The TTC Board meets on February 25 to discuss several reports and proposals. Among items on the agenda are:
- The monthly CEO’s Report
- Green Bus Program Update
- A Notice of Motion regarding the Five Year Service Plan and new vehicles
- A Notice of Motion regarding consolidated reporting of fare evasion enforcement and staff oversight
I will add to this article following the Board meeting with additional information from the discussions.
Notable by its absence from the CEO’s Report is any information on route crowding or improved metrics for service quality.
Trials of electric buses are in early days, and Toronto is a long way from seeing an entirely zero-emission fleet. My column this week in NOW Toronto present some of the history of evolving bus technology.
Commissioner Brad Bradford has a Notice of Motion which seeks to link spending on improved transit service to potential funding for new vehicles. While the recently improved City Building Fund provides more money for transit vehicles, this covers only one third of their cost and none of any future increase in operations. Bradford’s motion requests:
The TTC Board request that the TTC Chief Executive Officer, when engaging in negotiations with the provincial and federal governments for funding for the TTC’s vehicle procurement priorities, tie funding requests to the implementation of the TTC’s 5-Year Service Plan and service levels as prescribed by the strategy.
There are two problems with this stance.
First, if the TTC and Council choose not to actually fund the added service, this would imply that the capital funding should not come from other governments. I doubt that is Bradford’s intent, but the real issue is that there is no Council commitment to fund better TTC service. Other factors such as the jump in operating budgets to fund new lines such as Eglinton Crosstown and increased fare subsidies could crowd out spending on service.
Second, the scale of service increases proposed in the Service Plan is quite modest, and it really should be revisited. Sadly, the TTC chose not to include more aggressive options for expansion in the Plan even if only on an aspirational basis. Back in 2003, the strength of David Miller’s Ridership Growth Strategy was that it addressed what Toronto could do for modest increases in spending, but this approach has never been repeated.
Bradford also has a Notice of Motion that seeks to consolidate updates on two reports so that both sides of the revenue protection and enforcement issue can be seen by the Board together.
- Auditor General’s Report – Review of Toronto Transit Commission’s Revenue Operations
- Ombudsman Toronto Enquiry Report Review of the TTC’s Investigation of a February 18, 2018 Incident Involving Transit Fare Inspectors
Further discussion of fare issues and Presto are likely at the meeting.