Miranda Edwards tends bar at the 521 Bar and Lounge on Danforth Avenue. She finishes work after the subway has closed for the night. If the City of Toronto cancels TTC night buses, she has few alternatives.
“(I’d have to) spend more money on taxis or walking, which is unsafe for someone to do at three three in the morning,” she said. “I leave in a sketchy area at the moment so I like taking the bus at night and not having to walk through it.”
Toronto City Manager Joe Pennachetti’s report on Sept. 12 recommended cutting or reducing TTC services in order to reduce the city’s budget shortfall. He suggested cutting the Blue Night service or “or making it a premium service by raising fares,” according to his report.
Brad Ross, head of media relations for TTC, said 15,000 Torontonians use the after-hours bus service every night. He also said while it costs about $16 million annually to operate, it generates $4 million from in fares. Blue Night service operates along 24 routes around Toronto.
Edwards said she values the late buses to get home and doesn’t mind paying an extra fee if it means the service continues.
“If they raise the price a little bit for the night bus, I … understand,” Edward said.. “If they really are in debt that much money … then, yes, it is what they have to do, but cutting it out should not be in question.”
Jamie Kirkpatrick, Toronto Environmental Alliance public transit campaigner, believes that the Blue Night is an easy target for cuts or fare increases. He wants the TTC to solve its budgetary problems without affecting transit service for riders.
“It’s very much a vital service for those people that work late night shifts to early morning shifts, but there’s no reason that those people should have to pay twice the price to use the bus,” Kirkpatrick said. “They seem to be just picking this target because they can identify it as a specific service… If they don’t have these then there is no way for people with no cars to get around.”