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Toronto Transit Commission approves
TTC's 2015 budget, raises fares

At its meeting yesterday, Monday, February 2, the Toronto Transit Commission approved the 2015 TTC and Wheel-Trans operating budgets and the TTC’s 2015 - 2024 ten-year capital budget. The commission, which is the TTC’s board of directors, also approved raising most TTC fares, starting Sunday, March 1. It also agreed to let children 12 years of age or younger to ride free of fare.

City Council will now consider the TTC’s request for a subsidy of $478.9 million for the 2015 operating budget and $108.8 million for the 2015 Wheel-Trans operating budget, increasing those budgets by $38.8 and $2 million more than 2014. The TTC’s subsidy per rider remains the lowest in North America at 88 cents. (Montreal’s is $1.21, New York City’s $1.14 and York Region’s is $4.34.)

According a TTC news release, the budgets include “an unprecedented investment in new and enhanced transit service that will annualize to $95 million once fully implemented.”

If City Council approves the budgets, this “unprecedented investment” allows the TTC to:

  • restore “all-day, every-day bus service”, which City Council, under the leadership of former Mayor Rob Ford, cut in 2011;
  • establish “ten-minute-or-better” bus and streetcar service along key routes from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays to Fridays, Saturdays and holidays and from 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. Sundays;
  • reduce wait times and crowding during off-peak hours;
  • reduce wait times and crowding on 21 of the busiest routes during rush hours;
  • introduce “POP” — the proof-of-payment system — and all-door boarding along all streetcar routes;
  • expand the express bus network, adding four new routes to a network that serves 34 million riders annually;
  • expand the Blue Night overnight network of buses and streetcars, adding 12 routes to the 22-route network that serves 4 million riders annually;
  • add as many as two more subway trains along the 1 Yonge - University and 2 Bloor - Danforth lines during rush hours;
  • improve route management, reducing short-turns, bunching and gapping of buses and streetcars when operating along their routes;
  • add more resources to focus on subway reliability around signals, track and communications systems; and
  • hire more station supervisors.

The budgets allow the TTC to buy 50 new buses and acquire and operate a temporary warehouse and garage to store and maintain the buses. The extra buses will:

  • support expanding the express bus network;
  • help reduce wait times and crowding on some rush-hour routes; and
  • provide more spare buses while the TTC regularly maintains other buses in its fleet.

The board approved increasing the cost of a TTC token for adult passenger by ten cents to $2.80 and increasing the cost of an adult Metropass by $7.75 to $141.50. Cash fares remain the same as in previous year. Children 12 years of age and younger will travel free on the TTC.

Generally, the Toronto Transit Commission has the final say on TTC fares, so you can definitely expect to pay more to ride the TTC in March.

City Council will consider the TTC budget and approve the total amount of its subsidy during a meeting in March.

TTC budget highlights

TTC 2015 operating budget

With this budget, the TTC is planning for:

  • $1.7 billion in expenses;
  • 545 million rides and service to match — an increase of 1.9 percent above 2014;
  • fare revenue = $1.1 billion;
  • City of Toronto subsidy = $478.9 million — an increase of $440 million from 2014;
  • a ten-cent increase to the price of a single token (from $2.70 to $2.80); and
  • a Metropass trip rate increase from 49.5 to 50.5 trips per month, netting $7 million more in revenue;

Wheel-Trans 2015 operating budget

With this budget, the TTC is planning for:

  • an increase of about 180,000 passenger trips to 3.25 million trips;
  • $115 million in total expenses for 2015;
  • fare revenue = $6.2 million; and
  • City of Toronto subsidy = $108.8 million — an increase of $106.8 million from 2014.

Provincial legislation has required the TTC to operate Wheel-Trans service 24 hours a day, seven days a week since 2013. Contracted taxis provided 2.0 million of 3.1 million Wheel-Trans trips in 2014.

TTC 2015 - 2024 ten-year capital budget

With this budget, the TTC is planning for:

  • $9.3 billion of capital costs from 2015 until 2024 ($1.149 billion in 2015);
  • 96% of capital spending is focused on state-of-good-repair that includes:
  • rehabilitating buildings, structures, tunnels, bridges and yards
  • replacing tracks;
  • maintaining signals, electrical and communications systems;
  • buying vehicles, including subway cars, streetcars and buses to replace an aging fleet, while also addressing ridership growth and service improvements.

Shortfall of $2.4 billion over 10 years — 84% of that shortfall is during the last five years of the ten-year period

This results in the TTC not being able to fund some projects, including:

  • Improving accessibility;
  • buying 372 new subway cars to replace the current fleet of T1 cars on the 2 Bloor - Danforth and 4 Sheppard subway lines;
  • buying 201 new Wheel-Trans buses
  • buying 60 new low-floor streetcars to increase streetcar service;
  • buying 99 12-metre (40-foot) low-floor buses to support customer-service initiatives;
  • continuing a program to rebuild the TTC current buses, postponing the need to buy even more new buses;
  • starting a project to upgrade fire ventilation systems; and
  • developing a system to monitor train doors on the T1 and TR subway cars.
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