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Is the TTC the priciest transit system in North America?

Posted by Guest Contributor / December 17, 2011

TTC FaresToronto is a unique city, and so is its public transit system. Few other places in North America offer quite the same mix of subway, streetcar and bus transit, all tied together by a single fare. But there are parallels and similarities out there if you look closely enough. Boston and Philadelphia offer perhaps the closest match of a smallish subway network mixed with legacy streetcar lines, and San Francisco closely mirrors the political tensions of the TTC, Metrolinx and GO with its Muni, BART and Caltrain mash-up.

Montreal and Washington DC have similar rapid transit ridership, while Los Angeles near-identical bus numbers. Yet in the big picture, the greatest commonality between systems relates to fares. All cities have to charge a rider to get from point A to point B, and many grapple with funding sources, labour issues, service levels, local politics and other factors that would sound familiar to even the casual transit observer. After suffering three years of deep recession, even well-regarded American cities have been raising fares and slashing service. Everyone is the same unfortunate situation of having to pay too much for transit... or are they?

It's fairly common knowledge that the TTC gets more funding from the farebox (67%) than any other North American transit system, so one would suspect its fares are relatively high in relation to other cities, but oddly this argument rarely gets mentioned during council debates or most articles covering the topic of fare hikes.

TTC FaresIt can be very difficult to peer over the edge of the putative centre of the universe, after all, even in the age of Google. Besides a willingness to acknowledge that other cities actually exist, many assumptions are required to undertake a comparative study of transit fares (see below), and any general comparison will surely skim over some pertinent details. But the question must still be asked — in the afterglow of the latest TTC fare hike, how does Toronto transit stack up when it comes to fares?

TTC FaresThe answer turns out to be an "F," by almost any measure. Although riding the Rocket in Toronto was less expensive than, say, New York as recently as 1990, ever since, the TTC has sat on top of the fare heap. In three of the four most easily compared fare categories for major North American transit systems — the adult base fare, the adult discounted multi-trip fare, the senior reduced fare and adult monthly passes — the TTC comes up as the most costly ride. The sole exception is the adult base fare, where Toronto runs a close second to Ottawa (which says something about public transit funding in Ontario). When measured overall across the categories in question, the TTC is the most expensive single-fare integrated transit system in North America.

TTC FaresGiven that context, is a fare increase for any reason reasonable in Toronto? Or does this show that something else is fundamentally broken on either the cost or revenue side that is driving TTC fares through the roof? There are multiple reasons for the the TTC's monetary woes to be sure — including a lack of provincial funding — but were the comparative position of its fares better represented by the Toronto media and at public meetings, one has to wonder if more pressure could be brought to bear on improving funding and reducing expenses to better protect the farebox. Surely the title of "most expensive transit" is one a striving world-class city would prefer not to keep. Spread the word.

Study Assumptions:

  • Most North American transit systems use a single fare within their borders, like the TTC. But there are those which do not, like Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Houston, Denver, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. It would be apples to oranges to compare these directly with the TTC, since they are both less expensive for close-in residents and more expensive for those in the outer suburbs. Generally speaking, almost all are less costly than the TTC within their city limits, and some even include free fare areas downtown. But for the purpose of this study they have to be excluded.
  • Student fares are far too varied in format and age limits to easily compare, but all cities offer some sort of senior fare that is easily compared. Equalizations had to be made for Calgary and Ottawa (see chart).
  • Smart farecards are now found systemwide in all cities listed here except Toronto, Cleveland and Philly. But these cities still offer discounted fares in the form of multiple-trip cards or tokens/tickets, which are directly comparable to smartcard discount fares.
  • Separate costs for transfers are difficult to equalize. These are now rare in most places and usually waived for smart farecards. They are ignored here for simplicity, though it should be noted they would significantly increase the cost of a single trip in Miami (50 cents) or Philadelphia ($1).
  • Where different prices for bus vs subway do still exist, as in Boston or St. Louis, the rail fare was used. For Ottawa the bus price was used as this city's transit is primarily BRT — its small demonstration rail line is actually less expensive to ride but carries only 2% of daily ridership and so is ignored.
  • All cities now offer monthly adult passes for bus and subway/LRT. In some cities, such as Philadelphia, these are even good for partial use of the commuter rail lines though this was ignored in the comparison.
  • Cities with small transit ridership or nascent rail transit lines were left out of the comparison.
  • Exchange rate of par assumed for simplicity. Even at an 85 cent Canadian dollar the results would still hold valid.

Guest contribution from Larry Green.

