Where Have All The Riders Gone?

TTC ridership has been static for the past few years, as set out in the October 2018 CEO’s Report. Year-to-date ridership is down 3.2% compared to budget and 2.0% compared to 2017.

This is attributed to several factors:

Ridership has flatlined since 2014 due to various factors, including congestion, changes in customer mobility, and growth in digital ride-hailing services.

Another important factor that has adversely impacted ridership is the ongoing decrease in Metropass sales, which currently generate approximately 40% of total ridership. Specifically, there were 163,000 (-7%) fewer passes sold between January and August 2018, compared with the corresponding months in 2017. Although some of these lost sales have likely been offset by an increase in PRESTO e-purse transactions, the declining Metropass sales continue to have a significant impact on overall ridership trends. [p. 19]

The statements here present many factors, but do not attempt an analysis. One vital and missing component in the list is the question of service quality and capacity. If people cannot get on their bus, streetcar or subway train, or if the service is unpredictable enough, they will use transit as a matter of last resort, not as a first choice.

The entire concept of a monthly pass was to remove the incremental cost of taking another trip, something which (at least back in the late 1970s when the debate raged over whether Toronto could have monthly passes) was an important factor. Fares are still an issue, but service is a troubling component too.

The note about declining Metropass sales requires some explanation. The TTC, through user surveys, estimates the number of trips taken by the typical passholder in a month, and this sits at about 74. For every 100,000 passes they sell, they count 7.4 million trips. Obviously, the number of trips each passholder takes will vary, but things will average out. For example, in the first week of July when, by chance, I was part of the survey sample, I took 27 trips (and that’s counting a “trip” by the transfer rules then in effect). That translates to over 100 trips/month. The trips/day varied from a low of 2 to a high of 7. It was a busy week, and I made one or two round trips from home, plus a few stopovers, on the busiest days. If I had counted on the basis of the two-hour transfer, the “trip” count would have been close to 20 factoring out the stopovers and a few quick there-and-back-again round trips.

Because each Metropass sale translates to so many trips in the stats, the loss of a sale has a big effect on the total TTC numbers. However, the people who “fall off” the Metropass group are likely to be those whose usage was borderline break-even and for whom convenience of a flash-and-go card had a value in its own right. Presto eliminates that value, and it would be no surprise to see many passholders switch over. The actual trips lost to the TTC are, for these riders, fewer than the average Metropass usage.

The trips/pass for the remaining sales should go up if the low end of the market shifts to Presto, but it is not clear whether the TTC adjusts their multiplier frequently. The “lost” riding could be as much an effect of overcounting the lost pass sales (and associated trips), as it is a real decline in system usage. This problem will become even trickier with the two-hour pass available through Presto where trips that used to count as two (or more) fares will now only count as one.

Meanwhile, in response to the falling numbers, the TTC has plans:

To re-establish sustained ridership growth, a new Ridership Growth Strategy (RGS) is being implemented. RGS initiatives include implementing a two-hour transfer on PRESTO and relieving overcrowding on surface routes.

Research is also underway to analyze the changes in monthly Metropass sales and corresponding ridership impact. [p. 19]

If one goal of RGS is to relieve overcrowding, then it is clear that at least part of the system needs more service to handle demand even while official “ridership” is not growing. There may be routes with falling ridership, but even they must be viewed with caution lest the fall be the result of irregular or even reduced service.

Indeed, if there are overcrowded routes, why does the TTC not publish a list of routes, periods and locations where crowding is a problem that cannot be addressed without more capacity? Toronto cannot begin to talk about attracting new riders if it does not provide enough service to carry those who are already trying to use the system, or even understand the scope of the current system’s shortfall.

The two-hour fare will accentuate the split between the trend in “fares” (considered equivalent to “ridership”) and boardings on vehicles. (A “boarding” is one passenger getting on one vehicle, and each transfer counts as a new boarding, except on the subway which is considered one route for this purpose in TTC stats.) This will add to the confusion between apparently falling “ridership” and system crowding.

It is no secret that the TTC is capacity constrained. Although the bus fleet is now more reliable than ever thanks to better maintenance and the retirement of old clunkers, the actual size of the fleet is not growing because there is no place to put any more vehicles. Expansion plans are limited, as I have written before, and this is a major problem for the TTC’s future. On the streetcar fleet, new cars are gradually replacing old ones, and on close to a one-for-one basis bringing greater capacity to King Street this year, and to Queen in 2019. Subway capacity will not improve until early 2020 at best on Line 1 YUS, and 2026 or later on Line 2 BD.

Even the new Express Bus network has limited benefit because so much of it simply rebrands service that already exists rather than making a real improvement in what riders experience. Of the changes to date, the most striking has come on 29 Dufferin, but on many routes the service is identical to, or only a slight improvement on, the old “E” branches that are now 900-series routes.

The TTC has research underway on the effect of pass sales on ridership numbers, but this potential effect of the Presto migration was hardly unknown. If anything, the TTC has been derelict in placing so much focus on “ridership” while ignoring the basic question of service quantity and quality.

Former CEO Andy Byford set a management goal for a reduction of short turns and an improvement in on-time performance. This triggered various responses:

  • On some routes, scheduled running times were inadequate to actual conditions, and short-turning was inevitable. Running times were lengthened (and service was often scheduled less often to stretch available vehicles to match longer trips). However, in some cases the padding has been excessive leading to dawdling vehicles enroute and queues of buses and streetcars that arrive early at terminals.
  • When even padded schedules didn’t eliminate short-turns, the edict went out “thou shalt not short turn”. This can be counterproductive because there are cases where short turns are needed, but simply are not done and vehicles remain in a pack following a long gap.

The matter of “on time performance” is a blatant case of cooking the metrics to make management look good.

  • Previously, the TTC measured “on time performance” at various locations along routes. The results were not pretty.
  • The metric was changed to look only at terminal locations on the premise that service which is on time at the start of its trip will remain so as it moves across the city. Alas that is not so.

As we will see in a series of articles I will start publishing in coming days, there is a common problem on many routes that service may begin with vehicle spacing that is close to “on time”, but it takes only a short distance along a route for vehicles to catch up to each other and run in pairs or triplets. A further issue is that the TTC considers a bus or streetcar “on time” within a six-minute window, and this is meaningless for the frequent service on major routes. Because the service quality goal is only measured at the terminal, the actual reliability seen by most riders (who board elsewhere) is considerably worse than the values management reports.

