“Service will be changed, to reduce the TTC’s operating costs.” “Service will be changed, to reduce the TTC’s operating costs.”
It repeats, over and over again, a litany of regret or perhaps a PR measure to make sure we know who to blame. Earlier this afternoon the TTC released a list of the surface routes that will see service levels diminish in the new year, brought to your commute courtesy of Rob Ford’s edict that
all City departments, agencies, boards, and commissions all City departments, agencies, boards, and commissions except for the police cut their budgets by 10 per cent. The TTC, and especially TTC Chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence), have taken a firm stance on not cutting any routes entirely or scaling back hours of operation, which means that they must instead look to reducing the frequency of service on a large number of routes in order to balance the books.
Today’s press release explained that “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.” In other words: the Commission is giving up on service improvements introduced just a few years ago, as part of its Ridership Growth Strategy [PDF]. In the document outlining that strategy, the TTC wrote:
One of the objectives of the TTC’s Ridership Growth Strategy is to help encourage more people to adopt this [transit/walk/cycle] lifestyle by enhancing both the quality and availability of transit service in the City. To achieve this, transit must be an attractive alternative to the automobile, both in the peak periods for travelling to and from work or school and at off-peak times.
The cuts announced today are to service levels on 52 bus routes in the peak periods, and 36 bus and streetcar routes in the off-peak periods. This will lead to more crowding, longer wait times, and less reliable service as the impact of small delays for one vehicle will have larger ripple effects. (From the Ridership Growth Strategy: “The key factors governing mode choice are speed, reliability, comfort, convenience, and cost.” Three of those five will be impaired by these cuts.) On the upside, the TTC is increasing service on 21 bus and streetcar routes whose ridership has been increasing significantly.