Photo by Cameron MacMaster in the blogTO Flickr pool

Discussion

102 Comments

scottd / December 17, 2011 at 11:14 am
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Thats what happens when Mike Harris and then Dalton McGinty steal our tax dollars and dont spend anything on day to day TTC operations.
Kevin / December 17, 2011 at 11:34 am
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It's time for a distance-based subway fare. You pay based on the distance from your starting station or zone to your destination station. I get really tired of having to pay $3.00 each way to go one (albeit long) subway stop from Lawrence to Eglinton, while someone getting on at McCowan and ride all the way to Kipling Station for the same price.
Miroslav Glavic / December 17, 2011 at 11:40 am
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Viva's Adult/Seniors/Children/High School Students fares are $4.25 if you go two zones (I say someone from etobicoke/Scarborough going downtown is two fare zones equivalent).
d replying to a comment from Kevin / December 17, 2011 at 11:43 am
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amen
daniel replying to a comment from Kevin / December 17, 2011 at 11:50 am
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Even with distance based fare, I'm still paying $121 for a metropass.
grenna / December 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm
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thanks for laying this out!
we as riders, citizens, taxpayers and voters need to organize and get our funding back - from the province and the feds.
in addition, we need new sources of funding - vrt/congestion anyone?
as well, things such as - zone based fares, timed transfers etc... need to be looked at.
our crap transit system is a dead weight on this city - and it's only getting worse.
where can we begin an organized effort? any groups making any serious moves already? it's time.
a replying to a comment from Kevin / December 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm
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have you ever considered walking?
Kevin replying to a comment from a / December 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm
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a: Are you trying to be "smart" or are you really interested in knowing why some of us have difficulty walking long distances?
Joe replying to a comment from Kevin / December 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm
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Why not just walk? It can't be more than 20 minutes!
EJ replying to a comment from daniel / December 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm
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And soon you'll be paying even more for that pass! Merry Christmas and happy new year from Rob Ford!
TransLink / December 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm
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No it's not. TransLink in Vancouver charges $151 for a monthly 3 zone pass. Single fare is $5.00 one way for 3 zones. $3.75 for 2 zones.
JLankford / December 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm
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As poorly ran, and as archaic as the TTC might be, how many of the transit systems listed receive no State/Provincial/Federal funding? Very few, if any besides Toronto, probably.
TransLink / December 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm
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For comparison:
2 zones is the equivalent of going from Downtown to Yorkdale.
3 zones is the equivalent of going from Downtown to Vaughan.
ed / December 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm
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make toronto a province
Maria / December 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm
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You forgot Mexico City, it's in North America too:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_America#Countries.2C_territories.2C_and_dependencies
The price for one way trip is three pesos (about $0.25CDN). They also say the real cost is actually nine pesos, about 75 cents.
http://www.metro.df.gob.mx/organismo/costoboleto.html
luc / December 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm
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Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuc Toronnnnna

Ilove Guelph
Kevin replying to a comment from luc / December 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm
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luc: But your love affair with Guelph still affords you ample time to read blogs about Toronto - a city you apparently hate.
V / December 17, 2011 at 01:05 pm
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Sometimes walking isn't an option! Especially in Toronto in the winter! Walking from Lawrence to Eg in -30 weather is no fun and time consuming!
TTCRIDER / December 17, 2011 at 01:06 pm
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PLEASE NO MORE FARE HIKES! This is getting ridiculous. It's already $121 for a monthly pass... that's a steep increase from just a few years ago. We need to collectively refuse such expensive public transportation!
George / December 17, 2011 at 01:23 pm
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FSCK Toronto.. Keswick is tops.
W. K. Lis / December 17, 2011 at 01:27 pm
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Yet, there are those, usually automobile-addicted drivers, who keep saying that transit riders should pay more. This despite the fact that the upkeep of urban roads (including the Gardiner and Don Valley) are paid by property taxes and not from gasoline taxes.
marc replying to a comment from daniel / December 17, 2011 at 01:55 pm
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With a distanced based system, you'd probably be paying more for your Metropass.
Lucy / December 17, 2011 at 02:12 pm
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This is probably true, but using public transport is still a better option than trying to find a free parking spot in Toronto. According to a survey by IBM, Toronto is the third easiest place to park out of 20 cities around the world, but sometimes it feels like "mission impossible".
priceman / December 17, 2011 at 02:14 pm
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Transit in Toronto will continue to be more expensive until it receives Provincial and Federal funding like all the other Transit systems. It's actually miraculous that it's as good as it is with as little support as it has.
Victor / December 17, 2011 at 02:49 pm
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No wonder we have the most expensive system in North America. Just look at the over 1000 employees who take home more than $100,000 per year: http://toronto.pints.com/ Just for sitting in a booth and watching people put a fare in a box !!!
Kevo replying to a comment from JLankford / December 17, 2011 at 03:48 pm
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RE: Transit subsidies - You're right, the TTC is the largest transit operator in North America that does not receive subsidies from the upper levels of government. The MTA in NYC, for example, receives large amounts of subsidies and still has a massive deficit ($3b is a figure I heard a couple of months ago, but check to be sure). @Victor - I hate to break it to you, but the system would still likely be the most expensive in North America because it doesn't get any operating subsidies.