For its part, Council looks at ridership numbers, sees a system that is not growing and says “why should we give you more money”? When added subsidy does come, it is as likely to go into fare reductions as to service growth, but lower fares are cold comfort if a rider cannot rely on transit for a timely and comfortable journey.

40 thoughts on “Where Have All The Riders Gone?

  1. The big problem I see is that usage of different types of fares is not equally distributed across the system. It seems obvious that people using higher order transit are going to have higher order fare methods…the bus that goes to the Zoo is going to have fewer Metropasses per rider than the streetcar going to King and Bay…higher order fares often don’t require taps, where lower order fares require some sort of interaction…either tickets or tokens or taps.

    This would skew route level stats.

    It should be easy to figure out which routes have long dwell times at stops and then visually inspect stops to determine where there are long term overloading issues. The drivers could also simply press a button when riders can’t get on, and the stats would quickly show the problems.

    Steve: A few caveats here. First off, it is not clear whether the TTC has the same level of passenger counting capability today as in years past. Passenger counting staff have been cut back while, in theory, automated counting was supposed to be installed on new vehicles in the fleet. When I attempted to get some of this data, I was told that it is not available because the APCs either were not turned on, not installed, or not reliable. Presto data, of course, is limited to riders who tap, and major loading points at subway stations do not have “tap ons”. Those locations also include vehicle layovers that would be hard to distinguish from loading delays. As for dwell times at stops along a route, my understanding of the TTC’s analysis of its tracking data is not at the granularity needed to measure dwell times. Stop dwell time can also be affected by traffic conditions, of course, and this has to be factored out.

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  2. It’s amazing that in neither the TTC’s report or your analysis, increased cost is never even mentioned.

    During the time frame 2015-2018, monthly metro passes for students increased by over 8% and for adults increased by over 9%.

    For the vast majority of people, i.e. poor people who can’t afford cars and/or daily parking, it makes ZERO sense to purchase a monthly pass now, unless you’re regularly making more than 2 trips per weekday and on weekends. Poor people don’t do that.

    In 2015, over 11% of Ontario’s workforce was earning just minimum wage, and almost 30% are low wage workers, earning slightly above minimum wage. See this Toronto Star article.

    These are the TTC’s largest customer base, with the least flexible income and budgets. When you increase their prices 3 times over the rate of inflation, of course they’re going to stop buying.

    The obscene price increases can’t be wholly attributed to the province not subsidizing the TTC enough. Instead of getting rid of management fat (such as lost and found room supervisors who earn over $70K), the TTC management has chosen to get rid of fare collectors and spend obscene amounts on the PRESTO debacle.

    At this rate of price increases, the only people who will be able to afford the fares will be TTC’s own management and the shrinking population of idle rich in the downtown core.

    Steve: The viability of a monthly pass versus single fares depends on the ratio of pass prices to tokens/tickets. This ratio started out at 52 and currently sits at 48.75 ($146.25 for a pass divided by $3.00 for a token). Discounts such as the Monthly Discount Plan and the now-discontinued Federal Transit Tax Credit could reduce this, but these disproportionately benefit those who would commit to buying a pass every month and who had sufficient income for the transit tax credit to have any value. (Moreover the money from that credit showed up long, long after the cash had to be spent on buying a pass.)

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  3. This is why we need to move everyone to Presto right away. When everyone is on Presto, counting trips would be a lot easier. To get the 120 minutes fare, one must tap in on every vehicle. So, boarding a 92 bus at Woodbine Station in the fare paid zone will require a tap in. Every tap in is information. Vehicle utilization rates can be easily calculated.

    Some TTC riders might have shifted to GO Transit. Even though the hourly service on the Kitchener and Stouffville Lines are not really convenient. Those 6 car trains are not ghost towns either. I ride those lines often enough to see the increasing ridership. When the Stouffville Line is double track from Kennedy to Marilyn, counter peak service will be possible. In a years time, there might be all day both way 30 minutes service between Union and Unionville. People are using them because they are faster than the TTC. In a situation like that, it is no loss to the city. One more transit rider benefits everyone regardless who is the carrier.

    Steve: Actually a tap on to connecting vehicles is NOT required to obtain the two-hour fare. The original tap shows that you “paid” somewhere at a certain time, and that is all that’s needed.

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  4. Ridership is an archaic measure of transit success. A good metric would not give an illusory decline in usage just because a person switches from a pass to single use fare while keeping transit usage constant.

    The TTC should move to a more modern metric. Maybe something like Average Revenue per User (ARPU), used by wireless firms. Or Load factor (percent of full seats per vehicle) used by airlines. Or whatever freight railroads use.

    Lots of different and superior metrics that don’t require a metropass fudge factor

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  5. Why does TTC avoiding the truth? The truth is clear and simple ; ridership has NOT decreased. What has indeed decreased is the amount of ppl paying their fare!! And this because fare payment is not sufficiently enforced. Enough is enough. Let’s face the truth.

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  6. Steve said: Actually a tap on to connecting vehicles is NOT required to obtain the two-hour fare. The original tap shows that you “paid” somewhere at a certain time, and that is all that’s needed.

    TTC website says:

    When do I tap my card when riding TTC?

    Tap your PRESTO card every time you enter a subway station and whenever you board a bus or streetcar, regardless of whether it’s in a station or on the street. As long as you are within two hours from your first tap you will not be charged another fare.

    While the original tap does clearly that show you started the 2-hour period I suppose that tapping onto all transfer vehicles would allow the TTC to look at actual ‘journeys’. Of course, if you tap onto a surface vehicle and then enter the subway through a fare-paid area there is (currently) no way to tap onto the subway. Making all transfer customers tap on might give the TTC better data (which they would then not have time to use!@) but at subway stations would surely cause huge bottle-necks.

    Steve: There is a distinction between the TTC’s desire to get lots of data (which, as you note will still have holes in it) and what is strictly necessary to obtain a two-hour fare.

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  7. “Discounts such as the Monthly Discount Plan and the now-discontinued Federal Transit Tax Credit could reduce this, but these disproportionately benefit those who would commit to buying a pass every month and who had sufficient income for the transit tax credit to have any value.”

    This is extremely fallacious reasoning. To presume that people were buying passes mainly because of the tax credit is insane, and stinks of the elitism that was used to justify the obscene tax breaks to electric vehicle car owners. Spoiler: rich people like having the latest gadgets, and were going to be buying electric cars no matter the tax credit associated with it (as if they don’t already have enough legal tax avoidance schemes available to them).

    The budget conscious don’t use transit when there’s no absolute need to do so. That means two trips per working day. That is nowhere near your simplistic ratio of monthly pass price versus single ticket price.

