Home > News Room > TEA in the News > TTC route changes 'war' on riders, group says - Toronto SUN

TTC route changes 'war' on riders, group says - Toronto SUN

November 24, 2011
Don Peat
City Hall Bureau Chief
Toronto SUN

TORONTO - Under fire for a list of bus and streetcar service reductions, the TTC’s top brass got a rough ride at a customer service town hall Thursday night.

A few hundred Red Rocket riders came to City Hall to tell the TTC what it could improve and where things have gone off the rails.

Several speakers at the town hall blasted TTC chairman Karen Stintz.

“I expect better from you,” one man shouted during his one-minute speaking time.

Chris Upfold, TTC chief customer service officer, vowed to respond to all complaints and questions raised at Thursday’s meeting.

The town hall came the same day TTCriders — a rider advocacy group — released a list of bus and streetcar routes that will be hit with longer wait times and more crowding when budget cuts take effect in January in a bid to save around $14 million.

TTC officials released the list a few hours later.

Some major bus routes that could be facing cuts include the 25 Don Mills, the 29 Dufferin and the 35 Jane. The 501 Queen streetcar would also see service reduced.

TTC chief general manager Gary Webster stressed Thursday night that the changes weren’t secret — commissioners approved rolling back service in September in a bid to come in with a 10% budget cut.

Along with the cuts, Webster added a 10 cent fare increase in 2012 is likely needed to meet that budget reduction.

“It looks like we are going to need a fare increase in December,” he told the crowd.

Earlier in the day, TTCriders spokesman Jamie Kirkpatrick stressed the service reductions will be miserable for commuters.

“It’s a war on transit users across the city,” Kirkpatrick said. “(Transit users) are doing our part, there are more of us than ever before, we’re paying 70% of the costs to run the system, and for a relatively small amount of the TTC’s budget we’re all going to be made to suffer next year.”

Stintz dismissed the suggestion commissioners could avoid a 10% reduction.

She pointed out the commission heard from riders loud and clear in February that they didn’t want entire routes cut.

If the TTC is going to keep all its routes, there will have to be service adjustments, she said.

“People may have to wait longer and they may not get a seat,” she said.

Councillor Joe Mihevc, the former TTC vice-chairman, said in 2012 riders will pay more, service will be less frequent and, if you can get on the bus, it will be more crowded.

“This is a toxic combination,” Mihevc said. “This is disastrous. This is a stake in the heart of Torontonians being mobile.”

As originally published here:

2011-11-24 TTC route changes 'war' on riders _Toronto SUN_.pdf17.43 KB