The TTC might replace less popular bus routes with Uber
If you're unfamiliar with the term microtransit, you'll want to add it to your vernacular, because it may just be a part of your TTC commute in the very near future.
In order to receive the COVID-19 relief funding that Ontario has allocated for Toronto's public transit system, the city is being asked to swap out buses on less popular routes with alternatives — which include rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, to be subsidized by the government.
If anyone thinks privatizing transit saves money, please explain how. If you're sending public dollars to private companies to serve fewer people, instead of investing that same money to serve a larger population giving them more options, where are your savings?#topoli #onpoli— Asif Hossain (@asifintoronto) August 18, 2020
"Asking" in this case means that the province is making the use of such microtransit as an eligibility requirement for further emergency funding.
The city and surrounding area will also have to enter talks with Metrolinx about ways to integrate local transportation with the provincial agency and merge whatever services and structures possible to cut costs long-term as we slowly recover from the health crisis.
On-demand service is not transit. You have to plan your trip at least two hours in advance. If you can’t step out your door and step on a bus, you won’t use it.— Asher Mercer (@urban_asher) August 18, 2020
And given that the TTC was for months hemorrhaging money as a result of the pandemic and is now slated to receive the bulk of the first round of support — a staggering $404 million out of the $666 million Ontario is granting transit providers across the province this fall — it will have to concede to Doug Ford's terms.
A big problem is that Toronto has few "little used" routes, but can easily create some with service cuts.— Steve Munro (@SwanBoatSteve) August 18, 2020
Microtransit options from private transportation companies have been successfully employed in other, more rural parts of the province where running busses consistently for a small number of travelers is found to be extremely cost ineffective.
Yesterday, the #TTC got details of the first phase of emergency recovery funding. The downpayment of $404M AND the assurance of additional funds for lost revenue and COVID-specific costs later this year are a huge relief! Read CEO Rick Leary's note to staff below pic.twitter.com/BEjHdqy7Y8— TTCStuart (@TTCStuart) August 13, 2020
Officials such as Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca have expressed opposition to the idea, saying in a statement that the premier is "exploiting the pandemic by trying to force local communities to potentially privatize transit.”
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