    The fact remains that people buying passes was a steady and secure revenue stream for the TTC that is now gone. Price increases over and above the rate of inflation is solely responsible for that. When 95% of your revenue is based solely on customer fares, switching from a guaranteed monthly revenue stream to ad-hoc daily purchases is a colossally stupid idea.

    The underlying problem here is that transit “critics” like yourself and whatever consultants the transit agencies hire to give them “advice” refuse to acknowledge who their main customer base is, and likely don’t even care to find out. That’s how you get Metrolinx pricing the Pearson Express initially priced at $27.50 and don’t realize how out to lunch that pricing scheme is for people who actually use that route.

    Steve: If you can get off your high horse for a moment, you will see that I am actually trying to support your argument. Of course the budget conscious will only take the minimal number of trips per day, but to assume that this is 2 trips ignores the fact that people have other travel needs that, despite the cost of a TTC fare, would be even more expensive to take by other means. For people in the situation where their monthly rides are greater than 48, they save money with a pass compared to tokens. Both token and pass prices have gone up, and so the economic trade-off for TTC fares stays the same. If the TTC is no longer affordable, that’s a bigger issue than the price of a Metropass.

    You say that 95% of the TTC’s revenue stream is based on customer fares. That is not correct. The actual value fluctuates from year to year between 68 and 72%. This is still high, and puts the TTC in a budget crunch especially when they have projected stronger growth than they actually get, let alone if they start to lose riders.

    As for your comments about transit critics like me, I know perfectly well what the TTC’s customer base is and have worked in the past to reduce the Metropass multiple so that it was more in line with a two-fares per weekday model. As for UPX, I’ve been opposed to their fare model since the line opened. If you want to slag my positions, the least you can do is actually know what you’re talking about.

    There have been cases where I have argued for a modest fare increase on the grounds that if we use every penny of subsidy we can get to freeze fares, the result is that service and maintenance will simply get worse and worse. That’s no benefit to anyone. The real change that is needed is the recognition that transit funding must rise faster than inflation to cover the combined cost of improving service and rebalancing the fare structure. This does not necessarily mean that we freeze fares, but rather that we find a way to direct added subsidy to where it is really needed, not to every rider on the system.

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  8. I am sure this is not a defining explanation for the trend, but I have noticed a recent decline in the quality and cleanliness of vehicles. While we are not back to the dark days of free newspapers scattered everywhere on every vehicle and in every station, but it seems the TTC has once again become generally dirty and unkempt. I get on the 504 every day to find spilled coffee, empty beer cans, and dirty grimy seats. This is not what I remember when they had a direct initiative to cleanup the system several years ago. I dread what it will be like this winter when it’s slush and salt everywhere.

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  9. Steve wrote: Actually a tap on to connecting vehicles is NOT required to obtain the two-hour fare. The original tap shows that you “paid” somewhere at a certain time, and that is all that’s needed.

    Absolutely correct. There are only two different situations where a user needs to tap on non-GO transit operators: the start of a 2-hour period, and to provide validation of fare payment when entering a pay-upon-entry vehicle. Any situation that does not require payment upon entry to a vehicle, such as boarding a vehicle from a fare paid platform or boarding a vehicle where POP rules are in effect, does not require a tap if the card has been tapped within two hours.

    That said, tapping when it is not required has the benefit of being able to check how much time remains on the two hours, with the exception on the TTC where they have decided that doing so would violate your privacy (or so I have been lead to believe – or does the TTC only not display the dollar balance on the vehicle readers?).

    Steve: No, the TTC won’t tell you how much time is left on your fare.

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  10. I disagree with the statement. Subways are more overcrowded than ever.

    The problem is people getting on subways without paying and nobody cares. I see this so often, when waiting for a bus. Different subway stations. Finch and Yonge: people walking from the street straight through the bus platform and to subway anytime of the day without paying a cent. Also Kipling subway and many others.

    Once while waiting for a bus on Kipling subway I saw few people coming from street to subway without paying, I asked the driver standing on the platform “didn’t you see that”. His response was “yes but we cannot do anything about it”. He also said that they spoke with their boss but he replied that “they have reserved fundings for those kind of losses”. I was stunned and said it’s so unfair and that’s why my Metropass is going up. He agreed but the same result. I have to pay higher fare because hundreds of people are getting in without paying anything and not being penalized.

    After so many years of buying Metropass, I’m considering leaving Toronto area where transportation is cheaper and maybe I will be able to afford to rent on my own.

    Steve: If the TTC actually put staff at the common “walk in” points at stations with the authority to ticket everyone they caught, this problem would end. However, the TTC (and their Council colleagues) are all about cutting, not increasing, staff levels. It’s a classic Toronto problem that goes well beyond the TTC: we love to have rules, but we don’t pay anyone to enforce them.

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  11. Presto is the WORST! It allows at 5% of riders to ride for free A DAY! Be it hopping on a streetcar without paying, encountering a broken tap machine, to just walking though a open gate in a subway station. Then there’s excuses from those with Presto cards wanting to be cheap. “I tapped it when I boarded, but maybe I missed it?”, “What do you mean there’s no money on it? I just loaded it this morning I swear!” If you thought good actors came from Toronto before, Presto is about to make a LOT more! And thirdly Fare Inspectors wages and benefits will be twice that of a driver or collector. As there’s no protection for them, and need more equipment and tech to do their jobs. Which I’m sure after 8 months is going to seem like the worst career choice ever. So turnover will be high. Or, they’ll just make it look good and avoid accosting the majority of riders. How anyone can gain credible data from all of that I’m not sure?

    Steve: I assume you meant to say that Presto allows “at least 5%” of riders to ride free.

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  12. Steve: Actually a tap on to connecting vehicles is NOT required to obtain the two-hour fare. The original tap shows that you “paid” somewhere at a certain time, and that is all that’s needed.

    Then why does TTC say you need to tap on every bus, streetcar or subway station? If you get stopped it shows a valid fare but not on that vehicle.

    Steve: Because they want all that juicy travel data knowing every time you board a new vehicle. However, a two hour fare is good anywhere, and not necessarily on a connecting vehicle. That’s the whole idea. If you get stopped, you have a fare that is less than two hours old. End of discussion.

    There is a straightforward analogy here to “old technology”. When you got a transfer, you might use it miles (and a few connections) from the bus where you paid your fare, but the simple check was “is this a logical place to use this transfer within a reasonable time”. Now the question is simply “is it under two hours”.

