Updated March 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm: Charts and commentary have been added at the end of this article regarding monthly ridership statistics published by the TTC through the CEO’s Report.
In a previous article, I wrote about a TTC management report giving a “Ridership Update” for early 2016. This was triggered by concerns that overall ridership had stagnated, and the obvious question management might hear: “what are you doing about this”.
During the debate at the March 23, 2016 Board meeting, it became clear that to some extent, management was making up the story as they went along. The report includes data for the first two months of 2016, and February was particularly bad with a drop against both the budget target and against results in 2015.
However, once the debate was well underway, management reported that March to date was almost on budget, and was up 2.5% over 2015. Why was this information not in the report, or at least in a supplementary paper published before the meeting got underway? The entire tone of the debate would have changed with the sense that, maybe, things were turning around and ridership was growing again.
The situation was further complicated by repeated claims from management and from TTC Chair Josh Colle that ridership was not on a decline, but that it simply did not achieve its budget target. This quite flatly is not true as anyone capable of reading TTC reports can see.