North Toronto TTC riders get advice for coping with service cuts

Geremi Sachs, 24, relies on the 103 Mt. Pleasant bus to take him to and from his job as a late-night barista at Starbucks in North York. Due to the recent route changes planned by the TTC, Sachs will soon have to find another way to get home after 10 p.m.

“I guess I should be angry,” Sachs said. “But when you come here and talk to these reps, you really get the feeling that there isn’t any other option. There’s just no money available to continue these routes.”

Sachs came to the North York Public Library tonight for the second of four planned public meetings with TTC officials to voice his concerns. Budget restraints mean service along several bus routes will have to be reallocated due to low ridership. It’s an issue that TTC representative Scott Haskill thinks all riders have the right to know.

“We’re here tonight to answer questions,” Haskill said. “However, we want our riders to know that if they’re concerned with these service cuts, they really need to talk to their local ward representative at City Hall.”

Coun. John Filion (Ward 23 Willowdale) made a brief appearance and took the time to speak with riders such as Sachs.

“He listened to everything I had to say,” Sachs said. “I told him that these are essential routes and people need them to get around. He listened and said the issue wasn’t over and that it would be addressed again at City Hall in the future.”

While Coun. Filion’s words were a relief to some, it was Brad Ross, the TTC’s director of communications, who seemed to offer the most tangible solutions for TTC riders affected by the cuts.

“The reason we’re all gathered here is to help our riders make sense of these changes,” Ross said. “We want to help them plan alternatives to best suit their daily commute.”

Ross and his staff walked riders through several detailed diagrams of the altered routes, using statistical ridership information to underline the reasoning behind service cuts.

The same instructional video screened last night at Metro Hall was on display tonight. It gave riders insight into the astronomical growth of ridership and how budget cuts are to blame for these service disruptions.

The next public meeting will take place Wednesday, Jan. 26, at the Scarborough Civic Centre, Rotunda, 150 Borough Drive.