For those that complain about the TTC prices have obviously never been on the lacklustre public transit systems of its surrounding suburbs... same fare for 30 minute rush hour service and a small number of routes ($3 in Burlington, $2.50 in Waterloo). What needs to happen is Metrolinx needs to take over responsibility of the 400-series highways and all of the transit systems in the GTA and merge them into one. They can control tolling on the 400s and merge routes into ones that make sense for traveling habits.
mike / December 17, 2011 at 03:52 pm
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its clear that were just getting shafted by the higher governments. hey, why is it that there are no cities in Canada run by conservatives? yet 80% of us live in an urban area. interesting.
James replying to a comment from Kevin / December 17, 2011 at 03:55 pm
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Totally agree with you Kevin. People would probably use the TTC more if we had that as well.
The Legend replying to a comment from Kevin / December 17, 2011 at 05:22 pm
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I'd like to know why u have trouble walking long distances.
John / December 17, 2011 at 05:24 pm
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When I moved to Toronto I had such high hopes of giving up my car for a world-class transit system, and then I found out they were talking about the TTC.

Also evidently I can't smoke on a subway car, so... you know. I need to start my mornings somehow people.
Jay / December 17, 2011 at 05:24 pm
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It amazes me that people blame Rob Ford or the Provincial government for the TTC's problems. This isn't true by a longshot. First let's begin by saying that TTC fares are actually more than what we pay, in the sense tha every year the TTC loses money *but* it always pays its bills. Therefore we as taxpayers pick up the rest so we are actually paying more for each ride on the TTC and further everyone who doesn't take the TTC is paying for it. Secondly, no one seems to point a finger at the TTC bureaucracy, when they are the *true* cause of all the problems. Does anyone ever notice that when Politicians say they are going to cut funding to the TTC, TTC bureaucracy types say they are going cut service and it is all the politicians fault. Did these workers ever think about cutting their wages because they are not balancing their budget, not by a longshot - instead all of us bear the cost.
Jay replying to a comment from Kevo / December 17, 2011 at 05:31 pm
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Bad idea, you would just create another monopoly that will hold ordinary Torontonians hostage.
warmflash / December 17, 2011 at 05:38 pm
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At this point, I think it's safe to say there will never be any additional routes built for the TTC, no new subways and no improvements. It's too late for that. All the bureaucracy can do it stay the tide of decay until eventually the system is so run down and unsafe, it has to be closed.

For another look public transportation, perhaps we should look at what happened in Tokyo.

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2011/10/why-tokyos-privately-owned-rail-systems-work-so-well/389/

warmflash / December 17, 2011 at 05:42 pm
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Here's an interesting list of TTC salaries over $100,000.00's. There are a lot of people being very well paid. Many who don't do much beside collect fares and sleep on the job.

http://toronto.pints.com/display.lasso?choice=2010_ttc
kn / December 17, 2011 at 06:07 pm
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nice list. no surprise. i'd love to see the list of toronto employees making over 100k.
CougarD / December 17, 2011 at 08:02 pm
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The end of all our TTC problems = PRIVATIZE!
Doug / December 17, 2011 at 08:37 pm
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Cost issues at the TTC are nowhere near the largest chunk of this problem. It seems pretty unlikely that transit unions in Montreal, New York, Boston, San Francisco, etc. are very much less capable of bargaining good agreements than Toronto's. The big difference is in the subsidy available both from local and higher governments.
Bubba / December 17, 2011 at 09:35 pm
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truly a sad state
Jrog / December 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm
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I don't understand why people waste time with the TTC when personal teleporters are dirt cheap and far faster. The whole "10 minutes lost from predicted lifespan per use" thing has been blown way out of proportion; realistically, the average transit user is going to waste far more time than that on the TTC every day. Granted, that's not affecting your total life expectancy, but do you really want to be around in 2050 anyway?
Farebox / December 17, 2011 at 10:46 pm
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Tough call on vs Vancouver, but to be fair Vancouver has a very underdeveloped commuter rail system; I think it is reasonable to think of Zone 3 as a commuter zone, way outside city limits. (And just wait, Vaughan will certainly be charged double fare once the TTC gets out there). As a two-zone system the monthly pass is less than the TTC, and many Vancouverites do just fine within the city zone (Zone 1), which is much less expensive than the TTC.
Derek / December 17, 2011 at 10:53 pm
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We've updated the graphs above to reflect the new TTC fares and to cover a few more cities.
Jara / December 17, 2011 at 11:07 pm
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I was thoroughly impressed with the transit system in baltimore which has a free transit system on top of the regular (paid) transit system, probably to promote tourism. It certainly left a lasting and positive impression throughout my stay there. While a free system is certainly not at all a possibility for a city like Toronto., it makes you wonder how some cities can do it (even if its only a reduced fare instead of free) while Toronto continues to increase the prices. I'm not that old but I remember when a round trip base fare was under $5. Now we're inching ever more closely to a round trip ride costing $10, which is a price too high for a daily commute (particularly those who simply get paid minimum wage)
Hooman / December 17, 2011 at 11:57 pm
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It's funny, the media run a story about one booth collector caught snoozing, and that becomes the focus and stereotype of the TTC for the next 3 years. Sure, there are probably some people who are lazy/overpaid at the TTC. You can say the same thing about just any private or public organization that size.

But when you look at the facts and compare the TTC with other transit systems, you can see that is by far the least funded system in the world. Our fares pay for 2/3 the cost of running the TTC, which is insane. For most other cities that figure is less than 1/2, and you actually get a subway system with more than two lines.

