.0) 
Other/Rounding                                                     (0.5)   

TOTAL                                                            ($42.0M)

Detailed explanations are available in the budget appendices, but a few points should be noted here.

  • The single largest “reduction”, $14.5m, is a deferral of leasing costs that will be unavoidable in future years.
  • A further $5m reduction comes from moving a planned 2016 capital-from-current expense from 2016 into 2015. This has the effect of increasing costs in 2015 where financial results have been better than expected.

In other words, almost half of the reduction is simply a case of shifting costs to other budget years, not an actual reduction in total spending. If the subsidy stays at 2015 levels, this has the effect of giving the TTC more money on a net basis than it would otherwise have for 2016, but leaves a jump in costs for leasing to be absorbed in the 2017 budget.

The $42m reduction brings the net expense increase down from $101m to $59m. Further changes net out to a further small reduction in the budget gap going into 2016 to $58m.

Additional service improvements
  recommended by the Budget Committee:                             $5M
Loss of one-time draw from reserves in 2015:                        9
Fare revenue increase based on ridership growth, 
  but at 2015 levels:                                             (15) 
Net improvement:                                                   $1M 

This gap must be filled by higher fares or subsidies, and the gap itself could widen if there are additional service improvements or fare restructuring.

Proposed Service Improvements

The Budget Committee approved some but not all of the improvements put forward by staff.

Approved ($5.4m in 2016):

  • Earlier Sunday service
  • Bus service reliability
  • Streetcar service reliability
  • New and enhanced express bus service

Not approved ($4.2m in 2016):

  • Subway service reliability
  • 3-minute or better service on Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina)
  • New streetcar service on Cherry Street

It is important to understand that the bus and streetcar reliability items do not address every line in the system, but target specific routes for schedule and other operational improvements.

As for Cherry Street, this is a bizarre situation on several counts:

  • The TTC has built the Cherry spur from King Street at considerable expense, but now chooses to treat its operation as an optional improvement rather than a natural part of system growth.
  • Staff project that there will be no net ridership increase from this line even though it will serve the new condos in the former Pan Am Village and the east end of the Distillery District.
  • The service will benefit not just riders on Cherry but those on the inner part of the 504 King route which is chronically short of capacity.
  • The TTC has yet to address service to the West Don Lands in general including the future of the 172 Cherry and 72 Pape bus routes.

Imagine if the TTC were to treat the opening of the Spadina extension in late 2017 as an “optional” cost. Cherry Street is a small item, but it is a failure of both management (for omitting it from the base budget) and of the Budget Committee (for not correcting the situation).

Of the three options that were not approved, the lion’s share of the cost (67%) is due to the proposed improvement in service frequency on the YUS, 19% to the Cherry Street car and the remaining 14% to subway service reliability.

Fare Options

Without any further change in service plans for 2016, there remains a $58m gap to be filled by fares and/or increased subsidy. As subsidy, this would represent a 12% increase over the $473.7m budgeted for 2015.

Possible fare options are summarized in the table below and these include permutations on changes to various parts of the overall fare structure including:

  • Freezing the Metropass prices at current levels, or letting them rise proportionately to other fares based on existing multiples to the ticket/token rate for the same class of rider (adults, seniors, etc.).
  • Increasing only the adult Metropass by 5¢ per ride, roughly the equivalent of increasing the fare multiple by 1.
  • Increasing the adult token fare by 5¢ or by 10¢ with proportionate changes in other ticket fares.
  • Increasing adult cash fares by 25¢ and/or eliminating the discounted cash fare for seniors and students.

Quite predictably, the greatest amount of new revenue is produced by a 10¢ adult fare hike plus a 25¢ cash fare increase (with the move to a single cash fare generating up to $5m as a cost to seniors and students). If the adult fare goes up by only 5¢, then the revenue gain is about $12m less than with the 10¢ increase.

In all cases, the additional revenue is not sufficient to offset the $58m shortfall, let alone any additional costs or improvements.

One option not included in the table is a rebalancing of senior/student passes to use the same multiple as the adult pass. This would reduce them from 57 fares to 50.5, and would require an offsetting $1.30 per adult pass monthly in effect raising this pass close to a 51 multiple from 50.5. A simpler way to put this would be to move across the board to a 51 multiple in effect shifting some of the senior/student pass subsidy over to adult passholders. (The question of whether 51 or any number in that range is an appropriate multiple is a separate issue not part of this budget.)