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  13. I am a long-time MetroPass user and I am resisting switching to Presto for many reasons. I still don’t trust it (to scan correctly, to update at the beginning of each month, not to double-charge me, etc.), and, mainly I don’t like that it is connected to my name and financial information – I do not want to be tracked!

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  14. Garth said: The truth is clear and simple ; ridership has NOT decreased. What has indeed decreased is the amount of ppl paying their fare!! And this because fare payment is not sufficiently enforced. Enough is enough. Let’s face the truth.

    Although this is not likely the sole reason for the decline in ridership numbers, I have to agree that it is a contributing factor. I witness this numerous time a week at automated subway entrances. The old ones were fortresses – no way you could get in without paying. These new plastic fare gates are flimsy and often out-of-order. Not only that, it’s easy to hop over the railing to get in (which I had to do once because the Metropass reader was down). I can’t imagine how many thousands of trips go unpaid every week because of this. And I haven’t even mentioned the Presto readers on streetcars that are often down!

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  15. Toronto has broad acceptance that streetcars can not have turnstiles. Why are these not considered?

    Steve: It’s a question of passenger flow through the car especially with all doors used for loading and unloading. Note that a turnstile cannot “read” a transfer and unless the system converts completely to some form of electronic fare payment, this is not an option.

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  16. I agree with others here than actual ridership (paid or otherwise) has not declined.

    In my experience one’s chance of getting a seat, even off-peak, outside the core is in decline.

    There are more bodies, not fewer.

    Unpaid riders are surely a portion of this (meaning illegal unpaid entry as opposed to children).

    I expect children may be a portion of the issue, as I imagine ridership is up, including stay-at-home parents vs when children were a paid fare. I wonder (do you know Steve?) what their modelling suggested would happen to child ridership w/the elimination of fares?

    Steve: The TTC estimated some growth in ridership due to free children’s rides and this is included in the total count reported. I do not know if there is any strong methodology behind this, although in theory we will have a better idea once children are required to have a Presto card at least to gain access to subway stations.

    Most of all, I suspect the issue of the Metropass presents a huge problem in as much as I don’t think it ever provided an entirely accurate gauge of ridership and the loss of sale being counted as a decline of 74 rides strikes me as very problematic.

    The first fundamental key here is to get an accurate read on actual ridership with means every vehicle in the system should have passenger count technology on it.

    There are so many ways in which to do this, not just traditional step counters, and most are not overly expensive or time-consuming to install.

    I’m very disappointed to at the TTC response to your data request for counters, and I think it demands (of them) a detailed, in writing, explanation as to why that data isn’t available and what they intend to do about it and when.

    ****

    Irrespective of its impact on ridership, the multiple for the Metropass in terms of its price, was always too high, and it borders on absurd in the light of the 2-hour, hop-on, hop-off fare.

    The multiple needs to drop to 40 rides.

    In so doing, the Metropass would cost $120 per month this is close enough to existing low-income pass price of $115.50 that one could argue for eliminating this pass as a discrete item, and likewise you could can the student/senior passes at $116.75 and eliminate some duplication and cost.

    I would anticipate such a move to result in higher uptake and more ridership and as such, as you have noted in many posts there remains a clear need to put new capacity on the roads and rails, in virtually all time periods.

    Proper line management and ATC would both do wonders on the capacity front, but I have difficulty imagining the TTC needing less than 10% more capacity across the board, and that’s without factoring any latent demand whatsoever.

    Some Commissioners and staff are going need more spine in seeking a material funding increase.

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  17. Why does the TTC seem so surprised? With Presto and the 2 hour transfer the demand for a full Metropass will be less. One benefit of the Presto card with the monthly pass cap, is the TTC will see how close to max usage riders get. With the website feedback to each rider, users are more aware than ever of their use and will tailor their riding accordingly.

    This tracking feature is also why Presto cards for the under 14 crowd should be required. TTC can track the unpaid ridership, mom and dad can do the helicopter parent bit, TTC could work with the school boards to replace “yellow” buses – more cash for the TTC, less congestion on the roads.

    Fare evasion exists – to what extent no one really knows – rode Spadina streetcar, I was the only one to tap at my door, rode to Spadina station and the flood of people pushed past the fare inspectors (just 2 guys) ignoring calls for proof of payment – I guess they do stop some but I think the % is low.

    Steve: FWIW if you ride bus routes downtown which still require you to show or tap on entry, you will notice that the lion’s share of riders still have Metropasses, although the number of Presto cards is slowly going up. Try ou Bay or Wellesley as good examples. On the basis of what I see on bus routes, I have no trouble believing that many who simply board streetcars without showing anything have passes. I am one of them.

    Once the collector booths are closed, will all that staff turn to fare inspection, or is management looking to save some salaries?

    Steve: The collectors are supposed to become roving station agents. Good luck with that when the weather makes the station outside of the booth intolerable due either to cold or heat. This is one of Andy Byford’s bone headed ideas, and it’s based on the model he learned in London UK where the climate is relatively benign.

    So having said all that, the TTC needs to get its act together – forget fare sales, the 2 hour transfer alone will skew ridership by fare numbers – just count the butts in the seats, or just standing there! Get the APC’s working! True ridership numbers, not fares sold, are critical to show various levels of government the true value/demand for Transit.

    Different note Steve, on private ROW for streetcars (Spadina, St. Clair etc.) could the imposition of a signal (stand/Go) system be used to help space cars and promote consistency in service spacing? Having streetcars stopped on ROW would not alter traffic flow. If this worked, could “pockets” for spacing bunched Streetcars and/or buses be retrofitted to routes? A bus could sit in a bus bay at an intersection to allow a gap to build. With GPS via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth tech can TTC control not see when bunching of vehicles occurs? Can’t an automated signal tell the driver to speed up a little bit or slow down/wait if needed? Could part of a drivers compensation (collective bargaining nightmare) be tied to being “on time, but spaced out” as per the system? This theoretically would smooth out service, by providing more standard “gapping” intervals.

    Steve: Creating street space for transit vehicles to wait for their time would be very difficult in many places that do not already have bus bays. As for telling ops to better space service, this should have been part of the TTC’s new “Vision” system, but they are so focused on “on time performance” that they probably didn’t even make provision for this sort of thing.

    Will they buy the additional streetcars needed to “up” the service levels as you showed in your earlier article? Most of the political push is for Smart Track (JT tries to stay the course) or DRL+ (JK will build it faster) not for smaller grains of buses and streetcars.

