There is no question that the TTC needs additional funding to make up for the lost ridership since the pandemic, but there are other initiatives, in addition to funding, that can improve the system. Here are five:
Currently there is not enough revenue to support the existing system, let alone fund hefty wage increases. If the TTC should go on strike, the recent gains made in ridership will be in jeopardy.
Safety and Security
Although the number of security incidents is down, there is still a need to be vigilant about safety, particularly as the weather turns colder and people try to use the TTC for shelter. When ridership plummeted during the pandemic, the TTC allowed individuals to access the system as an alternative to the shelter, housing and support systems. Although it served a need, it is not a practice that can continue if the TTC is serious about getting ridership back.
Stop Fare Evasion
The last report on fare evasion in 2019 pegged the total lost revenue at $71 million because people weren’t paying their fare. Given how much the fare contributes to the sustainability of the system, the TTC can ill afford the lost revenue. The TTC has hired officers to ticket fare evaders, but that likely won’t make much of a difference. The London underground transit requires riders to tap in and out of the system so there are two checks to make sure individuals pay their fair share.
Add Zone Fares
The current system charges passengers $3.30 to ride the system, whether the trip is one kilometer or 20 kilometres. Moving to zone fares would mean that riders taking short trips would pay less.
Open the Eglinton LRT
An opening date for the LRT needs to be communicated to the public. Although transit projects are notoriously over budget and delayed, it is unacceptable that new timelines have not been announced for the Crosstown. Communicating the opening date and sticking to it will restore the confidence of the public that Metrolinx can deliver.
Karen Stintz is a former city councillor and was a chair of the TTC.