The market for Metropasses has been changing in recent years as shown in the chart below. Total pass sales are down about 1% in 2015, but the drop is entirely in the full-priced adult pass while sales of the lower-priced discount passes for bulk purchases, subscriptions and students/seniors have grown. This shows that riders love to save money, and that if alternatives are available, there is a limit to the degree the market will accept a higher-priced adult pass.


Subsidy Per Rider

The report includes a table of subsidies (pp 30-31) for the TTC and other transit systems in the GTHA, Canada and the USA which shows, as usual, that Toronto has the lowest per rider subsidy of $0.89 and only Montreal, at $1.11, is remotely close to Toronto. Moreover, the subsidy has fallen from $0.93 in 2010 which, if inflation were included, would be the equivalent of $1.03 today. If that missing 14¢ per rider were restored, the TTC would have had $76.3m more subsidy available in 2015. That is the equivalent of about 2.5% on the property tax base that has been “saved” by the Ford era at the expense of transit quality. (Ironically, the saving is offset to a considerable degree by the Scarborough Subway tax.)

Fare Subsidies Based on Social Goals

The budget report is silent on any special subsidies for targeted groups as this will be the subject of another report expected in December. This will inevitably get into the question of “fare equity” both inside Toronto and will be a strong undercurrent in any regional fare consolidation that might come into play with full Presto adoption in 2017. Inevitably there will be calls for lower fares for specific groups in 2016, but this is unlikely before the TTC can move to a fare medium (Presto) where different fare structures for various types of riders can be more easily implemented.

Even for “standard” fares, Presto will bring many discussions about just what the appropriate fare level should be for each type of rider and trip, and Toronto will almost certainly go through a few years of adjustment to whatever new formula comes into play. An important factor with Presto is that bulk discount fares should be available on a retrospective basis depending on usage patterns rather than riders having to pay up front for a “pass” or “subscription” arrangement.


To say that TTC Boards obsess about staffing numbers would be an understatement. This often is discussed far out of proportion to other budget items, and in a strange world where operating more and better service supposedly can be done without hiring anybody. One cannot crow about added subsidy for more service and better maintenance, and then object to the fact that much of this money can only be spent by paying people to do the work.

Some “efficiencies” do occur primarily related to increasing the passenger to operator ratio with larger vehicles, all-door loading and eventually a move to one person operation of subway trains. However, these are not reproducible each year except to the point that there is a change in the fleet mix (a higher proportion of larger vehicles) or better scheduling of existing vehicles (changing the local/express service design, for example). Once the change occurs, it cannot be repeated in future years and cannot be counted on as a year-after-year cost reduction.

Overtime costs are another focus of bean-counting Board members. The issue is a valid one – don’t pay excessive overtime – but there are many cases where it is actually cheaper to pay someone overtime rather than to increase headcount. This affects both day-to-day crew schedules (with shifts longer than 8 hours to fill out the service day) and emergency situations (subway and other maintenance shuttles). There is no point in keeping operators on staff for a few hours’ work a day, or on the off chance that there will be a major breakdown of the subway (which would, in any event, require spare buses for them to drive). The whole process is a balancing act which is explained on pp. 18-19 of the budget report.

The Cost of New Riders

Appendix D (pp 22-23) explains the relationship between ridership and budgeted service. If 10 million more trips are projected, this will generate the need for about:

  • 2,000 more operator hours
  • 51,900 more vehicle kilometres
  • 14 more peak buses
  • 3 more peak streetcars
  • 1 more peak subway train
  • 80 more employees
  • A marginal cost increase of $11m

A few important caveats:

  • This analysis presumes that the ridership growth can be handled without a major change in underlying infrastructure such as the opening of a new bus garage or subway yard.
  • The existing trip pattern by time of day and location over the entire system goes up proportionately rather than being concentrated on specific routes or time periods.
  • It is not physically possible to increase subway capacity during the peak periods pending changes to signal and control systems.

Much of the improvement to service in recent years has come at off-peak periods when spare vehicles are available and the marginal cost of labour is lower (peak period changes cost more because they trigger more payments for split shifts and garage mileage, and new vehicles are required that only serve riders for a few hours each day).

