The TTC Board will consider its Operating and Capital Budgets at its meeting of December 20, 2021. This piece deals with the Operating Budget, and I will turn to the Capital Budget in a second article.
The Operating Budget is rather straightforward and the major points are summarized here:
- No fare increase for 2022.
- There is no discussion of change in the “Fare Pass” pricing or eligibility because that decision is made by Toronto Council as part of its budget process, not by the TTC who only implement whatever the City mandates.
- Some of the service cuts of November 2021 will be restored in 1Q 2022, but full restoration to “normal” levels will come by 2Q 2022. The word “by” is important as it implies something that will happen at the outset of the quarter rather than on June 30.
- There is almost no discussion of service quality as opposed to quantity measured in crew hours.
- Ridership is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until late 2024.
- A substantial shortfall remains between the standard level of subsidy available from the City of Toronto (i.e. the pre-pandemic subsidy level) and the total budget, although the gap is smaller than in 2021. Filling that gap depends on the generosity of the provincial and federal governments.
- There is no discussion of a “Plan B” should this not materialize or what the effects on service might be
- Some costs, such as the operation of Line 5 Crosstown, are net new and are unavoidable. Line 5 is described as opening in “Late 2022”.
- Costs for the handful of service initiatives will be covered from internal “efficiencies”, reallocations and “second sourcing” of some functions.
- The budget does not contain any provision for wage increases because the old contract expired in early 2021 and the new contract is in negotiation/arbitration. This is standard practice for all City budgets and adjustments are made after the fact to deal with costs from any labour settlements.
Note: All illustrations and tables in this article are taken from the TTC 2022 Operating Budget Report.Continue reading