    Steve: The question of more new cars depends on (a) what sort of proposals come in from potential vendors (the RFI is already in progress), (b) the makeup of our new Council, (c) whether DoFo will regard this as a local project that will get no provincial funding, and (d) whether the Feds will kick in part of the cost through PTIF Phase 2 (assuming Toronto asks for it).

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  18. I thought I would offer a separate comment on line management.

    As you (Steve) and I have discussed in other fora, its absence has become painfully obvious and obviously painful on many routes.

    There is a desperate need for accountability to manage service

    To set some sort of level of variation from headway (or schedule on less frequent services) where intervention takes place from Transit Control in order to even things out and use capacity more wisely.

    You and I discussed Victoria Park at some length not so long ago.

    Subsequently, I was on the bustituted Bathurst service found it running in pairs, but not in a way that worked.

    The first bus was completely overloaded and delayed, while the second was 1/2 empty. The second bus would not and did not overtake, leaving riders and the operator of the lead bus more than a tad grumpy.

    This sort of nonsense just has to stop. Its not only a bad rider experience its a waste of money. Overall capacity on paper for the route was probably adequate, but the way in which it was run made it feel as though it were not.

    ***

    Beyond that, as you have noted before, the +1, -5 at the terminals is absurd, as a basis for on-time performance, even if you retain schedule as opposed to headway.

    A tighter time frame, +1,-3, measured every 2km on route would be a much clearer way of seeing problems as experienced by riders, and would, in theory, better alert transit control to the need for intervention in real-time; and service planning to address issues where problems show up consistently on a particular route, during a particular period.

    Though we could agree on all frequent services, measuring headway would be more effective still.

    Steve: It is common to see the 505 Dundas buses running in threes, never mind pairs.

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  19. PBNo said: Mainly I don’t like that it is connected to my name and financial information – I do not want to be tracked!

    You can avoid having “you” and your PRESTO card linked in any way by only loading it with cash.

    Steve: That is not possible for the annual Presto card which is an autoload that makes a bank/credit card withdrawal.

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  20. Steve, the main problem with many of the Express routes is that they operate over a portion of a route (or the entire route.) For example, the 188 Kipling South Rocket (soon to be 944) runs over the exact same route of as 44 Kipling South – when it was started many people taking the 44 simply started taking the 188 instead. So a ‘new’ route – but not much new ridership. That does not always help the situation when new routes simply take passengers from other routes.

    Steve: The point of a service like the 188/944 was to provide a point-to-point service for those travelling between Kipling Station and Lake Shore Campus. Of course, depending on the timing and frequency of the express buses, someone who has just missed one can probably take the next local with no penalty, plus the assurance that they’re “on the way” rather than waiting for the next express to show up.

    I have no problem with this sort of service design. What bugs me is to have the TTC and the Mayor trumpeting the “new” express services when most of them are not new at all. A Ridership Growth Strategy that amounts to repainting buses is no “strategy” at all. But, hey, it’s the best transit system in NA, or at least was last year.

    Like

  21. When Steve said: Actually a tap on to connecting vehicles is NOT required to obtain the two-hour fare. The original tap shows that you “paid” somewhere at a certain time, and that is all that’s needed.

    Tom asked: Then why does TTC say you need to tap on every bus, streetcar or subway station? If you get stopped it shows a valid fare but not on that vehicle.

    Tom is mixing up two things.

    Only the original tap is needed to get the two hours. When boarding a pay-as-you-enter vehicle, a tap is needed for the same reason that showing a transfer or putting a fare in the farebox is needed: to authenticate that one has paid a fare. Unlike showing a transfer, if the 2-hours is up, then the Presto system will automatically deduct a new fare, so everyone waiting to load behind the person who has an “expired transfer” does not have to wait for them to get out a new fare or argue with the driver.

    PBnoJ wrote: I am a long-time MetroPass user and I am resisting switching to Presto for many reasons. I still don’t trust it (to scan correctly, to update at the beginning of each month, not to double-charge me, etc.), and, mainly I don’t like that it is connected to my name and financial information – I do not want to be tracked!

    So let me get this straight, in one sentence this person does not believe that Presto is able to do its job of tracking things, and in the next sentence does not want to use Presto because it can track them.

    I have news for people: Presto and the transit operators using it are too busy to track YOU, and you are NOT that important, even if you believe you are.

    Could tracking information be used in a police investigation? Sure, with the proper warrant, but the information it provides is equally as good in investigating a person as it is in exonerating them. In the earlier days of Presto on YRT, my card’s history would show that I tapped on a bus at a stop that was miles past where I got off the bus. The uselessness of this detail was so bad that they now only store what zone the tap occurred in (and now they only have one zone).

    An acquaintance of mine in another city refuses to use their card because of tracking, citing that if a crime were to occur at a station and at a time when he was near there, he did not want police banging on his door at 4 am to question him about anything he may have seen. ‘Nuff said.

    Like

  22. Thank you for the article Steve as it mirrors my experience of being a Metropass user purely for convenience. I was an early adopter of the PRESTO card and immediately saved $30 per month when I converted (early on a bit more as the fare readers were less stable). I really like how Hamilton stops charging a fare after riding 11 times per week. That seems like a great way to get the benefits of a pass without having to buy one.

    Is it just me, or does the idea that Metropass users ride 74 rides on average seem a bit absurd? There’s suggests a vast number of people riding 100+ times of week to make up for the bulk of us riding to work and back.

    It’s unfortunate that “Rides” seems to be the dominant metric. It’s seems inferior to counting “Boardings” which seems a better method to reflect system utilization. I suspect the story really should be “TTC experiencing more boardings as a result of 2 hour Transfer” instead of “Fewer Rides”.

    Steve: The 74 number is per month, not per week. The riding surveys are collected on a weekly basis and pro-rated to a moving average to get the monthly numbers.

    People who use transit every day, not just for work, would only have to take 2.5 rides per day to get to the average level (30 days times 2.5 = 75). An average of 74 is quite reasonable when you consider that there is more Metropass use on frequent routes downtown (this is from personal observation over the years) where hop off, hop on, travel would be common. It is unusual for me to have a zero-trip day, and I only need a few busy “transit days” with multiple outings each week to drive my monthly usage well over 74.

    Your point about the weekly cap is important: the capability to implement the equivalent of daily, weekly and monthly capping already exists in Presto. It is simply a case of the TTC asking for it to be turned on. They have resisted this because of the potential revenue loss to riders who would get equivalent-to-pass pricing without the need to actually buy a pass in advance.

