less packed in the New Year. Money from the latest TTC fare increase is being earmarked to reduce congestion.
Transit routes that just a month ago were threatened with closure will be safe and should even have increased service in the new year.
That was the message TTC Chair Adam Giambrone had for student politicians and the local community during a visit to the University of Toronto Scarborough campus on September 28.
The 54A Lawrence East and 131 Milner were just two of the many routes the TTC suggested may be closed or face service cuts in a series of early September announcements.
The increased service is the result of a fare increase on both tickets and Metropasses coming into effect November 1.
“We made an unusual decision to hike fares more than normal. We don’t have enough service and people are being left behind due to full buses,” Giambrone said. “Therefore, we went one step further and did a 15 cent fare increase instead of a normal 10 cent increase.”
The TTC is “pumping $20 million of the fare increase into increased service and 60 per cent of routes will have new buses put on them,” Giambrone said.
Jenna Hossack, a student and self-proclaimed “transit dork”, questioned that a fare increase would drive people away from the TTC and into their cars.
“Our estimates that keeping service the same with more riders crammed onto buses would cost us 20 million rides but the fare increase will cost us 5 million rides,” Giambrone answered.
Giambrone also outlined the TTC’s Transit City plan which would add two much-needed rapid transit lines to the Malvern community, one running along Sheppard Avenue to the Pickering border and the other coming across Kingston Road and up Morningside Avenue. The lines are expected to be opened by 2011 and would be feature transit only lanes equipped with new streetcars the city is buying.
The estimated $6 billion cost of the project will be entirely funded by the province according to Giambrone. The plan would also include an expansion of the Scarborough RT up to Sheppard with an additional four or five stops added to the line.
Hossack also asked Giambrone where the operational funding for the new transit lines would come from.
“60 and 100 milllion dollars of new subsidies will be needed to run the new lines,” Giambrone responded. “It would equal a 50 cent fare increase but a 100 million new people would be riding the system.”
Giambrone said it would never come to this and expected the province to step up and help with some of the funding.