The numbers above imply that on an average basis, the cost per new rider goes up by only $1.10, but that is because, in this model, the riders are carried at the margin by improving fleet and operator utilization. Service improvements, obviously, are not necessarily “marginal” in their cost, and so the payback for new riders is lower or non-existent. This is an important consideration when the system is recovering from several years of artificially constrained growth where much new riding did come at the margin without comparable increases to service. That sort of “efficiency” cannot go on forever as riders on many packed routes will attest.


The Wheel-Trans service is funded entirely by the City of Toronto at a 2016 cost of about $125-million with minimal cost recovery from fares. Ridership is growing very quickly on this system (13% in 2015, 14% projected in 2016) due to riding demand (demographic shifts) and legislative changes to eligibility rules and hours of service.

Wheel-Trans has been starved for funding, but its costs will continue to rise faster than the rate of inflation (7.3% in 2016).

21 thoughts on “TTC 2016 Operating Budget

  1. On the matter of “Subsidy Per Rider”, isn’t it odd that we see regularly see comments about the TTC having to be more “efficient”. Yet they constantly ignore that the TTC gets the lowest subsidy among all of North American urban transit agencies. Instead, they should be making suggestions on how to make the TTC function better, and especially on the “how”.


  2. Without Concord ($5.2M), how would the TTC consider temporarily reactivating Old Eglinton and Danforth to store 250 buses (125 each) since they are not in the budget. As mentioned before in the report, it could operate as “Garage Lite” without major work. Since the Eglinton Bus Terminal (current) was built in the old garage site, there’s no possible way on how they would reconfigure it. Danforth is the same situation, but they would need to move other TTC functions elsewhere if it was temporarily used as a garage.

    To my surprise, the Cherry Street streetcar ($4.2M) was rejected but the express bus expansion ($5.4M) got approved.


  3. Am I understanding this right – as of right now, TTC is going to finish building the Cherry Street tracks but not run any streetcars on them? I suppose it’s not quite as brilliant as building a tunnel with no tracks in it but…


  4. So when will Cherry St get its streetcar?

    Steve: This depends on whether someone on the TTC Board (or at Council) has the good sense to put this back in the budget. Based on the money allocated for 2016, they were looking at a fall startup for service, although move-ins to the new condos start late spring.


  5. TTC logic (if that’s not an oxymoron) has one part of the organisation busily stringing overhead wire down Cherry Street while another part has decided that it can no longer allocate $$ to actually run streetcars using them. Having sat through innumerable meetings of the Transit EA for this stub and the line along Queens Quay East and heard all the bold talk of “Transit First” I would be disappointed and surprised, if it were not the usual pattern.

    Actually, I had assumed that “Cherry Street” would not really be a ‘real route” but rather a scheduled short-turn branch of the 504 King streetcar that would not only provide better service on a large part of King but (at least to some extent) serve the new area that will be getting a large influx of new residents starting in March or April 2016. I assumed that it might become a ‘real route’ when, in the distant future, it actually linked with the line on Queen’s Quay. Sigh!


  6. Steve:

    What is the lowest multiple in the history or metroPass. If I recall correctly there was always a need for at least one extra trip to break even after a daily commute to work.

    Steve: That’s a tricky question. The multiple for adult passes got down to about 48 in 2007, but this assumes you pay-as-you-play. If you were a Monthly Discount Plan (MDP) subscriber, the multiple was around 44. Then there is the tax credit for those who can claim it.

    At 44, this is slightly above a commute trip per day for a 20-day month.


  7. Old Eglinton garage has no hope. I’m surprise that’s even being brought up. Danforth has little chance, I know they are in the process of moving everything out of Danforth. So that’s a wait and see. TTC is looking to lease one place to store 250 buses, and not two separate locations that will had up to 250 buses. Lansdowne is another location, I’m not sure why after 10+ years TTC still owns it. I know the soil is contaminated, but why still hang on to it after 10 years since its been demolish. Davenport is also not possible too small, and used for storage. As of right now buses will be constrained until McNicoll opens. Find a place to store 250 buss is easy, but finding that same place with everything TTC is looking for eg. hoist, pits, fueling station etc, is another story. I had the opportunity to peek inside Danforth from the outside, it didn’t look that bad. I know a friend that works there, I’ll ask if any hoist are still there.