Yeah you can drink Ford's cool aid in the Toronto Sun and blame the unions and the gravy. But really, the TTC is probably the most efficient transit system in the continent when you look at how much service they give for the amount of funding it receives.
Zach Swan / December 18, 2011 at 08:45 am
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36 TTC employees making more than $100,000/yr in 2000. Ten years later, 1013 TTC employees making more than $100,000/yr. While gov't funding is certainly part of the problem, the cost of service delivery has clearly run amok.
... replying to a comment from Zach Swan / December 18, 2011 at 09:40 am
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"36 TTC employees making more than $100,000/yr in 2000. Ten years later, 1013 TTC employees making more than $100,000/yr."

That statement is a misleading. $100 000 in 2000 is equivalent to almost $122 000 in 2010 dollars. To get a more adequate comparison, you would have to know how many TTC employees made in excess of $82 000 in the year 2000.
Terry / December 18, 2011 at 10:02 am
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I've read on several occasions how the TTC is the least-subsidized big-city public transit system in North America, from an operating expense perspective. Naturally, we pay more for fares as a result. It's a matter of Federal/Provincial/Municipal budget priorities for public transit and the environment; put their money where there mouth is.
W. K. Lis / December 18, 2011 at 10:22 am
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BlogTO should display the fares for the transit systems surrounding Toronto, in the 905. Along with the subsidies they receive, which will be higher than the TTC's. BTW. most of those transit systems surrounding Toronto are private.
Janice / December 18, 2011 at 10:45 am
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I'd be happy(ish) with the monthly or weekly pass on the TTC if you could buy them any day of the week and they lasted for the duration. The 1st of the month or Monday start is backwards and punitive. Also where's our smartcard system?
John replying to a comment from Hooman / December 18, 2011 at 10:47 am
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I agree with the comment about the TTC being the most efficient system of its size in the world. Consider if you will how starved the TTC is for money. Also consider before you go off and blather on about how they wast money about how much it must cost to keep an operation of that size running. and running safely i might add. in entire lifetime of the subway the TTC has had only one major accident involving passenger injury or death (1995) The TTC operates hundreds of vehicles everyday carrying over a million passengers a day. this is done in Toronto's notorious traffic daily without any major accidents. the TTC must also pay what must be a massive electricity bill to keep the subways powered, station lights on, and more. fuel alone costs a regular person an arm and a leg think about the scale to which the TTC has to buy fuel. then add to all that the costs of Engineers needed to ensure the subway station your in and the tunnel your riding in at 80kph dose not fall in on you. or the mechanics who inspect the trains and buses and streetcars you get to work on. to keep the number of vehicles on the road/rail that the TTC needs to maintain minimal service requires allot of people. and if you want these jobs done right by people who take pride in they're work and actually have something to lose by doing a half ass job then you have to pay them right. that's not saying some are overpaid, why we even have collectors is a mystery to me, seems to me the entire operation could be automated. my point is take a look around the TTC look inside that break-room you see operators coming in and out of, do you see comfy new chairs? a new plasma TV.... hell a TV period? new desks? new anything? you don't its all old worn out shit because that's all they can afford. supervisors drive new cars because the TTC has a lease for fleet vehicles and after a set number of months the lease entitles them to new vehicles.
The TTC is one big organization and its not even big enough to meet our needs. For years and years it has been scraping by going from government one time cash to more one time cash, no one has addressed the systematic underfunding plaguing the system. Maybe we should spend less money on subway extensions into other god damn cities like the one were building into Vaughn (seriously?) and spend money like that on improving our over crowded existing subway system circa 1954
rmp / December 18, 2011 at 10:56 am
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Where's the comparison of employees wages and benefits?


Dan / December 18, 2011 at 11:19 am
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Why are people defending the TTC? Unless you work for the TTC, who are you helping? TTC employees are overpaid. That is the root of the problem; very poor management of funds. If you ask me, someone that sits in a booth or drives a bus shouldn't have a 6 figure salary, or even close to it. The city is full of unemployed, qualified people. Give the jobs to those that will do it for reasonable compensation. $100,000 salary is absurd.
O.K. replying to a comment from Dan / December 18, 2011 at 11:29 am
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Go sign up if you relive the job is so lucrative - why can't people go put their money where there mouth is. I would never want to drive a bus or collect fares on the TTC and deal with obnoxious Toronto citizens like you. They deserve what they make.

I have no qualms if a union has been able to keep rages at the levels of inflation throughout the years. If you do the math that TTC Bus drivers wage is near the same as the drivers wages in the 60's. Its our jobs which are in the dumpsters, not the fact that the TTC makes to much. I have no issue with what TTC workers make. Nobody on here can discount the value and importance of the TTC to the lifeblood of the City. The TTC is on the same podium as Police, Fire, garbage, EMS, etc. You take out any of those and the City falls apart instantly.

