November 24, 2011

Revisions protect routes, hours of operations with reduced operating subsidy

The Toronto Transit Commission today announced various route changes that flow from its approved 2012 operating budget, which will enable the TTC to balance its budget with a reduced subsidy from the City of Toronto without cutting routes or hours of operation. The route changes, which take effect January 8, 2012, are attached.

The City of Toronto, the TTC’s primary funder for operating subsidy, indicated this year that the TTC’s subsidy would be reduced by 10 per cent. To balance its 2012 operating budget without cutting routes or hours of operations, the TTC is reverting to its pre-2004 loading standard for surface vehicles. This means, for example, that service capacity on a bus will be adjusted from an average of 48 customers to 53 customers during the busiest hour on that route.

With an estimated ridership of 503 million in 2012, the TTC will have enough buses and streetcars on the road to meet next year’s ridership demand using the pre-2004 loading standard. This approach will save the TTC $15 million next year. The TTC makes changes to its service plan – i.e., how many buses and streetcars will be deployed on each route – every six weeks, to meet ridership for the following six-week period.

The TTC looked at various options to reduce its operating expenses, including the staff reductions that were announced earlier this fall. Cutting routes and reducing hours of operations, however, were not options TTC staff considered. Rather, the TTC found a way to maintain all bus and streetcar routes by adjusting loading standards, thereby protecting all routes next year.

Starting in January, there will be reductions to 52 bus routes in the peak periods, and 36 reductions to bus and streetcar service in the off-peak periods. Customers will experience longer wait times and more crowded vehicles in some cases. The TTC is also increasing service in January, with 21 bus and streetcar routes seeing an increase in service.

The TTC recognizes that it needs to focus on route management as part of its overall commitment to improved customer service, and lessen the impact of these changes wherever possible. Customer service improvement remains as a key objective for the TTC in 2012 and beyond.

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