  8. So just to clarify Steve, the 58M expenditure increase includes the approved 5.4M (Sunday and express buses) but not the additional 4.2M (3 minute YUS and Cherry St)?

    Steve: Yes, and other things as well in both lists (see article).


  9. “On the matter of “Subsidy Per Rider”, isn’t it odd that we see regularly see comments about the TTC having to be more “efficient”. Yet they constantly ignore that the TTC gets the lowest subsidy among all of North American urban transit agencies. Instead, they should be making suggestions on how to make the TTC function better, and especially on the “how”.”

    I don’t know how efficient the TTC is with the resources it is given, but correlating operating subsides to efficiency is not logical and not relevant. At the macro level all public transit systems are 100% subsidized. Whether the ratio paid directly by riders to indirectly by riders and non-riders through taxes is high or low is not relevant to the efficiency of the organization.

    Steve: Yes! The high level of user-pay in Toronto is a matter of local history, strong ridership and a transit system that never collapsed on itself through disrepair or migration of its customers. The strength of Toronto as a city whose old core never died, and which expanded transit into the suburbs rather than abandoning them to cars (although to some extent that did occur) explains a lot about the TTC’s success.


  10. With the recent talk about replacing the Davisville Head Office and consolidating TTC employees ideally in a central location, I’m surprised there’s no discussion about a new building right at Yonge and Eglinton. It seems a natural location, and the TTC plans to redevelop it anyway. It seems a win win.

    Steve: The TTC is aiming to be in a new space before the Yonge-Eglinton property will be available. Also, unless someone made them a very good deal, they are quite happy to lease space in an existing building.


  11. It seems that 504 streetcars often short-turn via Parliament, Dundas and Broadview. So, couldn’t the TTC simply redirect these short-turning cars to Cherry Street to provide some basic service there at no extra cost?

    Steve: They are scheduled to run to Broadview Station, and the short turns do not occur at reliable times, especially off hours. Cherry needs some cars dedicated to a shuttle into downtown, but TTC has not yet even published a service design saying how far west this line would operate: York/Wellington (the 503 loop), Spadina, Bathurst, Dufferin?


  12. Unlike what Mr Steve Munro seems to think, doing more with less is indeed possible. Just consider this: I waited 25 minutes for the 501 Queen car today (and some other people waited even more) and then at least 5 showed up in a row and this at a time of low traffic, no construction and every weekend it’s the same story and so it is the same story late at night every night at a time when there is hardly any traffic. Consider this to the VIVA system in York Region where it is extremely rare for even 2 buses to show up at the same time. The reason? VIVA drivers are not public sector employees and are readily fired if a driver is goofing around for example while hundreds of people are waiting for the bus and consider this to the TTC where it is almost impossible to fire people. VIVA drivers are also paid much less and consider this to the TTC where many drivers are paid much more than even PhDs and engineers in the private sector. In the past, I have seen as many as 9 streetcars come in a row and as many as 8 TTC buses come in a row but show me more than two VIVA buses come at the same time and I will give you $200 in lost bet. Another reason why it is time to privatise at least portions of the TTC is the following: While Mr Steve Munro readily complains about lack of accessibility in the TTC,

    The escalators at the busiest TTC station in Toronto have been out of service for well over an year and that too for PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE only (i.e. nothing even wrong but just out of precaution). Compare this to the Eaton Centre for example where it is extremely uncommon for any escalator to be out of service during business hours and if one is taken out of service, then it is repaired within hours. So, what’s the difference? The difference is that if one escalator company fails to finish the job in time, then it is fired and replaced with one who actually wants to the job but compare this to the TTC where it is nearly impossible to fire people. If people want better service, then at least some portions of the TTC will have to be privatised.

