TTC votes on revised plan to reduce service
Hours reduced on 41 routes
$4 mil to be reallocated to increase buses elsewhere
(Written Feb. 3 for Town Crier.)
The TTC voted late last night to cut off-peak service on 41 bus routes despite pleas from residents.
In January the commission proposed reducing service on 48 routes, but delayed a vote in order to get feedback from riders. The revised proposal, approved on Feb. 2, includes maintaining current service on seven routes and various reductions to 41 routes.
These routes were chosen as they fell below the TTC’s minimum ridership threshold of 15 riders per hour.
However, some disputed the commission’s numbers on specific routes.
Councillor Josh Matlow told the commission that he counted 95 people riding the 74 Mt. Pleasant bus between 7-9:30 p.m. one evening, 52 more than official TTC numbers indicate for that route at that time.
Mitch Stampler, TTC service planning manager, explained the commission employs 28 full time employees to do accurate ridership counts on all routes.
“It’s true there are some variations in ridership from day to day,” Stampler told the commission.
In the end service was cut on the 74 Mt. Pleasant bus after 7 p.m. seven days a week as recommended.
TTC chair Karen Stintz sympathized with those who asked for full service to remain on their buses, but said transit has to serve the greatest number of riders with the budget it has.
“There are compelling cases to (save) these routes but in so doing, we are not serving the greatest good,” she said during the debate.
East Yorker Christine Miller rides two of the reduced routes: 56 Leaside and 62 Mortimer.
She told the Town Crier she’s not impressed by the TTC’s decision.
“It’s ridiculous. They don’t care about people’s safety,” she said. “The alternative for me is the 25 Pape bus.”
That bus drops her off at a longer, darker walk home near an intersection where there have been assaults of female passengers leaving that bus, she said.
“If someone grabs me from behind, there’s only so much you can do to stop them,” Miller said, who works shift work as a security guard.
“I am thinking of giving up my Metropass and riding my bike and not riding the TTC until I have to,” she concluded.
TTC general manager Gary Webster reminded everyone the $4 million saved from cuts on these 41 routes will be spent to increase service on other as yet unspecified routes.
TTC commissioner Peter Milczyn stressed this point, “There is no budget cut here. The exact same amount of money is being spent now will be spent but in some cases elsewhere.”
The bus route reductions begin on May 8.