    Like

  23. I think the boneheads in charge of the TTC really need their heads banging together and the council also. They really have to think what function the TTC does for the city, is it some sort of welfare for the poor as many right leaning politicians still think, or is it a system that enhances life in the city and help to move people more efficiently, well that if its run properly. At the end of the day it all comes down to money and how much people are willing to pay not only in fares but in their property taxes to fund the system. All too often things are looked in silos, never look at the impact one thing has on the other, that how transit has been looked at for decades, let’s see how much we can save and cut, without looking at the impact elsewhere, the Don Valley Car Park and the Gardiner “anything but an” Expressway, 60+ minutes to get from the 410 to the 404 is where it got you, just look at the lead story in today’s Toronto star.

    I don’t think it is rocket science that with the introduction of Presto and the two hour transfer and daily weekly capping would lead to the loss of Metropass sales. Rather than daily capping, why don’t they introduce a sliding scale of fares like GO does, you have so many trips per month at $3, then the next few trips at say at $2 and then after that all trips cost $1. Pitch it in such a way that it will be still cheaper to buy a the respective day/weekly and monthly pass if they continue to refuse to turn the monthly cap. As for the loss of riders I’m not so sure, since Pioneer Village station opened I feel the numbers travelling in the 60 west of there has increased, I always have to stand when i get on the bus at Signet Drive and the 84 at Sheppard West Station to Yonge (as a side issue I would be a beneficiary of an extension of Line 4 westwards!!!). I assume they have to provide service based on the number of boardings rather than the number of trips, again difficult to count, with the switch to Presto it will be easier to do but again only on trips to the subway. I guess with some bean counter somewhere they could track where the card starts its return journey (oops privacy issues!!!).

    AS I said at the beginning it’s basically what I’m saying the politicians have to sit a really think about what role transit has, as the Star claims it costs the GTA $6bn annually in lost productivity, if two of that billions is spent on providing better transit/traffic management then traffic congestion may only cost the city $3bn traffic, a billion back in the hands to the people (yes I’m plucking numbers out the air, but just to emphasize that for every penny saved on providing transit the cost in productivity will be more than the penny saved). Time to take transit planning out of the hand of the politicians.

    Steve: There has already been work done on trip modelling using partial tap data in other cities. Problem arise because of missing middle segments that might distinguish the path taken through the network when more than one is available, and the lack of tap-ons at fare paid areas removes information that could resolve this. That’s why the TTC is telling people to tap on everywhere even though for fare collection purposes it is not strictly necessary for trips within the two hour window (assuming that’s your fare mode). For “pass” users, the only purpose of tapping on is to signal that you have a valid card, the equivalent of waving your transfer or Metropass at the operator.

    Also, of course, it is relatively easy to detect regular trips for a pass even if some data points are missing because there will be enough info (the initial boardings at a minimum) to identify regular end-points which can reasonably be assumed to be a common O-D pair. “Wandering” trips that are taken ad hoc for occasional travel can be trickier, but they will have more “origins” and provide more data points. The question then becomes how much computing effort one wants to expend. It’s also worth mentioning that vehicle crowding data could, in theory, be available from automatic passenger counters provided that (a) they were installed, (b) turned on and (c) working reliably. That last point can be challenging when vehicles are very crowded and people are jammed into space close to the doors.

    It is frustrating to see the most basic questions not answered: Are the buses full? Are they leaving people at stops? Do they come in bunches with some buses jammed full and others running half-empty? We can screw around with fare collection data all we like, but there are basics of transit planning that require actually looking at routes and understanding how they behave. The data can help, but it’s not a panacea.

    Like

  24. Something that hasn’t actually been made clear to me – I am also a longtime MetroPass user putting off the Presto switch as long as I can – is this …. if I am using the equivalent of a MetroPass on Presto then do I need to tap on and off if I’m not passing through a gate? At stations, yes, I will tap in the same way that I swipe my MetroPass now, but if I’m getting on a streetcar or bus, do I tap?

    Steve: Strictly speaking, a tap when transferring is not required if nobody’s watching, but it will be a lot easier for fare inspectors to pick out possible cheaters by looking for people who don’t tap. Mind you, they could still be paying with some other medium at least until late in 2019 and simply have a transfer in their pocket. On a bus, everyone shows their fare when boarding, and so you would still have to tap, the equivalent of flashing your pass. It’s a bit more complicated for Presto users who don’t have a pass loaded onto their card because they are riding on what is, in effect, a two hour pass, and it gets validated every time they tap. If they’ve gone past two hours, Presto will take another fare and restart the clock.

    The heart of the matter is “proof of payment”. Bylaw No. 1 says:

    2.6 When requested to do so by a proper authority, a person travelling on the transit system shall immediately surrender for inspection the fare media, an identification card or photo identification card under which the person is travelling.

    In other words, if someone wants to see that I have paid, I have to be able to prove this. That is not the same as tapping on to every vehicle.

    As for tapping off, that is only required on GO Transit (unless you have pre-registered a “standard” commuting trip).

    I, like the commenter above, and also VERY concerned about linking my Presto to my financial information – not because I worry so much about being tracked (though now I am thinking about it and I don’t like it) but that I DON’T TRUST METROLINX TO KEEP MY FINANCIAL DATA SAFE. If there is a breach then it’s my bank account or credit card that’s affected – that is terrifying.

    Steve: Presto has been holding banking information for ages for people whose passes auto-load either to top up the “cash” balance or to purchase monthly passes. The TTC has been doing the same thing with the Metropass Discount Program for years. It’s a choice you have to make.

    Thanks to Steve for being such a readable voice of reason in all of this.

    Steve: You’re welcome!

    Like

  25. I am still not convinced there is any loss of ridership. I use the TTC DAILY (outside rush hours 99%.) I still see too much fare evasion and NO enforcement officers. This (Saturday) afternoon I walked into Jane Station to get a 935 Jane Express. Info board said two were due in 12 minutes. I was the second person waiting. By the time the first bus arrived there were about 3 dozen people waiting. Passengers got off and so did the Operator. People got on both doors (rear left open) and only ONE other person besides myself tapped on. No one put cash/token in the fare box. NO ONE had a transfer in their hand (that I could see) and few if any had a Metropass. Operator came back and we left SRO and two (plus?) paying riders.

    Perhaps at certain stations a fare inspector could be on hand to check riders getting on to ensure they are paying. The old way of closing the doors while the Operator goes to the toilet is NOT rider friendly especially outdoors in bad weather and delays departure. This Fare Inspector could assist ALL buses by loading rear doors when Operator stays at his seat.

