TTC service cuts announced for 2012
Now that's timing! The TTC has announced sweeping service cuts to streetcar and bus routes for 2012 on the very day that it'll host its first ever customer service townhall meeting. Better find a few more chairs, folks — it could be a full house. The TTC's hand was likely forced on the announcement date when the information was disseminated to the press earlier today by a transit advocacy group affiliated with the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
The cuts have been on the horizon since September when the TTC revealed that one strategy to balance its reduced budget for 2012 was to alter its loading standards, which determine just how busy a vehicle must be before another one is put into service on a given route.
"At a time when TTC ridership is at a record high it is unbelievable that these cuts are being forced on the TTC," said Jamie Kirkpatrick, a spokesperson for TTCriders, the group that leaked the TTC's memo earlier today. "It makes me wonder whether Commissioners actually knew the severity of cuts that would be the result of budget decisions they made in September."
For their part the TTC believes that adjusted loading standards is a better way to go than a fare hike or the elimination of some routes all together. "The TTC looked at various options to reduce its operating expenses, including the staff reductions that were announced earlier this fall," reads a press release. "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."
All told there will be service cuts to 56 bus routes and six streetcars lines across the city. Changes go into affect on January 8th, 2012. Although wait times won't be drastically affected by the new loading standards — most of which reduce service between one and two minutes — it's an obvious step backwards for transit in Toronto, which has never seen higher ridership. Facing a Rob Ford-ordered budgetary decrease, however, something had to give on the TTC's end.
Anyone up for a 10 cent fare hike? Or is this the better way?
Photo by squalor lee in the blogTO Flickr pool
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