Why can't people correlate that the majority of the TTCs cash simply just goes into maintenance and keeping things at level of "good", which means that any cutting of anything and you get a third world situation where random things would break and explode.
Dan replying to a comment from O.K. / December 18, 2011 at 11:55 am
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I have no spare money, O.K. I am a Ryerson student. Why do you have no issue with what they make? It's very important and shows how some of the funds are allocated. Of course the TTC is a lifeblood to me and the city, hence why I am commenting. I'd like to know why a first class constable (experienced police officer) makes less money (approx. $82,000) than some TTC employees? Or why TTC employees make significantly more than EMS and Fire personnel? I am not saying one profession is more important than another, I am saying TTC employees are overpaid.
priceman replying to a comment from warmflash / December 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm
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" Here's an interesting list of TTC salaries over $100,000.00's. There are a lot of people being very well paid. Many who don't do much beside collect fares and sleep on the job. http://toronto.pints.com/display.lasso?choice=2010_ttc";

I went through that list, and there are only 16 collectors on the whole list. Most of those people are engineers, technicians, foremen, and supervisors of departments. Doesn't look all that crazy.

That said, if "operator" means people who drive buses and streetcars, I don't understand why they earn as much as they do.
infernalmachine replying to a comment from priceman / December 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm
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Some are paid that much because they work an extra 40 hours of overtime a week. Because either the organization can't hire new folks to fill in those hours (i.e. hiring freezes) or doesn't want to spend the money training new folks (because only about 40% of new hires actually do well enough to stay).

Some of the people making over $100,000 are senior management or engineers. I certainly don't mind paying someone who designs tracks so I don't die a healthy wage.

Can we not race to the bottom, please?
McRib replying to a comment from Dan / December 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm
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Sure lets cut their salaries and watch as kilometer after kilometer of subway still doesn't get built.

i don't know about you(well actually i do), but i have no problem with someone who drives a bus and is in charge of and responsible for the safety of thousands of people to be paid well. This remember is someone who has to put up with abusive passengers and assholes daily. They interact with the public much more than any police officer, are assaulted and spat upon, and insulted by complete dickheads like yourself who think they make too much money.

ticket takers? sure, they make too much for what they do, but thats the union pal, they do the best they can for their brotherhood. At least when we finally get automation (in 2045) there will be no more ticket takers and you can take your anger out on someone else.

blaming the union is such a stupid, ignorant, uninformed way to look at the situation. The governments love it though as it deflects any blame away from them (hint: this is who you should be directing your anger towards!)
kn / December 18, 2011 at 01:44 pm
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TTC one of the most efficient public transit systems in the world? Where are your facts? clearly you haven't travelled much. It seems like we are the last city in the world that hasn't automated our payment system. Beyond the subway line to nowhere built by Mel, nothing has been built since the 50's.
Andrew / December 18, 2011 at 05:12 pm
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Many of the 905 suburbs are more expensive than Toronto. YRT is going up to $3.50 next year ($4.50 for 2 zones), Brampton Transit is $3.25, Oakville and Mississauga are going up to $3.25 next year. Don't even forget GO Transit, which is way less subsidized than the TTC, its fares are much higher. Also London, England is a very expensive system to ride (much more expensive than TTC, except the buses which are cheaper with an Oyster card).

Much as I am concerned about the poor in this city (and I think that there ought to be a directly targeted TTC subsidy for the poor), the Ontario government has a $16 billion deficit. Increasing TTC subsidies for all riders isn't going to happen in this economy, and service expansion (e.g. finishing the Eglinton subway) is much more of a priority.
gricer1326 replying to a comment from CougarD / December 18, 2011 at 06:01 pm
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"The end of all our TTC problems = PRIVATIZE!"

You think the TTC is bad now?

Imagine this - $10 fares, subway trains that run every 10 minutes, surface routes that run every half hour at best, dramatically reduced surface network, overcrowding like you've never seen, NO new expansion, NO new vehicles, dingy, dirty stations, deferred maintenance, no night service, no free transfers.

Sound like an absolute wretched shitstorm?

That's privatization for you.
W. K. Lis replying to a comment from Andrew / December 18, 2011 at 07:10 pm
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From http://www.torontoenvironment.org/campaigns/transit/facts comes these figures:

Subsidies:

TTC - 415 million rides at a cost of $0.47/rider
Go Transit - 44 million rides at a cost of $4.71/rider
York Region - 10 million rides at a cost of $2.44/rider