    Steve: Through one of those bizarre practices of the TTC, I don’t think fare inspectors are actually intended/allowed to act as “loaders”. That’s an ATU 113 job, and the fare inspectors are non-union. Moreover, they’re paid a lot more. The TTC really needs to review its whole practice of fare collection and enforcement to deal with situations like this. Having said that, I’m not sure I would want to spend an 8 hour shift in February checking fares or loading at Jane Station.

    Like

  26. Now from what I see, all buses and streetcars now have numerous cameras installed, would it be too simple of me to think that loadings can actually be reviewed using the footage, just thinking!!!!

    Steve: But you would have to count them manually. Tedious.

    As for Jane station, I would think fare evasion would be minimal from there I would assume nearly all passengers will have transferred from the subway and already paid, whether they have picked up a POP is another matter

    Like

  27. Paul Sherwood said:

    “I think the boneheads in charge of the TTC really need their heads banging together and the council also. They really have to think what function the TTC does for the city, is it some sort of welfare for the poor as many right leaning politicians still think, or is it a system that enhances life in the city and help to move people more efficiently, well that if its run properly. […] AS I said at the beginning it’s basically what I’m saying the politicians have to sit a really think about what role transit has, as the Star claims it costs the GTA $6bn annually in lost productivity, if two of that billions is spent on providing better transit/traffic management then traffic congestion may only cost the city $3bn traffic, a billion back in the hands to the people (yes I’m plucking numbers out the air, but just to emphasize that for every penny saved on providing transit the cost in productivity will be more than the penny saved). “

    Well said. I am also frustrated that in the general public discourse, no one mentions street and road maintenance when discussing transit…as if these are not connected, and as if there is not a certain tradeoff between the two. No one talks about the fact that Toronto spends lots of money to maintain vast surfaces of concrete in a climate in which said concrete experiences huge thermal deltas during the year and invariably suffers…and that transit allows for a more efficient use of that concrete (or, in the case of rail, allows it to be omitted altogether), requiring less of it. Nobody complains of the money spent on road maintenance or the “subsidy” so given to drivers…that’s just taken for granted…and that’s just one aspect of the whole transit debate.

    I’m not advocating “free” transit (as in no fare collection, fully tax-funded), but if City Hall were to suggest it, there’d be an uproar. An equal one if you were to suggest that every driver pay a dollar every time they pull out of their driveway (I mean, we can gauge that from the response to the Gardiner tolls idea). I mean the City’s $60 vehicle registration tax was a major source of discontent (and Council, despite Tory’s urgings at some point, never brought it back since Ford killed it), yet everybody still expects the City to fix the streets. On the other hand the TTC must always find “efficiencies”. It makes no sense.

    Like

  28. Sorry Steve, I wasn’t clear, it would be tedious after I posted I realized what I meant to say was that they could be used to show evidence of the overcrowding not to actually count bums on seats. Correct me if I’m wrong, don’t the drivers actually have a way to alert control their buses are overfull.

    Steve: Yes, there is a way for a driver to signal that they’re “overtaxed”, but I doubt it’s well used as there is nothing Transit Control could do about it.

    Like

  29. One could always share their Metropass with family and friends if they didn’t need to use it at that time (i.e. you go to work, colleague needs to take subway for 2 stops at lunch so you give it to them, and then they come back and give it to you so you can go home).

    That pass is not registered to a name so it didn’t matter who was in “possession” of it at that point in time.

    If a fare inspector asks to scan your Presto card (with Metropass option) to see if a) card is valid, b) fare is paid; will it matter who’s name the card is under as long as the fare has been paid? Or will questions start being asked “who’s pass is this? why do you have it?” etc.

    Steve: Presto cards are fully transferrable.

    Like

  30. Sherilyn wrote: I, like the commenter above, and also VERY concerned about linking my Presto to my financial information – not because I worry so much about being tracked (though now I am thinking about it and I don’t like it) but that I DON’T TRUST METROLINX TO KEEP MY FINANCIAL DATA SAFE. If there is a breach then it’s my bank account or credit card that’s affected – that is terrifying.

    Presto only keeps your financial information (credit or debit card number) when you sign up for auto-load. If you want to reload online, your credit card number is entered only for the purpose of that transaction only and not stored by Presto. The downside to that is that one must enter it each and every time they do a load, but if one were using their own device or computer, one can have their Google account fill in the fields for them automatically, assuming you trust Google to manage that information for you.

    As for topping up by debit, the card number is not used at all. Presto transfers one to a page to select the bank and then it goes to a login for the bank’s online interface to do an eTransfer.

    Like

  31. When Sjors asked: If a fare inspector asks to scan your Presto card (with Metropass option) to see if a) card is valid, b) fare is paid; will it matter who’s name the card is under as long as the fare has been paid? Or will questions start being asked “who’s pass is this? why do you have it?” etc.

    Steve responded: Presto cards are fully transferrable.

    With one caveat: a Presto card registered for a concession fare (child, student, senior), then it should only be used by someone else who is entitled to that fare. I’m not familiar with the readers on TTC buses, but on YRT the readers have a significantly different sounding beep when a concession fare enabled card is validated.

    Note, if one registers a Presto card for a concession fare with one transit operator, that card will receive the comparable concession fare on all others, if it is offered by them.

    Steve: The same rules apply to a Metropass. A senior’s pass cannot be used by someone who isn’t entitled to that fare. And, yes, the TTC Presto readers have a different tone and coloured light when used by a card with a concession fare on it.

    For the fast processing needed when boarding a vehicle, Presto cards only carry their unique number and the ePurse balance, and a limited queue of recent activity. Fare inspectors have readers that can only read what is found on the card, and this does not include the name of the registered owner. That recent activity is beneficial should your 2-hour fare run out mid trip on a POP vehicle. One’s fare only needs to be valid when boarding a pay-upon-entry vehicle, but is supposed to be valid for the entire journey when on a POP vehicle. That said, if one does not act like an a-hole to a fare inspector, if the initial tap on their reader shows you do not have a valid fare in effect, they can re-read it for recent history to see if you very recently ran out. Generally, they are looking for those who didn’t tap in the first place, intending to ride for free.

    Like

  32. To have the 12-month pass:

    One-time set-up of your card up at the start of the 12 month agreement and your 12 Month Pass is available on your PRESTO card for the full year (payments are automatically processed each month).

    So, they have my financial info.

    Steve: Yes, any form of automatic pre-ordered fares will involve giving up your banking info. Metropass MDP users have done that already.

