This article is a continuation from:
I posed a series of questions to TTC media relations to clarify some of the presentation and discussion at the December 20 Board meeting. Here are their answers.
When Does Better Service Resume?
This question was asked before the recent Covid surge and associated rise in absences from work.
Q: There is some confusion in the language used in the Opex report and by various speakers about the point at which 100% of pre-pandemic service would be restored. Variously this has included:
“by Q2” implying a target date at or near the beginning of the quarter
“in Q2” implying a targer anywhere up to June 30
“given the capability based on demand” for Q2 implementation
In your press release, Chair Robinson is quoted:
“The 2022 budget approved today gives us the flexibility to increase service up to pre-pandemic levels, in response to demand, while funding key sustainability and service improvement initiatives – all without raising fares for our riders,” said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson.
This does not even mention a return to full service in Q2.
Which version is correct? Have you budgeted for 100% in Q2, but may not actually operate it depending on demand levels?
As a related note, when the Nov 21 cuts were announced, there was an intention to begin reversing these in January. No service memo for the January Board has been issued yet. Will it be coming out soon and will some of the cuts start to be reversed?
A: We predicted a return to pre-pan levels would begin IN Q2 as demand increases…if it increases by then based on current realities. So the budget allows for that in Q2, not by Q2.
All service planning is being done based on demand AND workforce availability. So we are planning for scenarios. With ridership now back down to 40-ish per cent and Step 2 in effect, we don’t expect an increase in demand.Email from Stuart Green, Senior Communications Specialist, Media Relations and Issues Management, Corporate Communications, January 6, 2022
Although the point is now rather moot, the original intent was to ramp up through Q2, not by Q2. Much now depends on how quickly the current wave recedes and ridership recovery returns to its former path.
It is now a matter of record that there were no service restorations in January 2022. The mid-February changes have not yet been announced.
Line 5 Crosstown Operating Costs
Q: The full year cost of running Line 5 as cited as $63 million based on deltas in 2022 (startup costs plus initial operation) and then in 2023 (to full year operation).
The statement was made that the TTC will “operate and maintain” the line, but my understanding is that significant chunks of the project will be handled by Crosslinx notably vehicle maintenance, tunnels and station infrastructure.
Could you clarify which aspects of Line 5 Opex are actually included in that $63 million?
The TTC replied:
A: The City, in an Agreement in Principle dated 2016, agreed to receiving 100% Fare & Non-Fare box revenue and in return the City would pay all Operating & Maintenance costs for Line 5. Maintenance costs have already been pre-determined and identified for the next 30 years in the Project Agreement between Metrolinx and CTS. The TTC budget process is identifying the combined operations and maintenance costs for Line 5.
So yes, Crosslinx is doing the work, but the agreement the City signed sees the TTC pay them for it.Stuart Green, op. cit.
This means that the costs payable to Metrolinx for Line 5 should now be known for the next 30 years, but it is not clear if the TTC actually has these figures. Some enterprising Councillor (or even TTC Board member) might usefully ask for this information so we can see what future cost increases, if any, are baked into the Line 5 agreement.
The Status of Run-As-Directed Buses
Q: Rick Leary cited RAD operations as being 140 buses.
First, based on schedule info, there were 140 crews, not 140 buses, and the maximum RADs in service at any time was maybe 60, not 140.
Second, these buses were also used as subway shuttles and other fill ins for emergencies and were not always available as unscheduled extras on busy routes.
Third, my understanding was that the RAD crews were stripped from the schedules on Nov 21 as a workforce reduction measure.
Are these statements correct, and if not, what is the actual situation?
The TTC replied:
A: Still clarifying with Service planning.Stuart Green, op. cit.
Answers to questions about the Capital Budget will appear in my pending follow-up on that item from the Board meeting.