York Region is privately owned, and are on strike for higher wages.
ry / December 18, 2011 at 08:43 pm
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I don't see a lot of drivers getting paid more than $100 000, look mostly like managers and engineers. If they've all been working there 15+ years then good for them, I suspect it is not new grads getting paid that money. Anyways, I don't think you'll save too much in that respect. Certainly there is an issue if we have the most expensive fees and terrible service. I think a huge lack of vision combined with little outside funding are the biggest issues.
Forest for the Trees replying to a comment from John / December 18, 2011 at 09:21 pm
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John, every single sentence you said is true. It is also true you could replace the words "TTC" and "Toronto" with "transit agency" and "the city" and it would still be true. That does not explain why the TTC costs more to ride than other systems, all of which face the exact same set of challenges. It's either funding, or costs, or both. That is what people are discussing here. Personally, I blame the federal government for never treating cities as national interests, but I don't know enough about the cost side to pass judgement. (For what is it worth, Boston had a few streetcar and subway drivers making as much as $118,000 in 2009 -- http://www.bostonherald.com/projects/mbta/wages.DESC//7/).
namehijacked replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / December 18, 2011 at 10:11 pm
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ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
I was wondering how long it would take before the usual suspects start blaming the lack of federal funding or the evil motorists for the TTC's woes.
Why don't we stick to the topic for a change, which is that both the feds and Queen's Park use Toronto as a cash cow. You may bitch and whine that the TTC gets no love, but somebody is paying the $2B or so a year in CAPITAL projects (don't we always seem to forget that pesky capital budget when it comes to grind our favorite axe?)
The TTC rides for free on roads paid for by motorists, by the way. F-U about whether gasoline taxes go to roads or not: the fact is the Province collected $2.6B in gasoline tax last year and only spent $2B on roads in the PROVINCE. Throw in another %50M in net profit for Green P and parking tickets, $70M registered motorists in the city pay for licensing (sure, to the Province, but we still pay it.)
W.K. - this thread was doing fine arguing the points of TTC funding, but you're never going to learn that bashing the evil motorist is only preaching to the choir around here and won't win you any converts.
I'm all for improving the TTC, but one big fact not mentioned in this 'research piece' is that 70% of the folks in the city drive, only 22% take the TTC, yet the TTC already sucks up 60% of the funding. (Look it up - I have too many times to bother again. Don't forget that pesky CAPITAL budget, though!)
Sunny / December 18, 2011 at 11:57 pm
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Why does everyone seem to think that once the payment system is fully automated, the station collectors will magically disappear? Go visit New York, London, Paris, Montréal, etc... even when their payment system has been automated, they still need to keep their stations manned, in case anything goes wrong.
Timmins / December 19, 2011 at 08:54 am
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Is the lack of inclusion of other GTA systems like Mississauga, York/VIVA and GO intentional or just an oversight? Let's compare apples to apples before we put on our troll hats, shall we?
BPark replying to a comment from Kevin / December 19, 2011 at 09:57 am
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A distance based system makes sense. Perhaps more work administratively, but that creates jobs. It works well in Seoul, Korea. It would be great for the riders, but TTC would make less money per trip. How much extra does the union end up costing the riders?
Alex replying to a comment from Timmins / December 19, 2011 at 09:59 am
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I think they weren't included because they aren't comparable. None of them has major rail lines and they are all much smaller. The province has a huge deficit right now. If people want more money from the province for the TTC you have to tell them what to cut to pay for it, you can't just demand money. I want them to invest in the TTC too, but I haven't looked closely enough at all the programs the province funds to decide on one I would be willing to live without so that transit in Ontario can get some funding.
Upset / December 19, 2011 at 10:01 am
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......or the TTC just could be extremely poorly managed and waste the majority of its funds. I have worked for the TTC and can tell you what a disaster they really are.
I’m just glad I have a car.
rek / December 19, 2011 at 10:21 am
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Repairing the TTC requires Prov/Fed funding AND AND AND reining in the ridiculous salaries. Someone who does less work than a McDonald's cashier should not be making six figures, let alone have a union to protect them when their lousy customer service is caught on camera.
go away rek replying to a comment from rek / December 19, 2011 at 10:38 am
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I'm pretty sure that we've gone over the fact that a TTC employee does not make $100k+ as a rule and that those who do earn it by working overtime.
rek replying to a comment from go away rek / December 19, 2011 at 11:20 am
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Six figures is just an example, and some of the jobs do not need to be unionized. Someone making change and yelling at riders asking for directions shouldn't be making $60,000. And for the money they pay the janitors/cleaners, pretty much every station is a sty.
kevin q. / December 19, 2011 at 11:25 am
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To ppl arguing high fare is because of lack of funding - maybe that's true but also a big part of the problem is in its inefficiency and wages. No amount of provincial or municipal dollars will fix that. To the contrary, more funding will make this even worse - they'll lose the incentive to reform.
General replying to a comment from rek / December 19, 2011 at 01:34 pm
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Someone who puts in 30h overtime/period is not equivilent to someone who is a cashier at McDonalds. Go back to arguing with yourself on Torontoist, ok?
Vancouverite in TO replying to a comment from TransLink / December 19, 2011 at 04:30 pm
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This is not accurate! The zone's aren't distance based!! All of Vancouver is one zone. The other zones are other cities. Richmond, Burnaby etc. are independent cities. It makes sense for Translink to charge so much for multi-zone fares because people who live outside of Vancouver don't pay Vancouver taxes so they are expected to pay more for using Vancouver services.
rek replying to a comment from General / December 20, 2011 at 10:25 am
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Whatever you say, troll.