    Like

  33. Steve: Where Have All The Riders Gone?

    The riders are taking alternative means of travel while Toronto drags it’s feet when it comes to the subway expansion. Hopefully, with a more Scarborough subway friendly council just elected, we will get the Scarborough subway constructed soon which will bring back the riders. It is time to also extend the Yonge subway to Richmond Hill. And with Brad Bradford (Mayor John Tory’s Downtown Relief Line champion) newly in office, the Downtown Relief Line has gotten a big boost as well. And I am also hoping (though my fingers are crossed) that Doug Ford will bury the entire Eglinton Crosstown line. Rapid transit is what will bring back riders and trains running in the middle of the road is simply not rapid transit and does not attract riders especially in the suburbs where travel distances are much larger as everything is farther. And I am hoping that Mayor Patrick Brown will help push for the subway extension to Peel Region (Mississauga and Brampton).

    Let us extend the Sheppard subway as well (both directions). Congratulations to all those who were elected last night (Mayor John Tory, Mayor Patrick Brown, Councillor Mike Ford, DRL champion Brad Bradford, and others). And to those who have fallen (ex-councillor Giorgio Mammoliti and others), my sincere condolences but there is a federal election coming up and you are welcome to run in it.

    Steve: None of the proposed new lines will be open within the next two terms of Council or Queen’s Park, and so their potential contribution to ridership is off in the future. As for a subway to Peel, the more important changes for that region will be improvement of GO service.

    The big problem is that we cannot build subways everywhere, and there is a lot of travel that does not lie along any of the proposed subway corridors.

    Like

  34. If they are currently underestimating the pass ridership (having not adjusted it), then we’d see this in the monthly financials. Which are conspicuously absent from recent monthly reports.

    But the last ones I remember seeing, showed the drop in revenue below budget was less than the drop in ridership below budget. Which does indeed suggest that the ridership drop is over-estimated

    Simone writes “To presume that people were buying passes mainly because of the tax credit is insane.”

    Not sure what’s insane. The number of trips required to make a pass pay for itself, increased from 41.4 to 48.8 a month (or from 38.0 to 44.7 for those using the 12-month or MDP pass).

    When I’ve counted my trips, I tend to average about 60, so it wouldn’t change my decision.

    But I know many people who average closer to 40-45 trips a month. With the added convenience of Presto, there’s surely a shift away from passes, to single fares. The same way we saw a shift towards passes when the tax credit came in.

    This isn’t insanity. It’s exactly what you’d expect from economic principals. Along with a bit of modal shift away from transit.

    Steve: There is no longer a federal tax credit for transit passes. It was eliminated in mid-2017. The provincial credit is only available to seniors. This really is not part of the decision process most riders will go through.

    What might well change things though, is that with the 2-hour transfer, my average of 60 rides a month will drop significantly. Ironically, this might drive me away from a pass, towards pay-as-you-go … especially when they implement daily fare capping for the unexpected days when you ride a lot.

    And then, with no pass, my ridership drops – as (for example) I’m less likely to take transit 4 stops to take the kids to school if I actually have to pay real $.

    If Toronto really wants ridership growth, they need to reduce the multiplier below 49 (compared to tokens/Presto). Montreal is currently only 30 (compared to 10-rides). Vancouver (Zone 1) is 37 (compared to Compass stored value).

    Sure, but Ontario is different. Actually it’s not. Ottawa is 34 (compared to Presto single rides). Kitchener/Waterloo is 31! Even York Region is only 40.

    Steve: The basic problem is that both Council and TTC management cannot get their heads around the idea that the majority of riders should pay for transit in bulk. Too many regard the delta from single fares to any form of discount as a loss, revenue that the TTC could otherwise have and subsidy that could be avoided. Until that attitude changes, you’re not going to see a lower multiple for pass or capped fare products.

    Like

  35. My takeaway is that the TTC has no idea what the actual ridership is, so they should stop publishing ridership numbers.

    The people who want more enforcement officers on the TTC will be sadly disappointed. I was on a streetcar that was subject to a fare check once. Three white people made some “excuses” and were able to pay after the fact. Two black people had their addresses recorded, but I think they were also not fined. I was a little unhappy with how race played a factor in the enforcement process.

    Honestly, this being Canada, I think we could probably get away with no fare checks, and just have everyone go on the honour system with the assumption that those people who aren’t paying have a good reason not to pay.

    Like

  36. Andy said: “And I am also hoping (though my fingers are crossed) that Doug Ford will bury the entire Eglinton Crosstown line.”

    It’s more likely that the SSE project will be cancelled rather than the entire Crosstown being buried.

    Like

  37. Nick L: SSE project will be cancelled.

    I don’t think so but I like how you keep hanging on to the last bit of false hope. The provincial government and the new council are more pro-SSE than ever. Both the mayor and the premier are fully committed to the SSE. The SSE report that was being withheld for the new council, bring it on as the new council is highly in favour of the SSE.

    Steve: When Ford and Tory get finished for paying for the expanded SSE, there will be no money left for anything else. That has always been the SSE’s big challenge. Just how far will governments go to support its ever-increasing cost.

    Like

  38. I quickly ran through my September/October Presto data exported from the Presto website.

    In both months (October to date), I’d have about 60 trips using the old transfer rules, and 48 trips using a 2-hour transfer (I’ve got an MDP pass now). It’s a coincidence that both are 48 and 60. But if that ratio holds for others – that’s going to push more people from passes to pay-as-you-go.

    I’ve averaged about 60, maybe 65 when I’ve looked at historic usage. At that point the pass was a no-brainer. If the average for me is now about 48 … then it isn’t and the whole thing is a bit of a wash. There’s always one month sometime in the year, when the usage drops because I’m out of town too much.

    Like

  39. James said: “I don’t think so but I like how you keep hanging on to the last bit of false hope.”

    It has nothing to do with hope. With the province adopting a “We’re broke!” mantra, expecting them to spend hundreds of millions more to bury the rest of the Crosstown is foolish. Add to that the recent news of the cancellation of the satellite university campuses, it becomes a simple case of stating the obvious that it would be more likely that the province would cancel the SSE project than to bury the rest of the Crosstown.

    Like

  40. nfitz said: There’s always one month sometime in the year, when the usage drops because I’m out of town too much.

    I came to a similar conclusion. My trips under the old transfer rules hovered anywhere from the low to high 40s, but when I took into account the new 2-hour transfer rules, plus the four or five weeks of the year when I am away or off work, it longer made sense financially to continue with the MDP. So I’m switching to pay-as-you-go on Presto starting next month. I suspect many others will do the same.

    Like

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