    Steve: I hate to tell you this, but those escalators are NOT the TTC’s. They are owned by the private building through which the subway entrance operates, and any delays in fixing them are down to the building owners. Moreover, they are being completely replaced, and this is not “preventative maintenance” no matter what the signs might say. I use this exit from time to time, and the fact the Xerox building does not seem to care about it is extremely annoying. Quoting from the article:

    We asked the TTC what’s up with the escalators. A spokesperson got back to us, saying they don’t belong to the TTC but are part of the Xerox building, on Bloor St. E. So we asked if it could check on them with the building management. Do it yourself, came the reply, along with contact information for Mr. Michael Williamson, listed as the general manager. We called Williamson, told him who we are and asked about the escalators. “I’m really not at liberty to talk about it, but thanks for your call,” he said, before hanging up. We went back to the TTC, but a day later, it said no information is available. Oooh, classified, eh? It’s apparently too big secret to divulge.

    One of the arguments against privatisation that Mr Steve Munro has made in the past is that contractors will cherry pick between which routes to provide service on, which routes to abolish as non-profitable but that is NON_SENSE since in the case of VIVA for example, the whole schedule is mandated by the publicly owned YRT and so the VIVA service runs even late at night even when ridership is low on some routes.

    Also there are elevators and other escalators and doors, etc on TTC property which remain closed for years but show me anything at the Eaton Centre which remains closed for years and you will be hard pressed to find any such examples as it just does not happen in competently run private sector properties like the Eaton Centre (not saying that every private sector property is competently run but on average much more competently than the public sector). Also compare how clean private sector properties like the Eaton Centre are and compare it to any TTC station allegedly cleaned or “cleaned” by heavily unionised public sector workers. There are certain jobs which should remain in the public sector but I think that drivers, cleaners, etc will perform better with private contractors.

    Steve: Service levels on VIVA are dictated by York Region. The private operator provides service when, where and at the frequency York contracts for, not by their own choice of routes as you noted. Cherry picking would occur if the transit service were left to the private sector to operate when and where it suited them. Rather like trying to hail a cab in many parts of the city.

    If we don’t go the private sector way, then I can see extreme public sector austerity in the near future (kind of like Greece where there have been massive protests and general strikes every single day since I was a kid and so not just economic instability but also social instability including law and order).

    I moved to York Region because highly unionised TTC was extremely unreliable and so now I take GO trains and YRT/VIVA only and am very happy with the high quality comfortable transit service I receive.

    Steve: I was of two minds about even publishing this comment, but some statements made here require my own outlook.

    First off, the problem of bunching and erratic service, especially on weekends and evenings, is something I have written about here at length. A big problem is with TTC management who are so busy trying to “fix” daytime, and especially peak services, that they regard other periods as something for the future, if ever. There is a big problem that route supervision is undermanned during the very periods when erratic service has the greatest effect. This is a problem of resource allocation, not of unions.

    Queen is to get new schedules in January (the details have not yet been published), at which point one of the standard excuses for poor off-peak service will go up in smoke.

    As for the comfortable service you receive on GO and YRT/VIVA, I would hope so considering that the subsidy level for these services is much, much higher than on the TTC (by a factor of over 4x for York Region). You are aware, I hope, that York Region’s transit is a union shop.

    And finally, if someone is going to make a case for privatization, they should try to get their facts straight. Making an argument that is little more than tepid bilge water, a collection of half-truths, misstatements and personal bias, does not do the job at all well. Especially from a made up user name with the message originating from an Ontario Government network address.


  13. From where exactly come the costs of Cherry Street service? I never expected it to be improving service, meaning an increased number of cars on 504, but only a new and more convenient terminal for the existing service that currently makes the very long short turn north on Parliament.

    What is actually driving the cost to service Cherry?

    Steve: You’re not the only one who would like to know this. However, the TTC has not published a service design on which the cost is based and we don’t know how much of this might actually be from a net addition of service on the central part of 504 King. Any cost related to better King service has nothing to do with Cherry Street. Meanwhile, they also claim no marginal revenue from the new service thereby relegating it to the bottom of the priority list. This is what passes for “planning”, but stinks more of an organization that doesn’t want to improve service.


  14. In Appendix C it was reported that overtime costs incurred has gone down for the second year in a row because of the use of spare board operators (total 365) at the different divisions. A report earlier this year in the Toronto Sun indicated that the TTC was spending $95,000 a week to pay operators who are on the spare board but being sent home after 5 hours but getting paid for 8 because of no work. It would be interesting to know if this is still happening. If it is, then isn’t the spare board too large? Not only paying wages at straight time but all the benefits. I guess this is a way for Byford to show that he has reduced the number of operators making over 100K.

