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Jarrek
2007-Jul-19, 15:38
Cuts, fare hikes menace TTC
TORY ZIMMERMAN / TORONTO STAR
The Red Rocket holds a special place in the hearts of many a Torontonian.

TTC told it has to chop $30 million from its budget for this year and another $100 million next year, Adam Giambrone says

Jul 19, 2007 03:10 PM
jim byers
city hall bureau chief

The Sheppard subway could be mothballed and Toronto Transit Commission riders hit with a 25-cent fare increase because of budget cuts at city hall, TTC chair Adam Giambrone said today.

"It's a dark day," Giambrone told the Star in a telephone interview. "But we have no choice. I can't print money."

Giambrone was briefed on the city's budget crisis today by city manager Shirley Hoy and said the TTC has to chop $30 million from its budget for this year and another $100 million next year. He's called an emergency commission meeting for 1 p.m. Friday to talk about how to cope, but he said he's calling for a number of critical moves that he admits will cause tremendous anger amongst transit users.

The Sheppard subway could be closed entirely by the end of this year or the beginning of next year, Giambrone said.

He also said the TTC likely will have to chop 21 surface routes, including the 26 Dupont, 67 Pharmacy and 120 Calvington routes. That will save one million dollars this year and $10 million next year, he said.

The commission had hoped to spend millions to improve service and ease overcrowding on the Yonge Street subway line, but that no longer will be possible.

City council on Monday voted to defer consideration of new taxes that would raise $356 million for the cash-strapped municipality next year. Mayor David Miller the next day said that means immediate moves are needed to contain costs. He warned some cuts might hurt, but there was no indication the damage would be so severe.

Giambrone said the TTC cuts aren't a public relations measure aimed at trying to get council to change its mind or convince the province to help the city.

"I can only provide service as to our budget," he said. "I can't have employees work for free." Giambrone said he warned councillors on Monday that major changes might be needed if new tax money wasn't forthcoming.

"There will be a lot of pain," he said. "This affects each and every Torontonian."

CliffColeclough
2007-Jul-19, 15:43
Maybe they could close it during off peak times, like they used with the University subway line. Mothballing it totally would be crazy.

MetroMan
2007-Jul-19, 15:48
Shut down the entire system and see massive protests leading to the province picking up the TTC as their service.

I'm pissed.. David Miller and Dalton McGuinty are both getting the finger at the next election.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-19, 15:49
Retarded ferries, cutting 22 lines...Giambrone sure is innovative!

They could cut from the social programs/housing/shelter budget...poor transit will hurt poor people a lot more. They could also suspend library renovations, reduce flower plantings in parks, etc. There's plenty to cut if they want to.

ITcomputer
2007-Jul-19, 15:50
Shut down the entire system and see massive protests leading to the province picking up the TTC as their service.

I'm pissed.. David Miller and Dalton McGuinty are both getting the finger at the next election.

I would include Stephen Harpon on that list.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-19, 15:50
Wow. Adam's off the deep end.

I just don't know what to make of it - there are supposed to be big improvements coming this fall to deal with oveecrowding, their budget set for this year. The TTC a few years ago during the dark Lastman days was making these kind of doom-and-gloom announcments reguarly, but really nothing happened, except deferred improvements. There's only so many times the TTC can be taken seriously on this especially when there's been so much buzz about transit in the past year or two.

ITcomputer
2007-Jul-19, 15:52
I can see that the Sheppard line was a great investment....

Maybe it's time to cancel the Greg Sorbara line, I'd love to whip that smug look of that idiot's face.

unimaginative2
2007-Jul-19, 15:58
Shut down the entire system and see massive protests leading to the province picking up the TTC as their service.

I'm pissed.. David Miller and Dalton McGuinty are both getting the finger at the next election.

Uh, yeah, that's a good idea... especially since David Miller wanted to avert these problems with his targeted taxes, and McGuinty gave him the right to enact them in the first place and is pouring billions into transit...

The TTC does this every single year. I may have been scared five years ago, but it's just gotten ridiculous now. No, they're not going to shut down the subway. No, they're not going to cancel all those routes. In fact, they're improving service on those routes, and note that they're not cancelling any of the service improvements. It's because none of this will happen. The mayor's just trying to embarrass councillors who opposed the new taxes and put more pressure on Queen's Park.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-19, 15:59
The Sheppard line was a good investment...it has generated thousands of new residential units, generating enough taxes to - should they be funneled to transit instead of being raked in by other levels of government - pay for finishing the line as intended.

notyouagain
2007-Jul-19, 16:01
I can see that the Sheppard line was a great investment....

Maybe it's time to cancel the Greg Sorbara line, I'd love to whip that smug look of that idiot's face.

Amen, brother.

ITcomputer
2007-Jul-19, 16:01
Uh, yeah, that's a good idea... especially since David Miller wanted to avert these problems with his targeted taxes, and McGuinty gave him the right to enact them in the first place and is pouring billions into transit...

