TTC Board unanimously approves 2015 TTC Budgets

The Board unanimously approved the TTC’s 2015 Operating, Wheel-Trans and Capital Budgets. The budgets will be forwarded to the City of Toronto for submission to the City Budget process and for confirmation of the 2015 operating subsidy level. Here is what was approved:

2015 Operating Budget

Board Members approved expenses totalling $1.69 billion, with an assumed operating subsidy of $479 million. To balance its budget, the TTC would need a total subsidy of $488 million. The TTC is projecting a record ridership level of 545 million in 2015 (1.9 per cent higher than the 534.8 million achieved in 2014), while maintaining its cost-recovery rate at 71 per cent – one of the highest in North America. Based on the anticipated subsidy level of $478.9 million and a $9-million draw from the TTC Stabilization reserve, the 2015 budget will be balanced.

The Board approved a 10-cent increase in the price of a single Adult token ($2.80 from $2.70) effective on March 1, 2015, and a proportionate increase to all other fares, plus a one-trip increase in the price of the Adult Metropass. Commissioners also approved the elimination of the Child fare (children aged 12 and under will ride for free) while Cash fares remain unchanged. The fare increase is in line with the rate of inflation.

The 2015 budget includes $95-million worth of new and enhanced service priorities to improve existing services and add new services to meet ridership demand across Toronto. Here is a summary of the tangible service enhancements that customers can begin to see this year:

  • More bus and streetcar service at off-peak periods to reduce crowding on approximately 67 routes, which will benefit 55 million customer trips and add 1.8 million new customer trips.
  • A city-wide network of 10-minutes or better service frequency, which will benefit 48 million customer trips and add 1.8 million new customer trips.
  • New express bus services at off-peak periods to provide faster and more comfortable journeys.
  • Phased-in restoration of all-day, every day service on the vast majority of bus and streetcar routes starting this year and into 2016.
  • Expand the overnight Blue Night network with approximately 12 additional bus and streetcar routes to reduce walking distances and add 300,000 new customer trips.
    The Board also approved the following motions presented by Commissioners Joe Mihevc and Shelley Carroll:
  • The TTC reaffirm its commitment to discounted fares for low-income residents, and that the TTC work with the City and outside stakeholders prior to the 2016 TTC budget with a plan within the context of a poverty reduction strategy.
  • The TTC with the City petition the Province to restore operating subsidies to the TTC to historic levels as part of its 2015 budget, and that the TTC work with the City to develop an advocacy plan in 2015 to that end.
  • Social service agencies that purchased bulk TTC tokens are offered tokens at the same cost in 2015 as in 2014; the maximum number of discounted tokens to be equal to the amount purchased in 2014.
  • TTC staff to develop a draft campaign to achieve a provincial operating subsidy on a per-rider basis and consult with the City Manager’s Office before bringing the requested draft campaign to the TTC Board.

2015 Capital Budget

Board Members approved a total of $1.15 billion for the 2015 portion of the 2015-2024 Capital Budget. The budget continues to provide for state-of-good-repair projects and legislative requirements (96 per cent of the total in the 10-year envelope). The 2015-2024 Capital Budget is worth $9.27 billion.

The 2015 portion includes vehicle procurements ($510 million) and infrastructure projects ($639 million).

Based on current funding assumptions, there is sufficient funding available to cover 2015 budgeted expenditures. But over the next five-year period the TTC is facing a $382-million shortfall; over the total 10-year-period the shortfall grows to $2.4 billion.

2015 Wheel-Trans Budget

Board Members approved the 2015 Wheel-Trans Operating Budget worth $109.1 million. The funding will maintain a 24/7 specialized service, a customer accommodated rate at 99 per cent, accommodate six-per-cent more riders, and see upgrades to the scheduling system, call centre telephone system and internet trip-booking site. Total ridership in 2015 is projected at an all-time-high of 3.2 million trips.

This year Wheel-Trans will be investing in a rebuild program for its Friendly bus fleet and begin a testing a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle for future needs.

Upcoming Board Meetings

The next scheduled regular TTC Board meeting will be on Wed., Feb. 25 at Toronto City Hall, Council Chamber, starting at 10 a.m., with the public session starting at 1 p.m.