    Steve: Actually, there is a reason for spareboard operators going home after waiting for five hours. At that point, it is likely that any piece of work they might have assigned would run over the end time of their shift, and they would, therefore, not be eligible to do it. This has been the case for as long as I can remember, going back to the 1960s.


  15. Re: the Cherry streetcar line. Do I have the math right… $90 million for a 700-metre spur? Sounds very extravagant. Since it was a Waterfront Toronto “transit-first” project funded 66 percent by the feds and province, shouldn’t the senior governments cry fowl over the TTC’s deferred in-service date?

    Steve: Far more was involved than new track. This project also included a complete rebuild of the street and utilities, and possibly some of the adjacent streets as well. I would have to dive into the Waterfront Toronto project list to see specifically what the money covered.

    It now turns out that the TTC will operate the line no matter what. The only question is whether this will be net new service or a diversion of resources from elsewhere in the network to pay for it.


  16. Presumably the TTC has an idea of whether or not it could not take a couple streetcars off Broadview and re-route them along Cherry (for example, every third streetcar.) But then again, seeing how the TTC cannot seem to be able to handle operating westbound 501 Queen cars (half are supposed to go past Humber, at least on paper), I doubt the TTC would be able to handle to alternate eastbound 504 King cars between Broadview and Cherry.


  17. Isn’t YRT’s base service frequency 45 and 90 minutes? At those frequencies I’d guess that many routes would operate with 1 or 2 buses only. Oh wait are we talking about VIVA here? The chosen lines where YRT has robbed the base service everywhere else to pay for? I’m sure the customers everywhere else would love how their service is doing more with less.


  18. Robert | November 23, 2015 at 11:56 am

    In Appendix C it was reported that overtime costs incurred has gone down for the second year in a row because of the use of spare board operators (total 365) at the different divisions. A report earlier this year in the Toronto Sun indicated that the TTC was spending $95,000 a week to pay operators who are on the spare board but being sent home after 5 hours but getting paid for 8 because of no work. It would be interesting to know if this is still happening. If it is, then isn’t the spare board too large? Not only paying wages at straight time but all the benefits. I guess this is a way for Byford to show that he has reduced the number of operators making over 100K.

    Steve: Actually, there is a reason for spareboard operators going home after waiting for five hours. At that point, it is likely that any piece of work they might have assigned would run over the end time of their shift, and they would, therefore, not be eligible to do it. This has been the case for as long as I can remember, going back to the 1960s.

    I like your reasoning Steve – just because it has always been like this, let’s leave it like this. If they are sent home after 5 hours, then they should be paid for 5 hours and NOT for a nano-second more. Why don’t we use these spare operators who are not doing any work to clean subway stations which are often very dirty? They get high driver wages for doing lower paid cleaning work and so it’s a win-win situation for both the drivers and the customers.

    Steve: Those drivers are not reliably “doing nothing” and they are primarily used to fill in for people who are sick or otherwise missing for work. The assumption seems to be that they work only five hours most if not all of the time, and that is simply not true. Moreover, if they were routinely paid only for five hours, they would quickly seek other work. By the way, there is a good chance they will be on duty for more than eight hours depending on the crew they have to fill. This sort of arrangement is part of the cost of having enough staff available for most typical conditions, and even with the spare board, not all scheduled service makes it onto the street.


  19. I wonder if they will treat a 514 service like a modified 521/522 hybrid during the CNE obviously too soon to tell but it would be interesting to see how this impacts events at Exhibition Place good or bad in terms of access.

    As you are probably aware Steve access to the west end of Exhibition Place is dismal at best.

    If nothing else it will help provide access to Liberty Village.


  20. So the TTC decided on +$0.25 cash and +$0.10 tokens.

    After this I went back to the Fare Scenario table and noted a few questionable items. #4 ($0.05 on fare media; $0.25 on cash fares; excl. Metropass) raises less revenue with no Metropass freeze and has less negative impact on ridership with a Metropass freeze! If the Metropass is excluded, why is there a difference?!

    The Star is saying the needed subsidy will be $41M. Is this an error by the paper or in the TTC table? Or is the cost of a freeze on student/senior fares costing $6M?

    Steve: It’s the student/senior freeze. I suspect we will see a fine-tuned version at the December Board meeting.


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