Being able to work 30h overtime that often is also a symptom of something wrong.
Svej / December 21, 2011 at 10:22 am
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I used to take transit in Burlington - the buses come every half hour at best, stop running at 10 p.m., show up late, and on occasion don't show at all (adding another half hour to your wait). A 15 minute drive in your car can turn into an hour ride by transit. It costs the same price to take a bus in Burlington as it does in Toronto. So by all means, even though it is expensive, Toronto is a hell of a lot better than the suburbs systems.
Alex replying to a comment from Svej / December 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm
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Amen! The suburbs have terrible transit. Durham Region Transit (DRT) is one of the worst transit systems there is. Buses run every half hour at best, most don't run outside of rush hour and those that do are a combination of multiple routes so they take forever. I know of at least one route that does 3 circles, two of them being in industrial areas where no one gets on or off! When it was just Ajax Transit (i don't remember how long ago, over a decade at least) they had reliable routes that were cheap and were even implementing smart card technology. Then they merged with Pickering Transit and fares went up and they went back to the old paper system for payment. Then Ajax-Pickering transit merged with a few others to form Durham Region Transit, fares skyrocketed (over a dollar increase), a ton of local routes were cut while regional ones got increased, and the service got even worse than it was before. Now it costs $2.90 for an adult ride on DRT ($97 for a monthly pass) and they are still cutting routes. There are large areas of Ajax (not sure about the other towns) that don't even have service anymore. The takeaway is never ever merge transit systems, it makes them a ton worse, and that the TTC is amazing compared to surrounding systems.
milou replying to a comment from Maria / December 21, 2011 at 08:00 pm
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Actually, there are 23 countries in North America, so the author forgot a lot more than just Mexico. Let's be nice and assume Mr Green did his research, but all of the other countries have transit systems too cheap to make the lists!
Whatever / December 23, 2011 at 02:04 am
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Ottawa is known for having the highest public transportation fees in Canada. Toronto may pay more for a monthly TTC pass but there isn't anything but buses in Ottawa, and constantly get stuck in the snow/block roadways. They also had a OC Transpo strike that lasted from December to January a few years back. I moved here shortly after and haven't really had any reason to complain, at least the TTC is an essential service.
LOL / December 23, 2011 at 07:20 pm
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LOL. What an ignorant drama queen rant. The TTC isn't even the most expensive transit system in the GTA, let alone North America!
krystaline86 / December 24, 2011 at 10:01 am
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Don't forget: even after the fare increase to $3.10 for regular fare, our neighbours to the north, YRT/VIVA, are still charging more than TTC. YRT/VIVA regular fare is $3.25, and I don't doubt their fare might increase within a year again too...
Some1 / December 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm
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This is the whole point

Toronto doesn't want people to use public transportation, instead get a car and pay more for gas and as always insurance
Face Plant / December 28, 2011 at 01:19 am
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There have been some thoughtful arguments (minus the screamers and ranters).

Yes, costs have to be reasonable but imagine reducing the reliance of the farebox for funding to match the government funding for other metro systems? Would that address all the issues facing the TTC?

This leads to a national transit strategy. Without one, the federal government will only do its share by doing one-off investments. Of course, funding a national transit strategy will require budget re-allocation given there's no way the federal government will borrow to fund transit.
Rod replying to a comment from TransLink / January 2, 2012 at 01:30 pm
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and every drop of gasoline sales in the greater Vancouver area is taxed to help fund Translink. you pay to ride and not to ride. (not that, that is a bad thing but every person will feel there own way on that part of the debate)
mister_E replying to a comment from Victor / January 3, 2012 at 03:23 pm
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That's the type of comment I'd expect from a Toronto Sun reader. I am presuming that the link you provided is to a site that shows which public workers make over $100,000. And it seems that maybe a ticket booth worker or workers made the list. It is important to note that those workers are paid by the hour. So in order to make that kind of money they would need to work a ridiculous number of hours.
mister_E replying to a comment from Dan / January 3, 2012 at 03:35 pm
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You are going to Ryerson, so that you will not have to drive a bus. However, it seems that you lack experience and common sense. The professions you mentioned are salary based. And depending on their CBA, they might not be eligible to make overtime. People who drive TTC vehicles get paid by the hour. Do some math and figure out just how many hours one needs to work to make that kind of money.
Dan replying to a comment from mister_E / January 3, 2012 at 03:44 pm
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The bottom line Mister_E_Busdriver is that, overtime or not, $100,000+ annually is not warranted for a job that requires that level of skill and/or experience. If the TTC was a profitable business, it would be understandable. Also, if they need to work astronomical hours to earn that much per year, is it safe that they are? They drive large, passenger filled vehicles.
oddfellow replying to a comment from Dan / January 3, 2012 at 04:35 pm
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That salary is not indicative of a typical employyee but one who WORKS the overtime for it. Sorry you're so bitter about your own minimum wage job.
Alex replying to a comment from Dan / January 3, 2012 at 04:59 pm
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"overtime or not, $100,000+ annually is not warranted for a job that requires that level of skill and/or experience." That makes no sense. So they should work all that overtime free? The only other alternative is to higher more people so they won't have to work so much overtime. In that case you have all the added costs of benefits, sick days, uniform, etc. that it is probably cheaper to just have people work the overtime. Why are you so upset that someone else earns a lot of money because they are willing to work long hard hours for it? Shouldn't we be happy that there are hardworking people at the TTC, rather than griping about how they get to work so much overtime?
Peter / May 9, 2012 at 03:56 pm
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Compare fares to Vancouver, and Toronto looks like a deal. A monthly pass can cost as much as $151, and a single ticket $5 if you have to cross all three zones.
Quark replying to a comment from rek / May 13, 2012 at 10:38 am
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The troll, in this case, is YOU AND only YOU, rek, plus all of the other idiots complaining about the TTC and how the employees are paid too much (despite people trying to explain to you the reason why such pay is warrented.) If you think that the TTC is shit, go and live in some other city (London, New York, Montreal, Hong Kong, etc) that you and the other whiny assholes think is better.

