Kurtis Chen


Poor and broken—a case for the TTC

The TTC is the least subsidized transit systems in North America — the government only contributes $0.78 to each ride we take. Riders have to pay more at the fare box, and the commission is forced to recover enormous portions of their revenue from tickets. Still, John Tory thinks that they should find a way to cut $231M from their budget.

Transit System Subsidies in North America

From Global News.

People hate the TTC. Just the other day, while waiting over 15 minutes for a 506 replacement bus at Yonge, I heard fellow commuters moan about how incompetent the drivers are at keeping schedule. During a weekend closure of Line 1, I heard another commuter loath about the TTC being too cheap to do track work during the work week (... I'm not sure I follow the logic either). And I've heard plenty of complaints about the broken A/Cs on Line 2.

As a general pessimist  (a.k.a. realist) I often find myself whining about a lot of things. But here, I vehemently defend the TTC — as hard as it can be when I'm stuck in a 30 minute queue for shuttle buses. The fact is, they have no money to do shit all.

The TTC desperately needs funds. Amidst a rapidly growing and densifying urban core, sprawl, previous years of austerity, and a handful of bad luck, things are more difficult than ever for the aging commission.

Issues the TTC is dealing with

  • Bombardier's massive delay in delivering new streetcars means the TTC has to spend an additional $34.1M on maintaining the aging, 40 year old fleet

  • Replacing all of the 60 year old signals on Line 1 (there since the day the subway system was opened), which are required to prevent trains from colliding

  • Replacing aging, deteriorating subway tracks (there's a huge backlog of overdue work)

  • Increasing service for growing populations

  • Building a stupid 1-stop Scarborough subway extension at $3.2B

All of this stuff costs money to fix. Yet somehow, John Tory thinks the TTC can cut 2.6% of their annual operating budget by finding "inefficiencies".

After approving a $3,200,000,000 single-stop subway extension that won't serve enough people to even justify light rail, Tory is hunting for overspending in... the most cash strapped transit system in North America?

Earlier this year, Tory also went ahead and pushed for free transit for children 12 and under, which literally costs the TTC millions in lost fares.

As much as I want to believe in the contrary, it seems we have another mayor bumbling blindly around the city for a non-existant gravy train. Next time you're stuck in a hot subway car, or waiting 20 minutes for a streetcar because a museum piece broke down on the tracks, remember how screwed the TTC's cash flow is, and how our mayor only wants to make things worse.