Once you do, however, PLEASE promise me and everybody else that you stay there, and don't ever come back.
Quark replying to a comment from Dan / May 13, 2012 at 09:11 pm
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Hey, Dan The Dumb-ass, the word and concept that you need to focus on in your life is the word 'union'. That's U-N-I-O-N. Once you get off of your lazy, spotty shit-encrusted behind, stop playing video games and surfing the 'Net, and cease all of the partygoing, and get other young people together to form a union, you might get what you want in life, and won't be so resentful of people who are unionized and earn more money than you for doing what you consider to be a low-wage job. Remember, it all starts with you.
Nirmalan / July 31, 2012 at 12:46 am
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I think the TTC is worth it compared to the G.T.A. It offers frequent services, runs 24 hours a day and is bike/wheelchair accessible. Other transits it in the G.T.A. like YRT charge $3.50 for adults and their service isn't frequent. TTC is great! They also offer express services. Some for extra fare. You can get around Toronto with 1 fare which is good.
Normand / August 23, 2012 at 09:39 pm
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or / October 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm
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I see alot of comments that say their own town/city is the best but I wonder if the transit systems are as extensive, availiable and accessible? I no longer live in Toronto and would kill to be able to pay those fares again, compared to the $3.50 base fare I now have to pay to travel 12 kms. Also I am limited to 8 availiable busses on weekdays and only 6 on weekends. I don't mean routes that I can take, I mean actual scheduled busses at the only stop within 1.5 kms. I seem to have moved to the land of "You ncan't get there from here!" By the way I live in the north end of york region for that comment about Keswick being the best.
ABc / January 4, 2013 at 06:16 pm
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The only first world's transit system that can be compared to those of the communist North Korean. Way to go, North Korean, you finally match up to Toronto for transit system. See it for yourself in youtube. Where else do you still see people put a token into a fare gate. It is so retro.
Grimzeek replying to a comment from Janice / January 4, 2013 at 07:18 pm
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We don't need that over-rated shit, especially when we have a lot of poor people who can't afford the large amount of money it cost to keep enough money in a bank account just to top up the card. Before we get any system like that, we should make sure that all people can travel with this kind of system, and not just those who are lucky to earn enough to have money on the card.
otnorot / February 14, 2013 at 05:50 pm
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Drivers making 100.000 in a year,that is not a regular drivers wage,they had to work an awful lot of overtime to get that kind of money.New TTC drivers get two weeks training and if you don"t pass your out.Do we need collectors,well those men are unable to drive anymore so rather than fire them the TTC gives them a job the can do safely.I drove for the TTC for 39 years 1950-1939 because I loved the job and in that time the TTC was the best transit system in North America,what ruined the TTC was letting unqualified politicians stick their noses into it.
Tj87 / February 27, 2013 at 02:40 pm
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Though i never hated or complained Bout the ttc I agree that the ttc is overrated and overpriced in comparison to other transit systems, yet i still miss it. I moved north to Newmarket-aurora and we have the yrt. although the bus drivers are exceptionally helpful and kind (99%of the time) the schedules are inconsistent as most buses are hourly while others take longer during 2-5. In addition when switching buses be thankful if you only wait 30 minutes for your second bus. In addition the fare prices are an extra dollar depending on where you live (that applies to me). Let give an example, if I were to go on a 20 minute bus ride from aurora to Richmond Hill i would currently pay $4.50 . and the transfer expires only after 2 hours!!!! Which means that if you miss a bus you must pay again!!!. Finally id like to add that as of 2013 an extra 25 cents will be added. So ttc passengers I agree with many of your arguments but at least you can consider yourselves lucky in comparison to those north of you.
Kevin / July 5, 2013 at 04:40 pm
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The problem is the inefficient TTC bureaucracy, not government subsidies. The government doesn't exist to pay your ttc fares for you LOL! Fire all these under-performers and PRIVATIZE it!
soldes abercrombie and fitch / March 4, 2014 at 01:00 pm
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comme si quelqu'un l'attraper comme Cai Zhiyong levé son Fanpen crié:". Zhang soeur, et je l'ai terminé. "Qualités se sont tournés vers des
shopping blog / June 25, 2014 at 01:20 am
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Thanks for finally writing about >Is the TTC the
priciest transit system in North America?

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