The TTC does this every single year. I may have been scared five years ago, but it's just gotten ridiculous now. No, they're not going to shut down the subway. No, they're not going to cancel all those routes. In fact, they're improving service on those routes, and note that they're not cancelling any of the service improvements. It's because none of this will happen. The mayor's just trying to embarrass councillors who opposed the new taxes and put more pressure on Queen's Park.


I find it curious that they were no warnings of this during the debates and now all of a sudden it's crisis time.....

unimaginative2
2007-Jul-19, 16:04
You know, Toronto has got to be literally the only city in the entire world where people oppose subway lines and consider themselves transit supporters. It's just bizarre. Here's a newsflash. In cities with successful transit, transit supporters support transit.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-19, 16:07
If the line is closed the Sheppard East bus will instantly become the busiest surface route in the whole network, prompting people to demand they build subway to replace it.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-19, 16:10
A little harsh, Unimaginative.

You must admit that there are very valid criticisms of the Sorbara extension to Vaughan - I think most people that support transit yet do not support certain subway lines believe that there are more worthy projects.

I support the York U extension, with only a few caveats. I have become resigned to the Sorbara Line being built, but I am not happy about how that superceded more worthy projects - it was a very political decision.

brettrobinson
2007-Jul-19, 16:12
Smoke and mirrors. Bet we will be hearing a lot of this over the next while as city hall tries to make this 'a Provincial election' issue.

I had no issue with the tax thing, the only thing I wished they had done was had a broader plan instead of just two big cash cow taxes. Spread a little bit of tax out over many things and most people would barely have noticed.

AnarchoSocialist
2007-Jul-19, 16:19
What an absurd idea. Wasn't this idea suggested before? It seems familiar.

Not too take this too far off topic, though in a thread dealing with something so ridicuous that is hard not too do, I agree with Unimaginative that transit advocates are often counterproductive in their desire to promote transit. It is sometimes suprising how much time transit advocates argue among themselves. They probably don't really do much too hurt the cause because nobody outside of the little circles really pays attention to them anyways but it is too bad because it is a lot of wasted energy.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-19, 16:25
A little harsh, Unimaginative.

You must admit that there are very valid criticisms of the Sorbara extension to Vaughan - I think most people that support transit yet do not support certain subway lines believe that there are more worthy projects.

I support the York U extension, with only a few caveats. I have become resigned to the Sorbara Line being built, but I am not happy about how that superceded more worthy projects - it was a very political decision.

There's valid criticisms of every transit project. There may be nothing wrong with an extension serving 100,000 people per day that the city will basically get for free other than it wasn't at the top of the wish list.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-19, 16:26
I agree with Unimaginative that transit advocates are often counterproductive in their desire to promote transit.

To an extent, I agree with this. Witness Ottawa, where they derailed a flawed, but still serviceable LRT plan that would have been a great start to a bigger system. I think Blue 22 is a different story all together though (one project that Unimaginative uses to blast transit advocates opposing transit).

But couldn't you say this about environmentalists - they are notorious for fighting amongst themselves too. Anti-poverty and social activists too.

Some transit proposals are so bad, they deserve criticism though. Just because it's a transit plan doesn't mean it's good.

AnarchoSocialist
2007-Jul-19, 16:39
To an extent, I agree with this. Witness Ottawa, where they derailed a flawed, but still serviceable LRT plan that would have been a great start to a bigger system. I think Blue 22 is a different story all together though (one project that Unimaginative uses to blast transit advocates opposing transit).

But couldn't you say this about environmentalists - they are notorious for fighting amongst themselves too. Anti-poverty and social activists too.

Some transit proposals are so bad, they deserve criticism though. Just because it's a transit plan doesn't mean it's good.

I think the reference to other social activists is a good illustration of one of the problems with transit advocate groups. Yes, you do get silly infighting among social groups sometimes but a lot of social groups such as gay rights, environmentalists, human rights, etc, have also done a good job (somewhat stunted in recent years but growing again) at developing solidarity and building off each others strengths and helping each other out. Transit advocates are by and large an isolated group that really don't seem to be interested in forming links with rather obvious groups such as envirnomentalists or anti-poverty or seniors rights groups. They stay isolated and therefore stay irrelevant. And that is really too bad.

I agree Blue 22 was totally different. It was about a community group demanding that their needs and concerns, legitimately, be dealt with, and citizens at large who opposed the public money for private profit scam that is Blue 22. Very few complaints were/are against transit itself but rather the project itself.

Criticism and public inquiry is fine and desireable. But transit advocates really seem to keep repeating a pattern of self defeating behaviour. Ottawa is another case unto itself, but illustrative of what happens when competing groups who by and large have the same interests and desires in mind let self interest consume them all.

ITcomputer
2007-Jul-19, 16:41
The Sheppard line was a good investment...it has generated thousands of new residential units, generating enough taxes to - should they be funneled to transit instead of being raked in by other levels of government - pay for finishing the line as intended.

Sarcasm does not work well on MB's I see.

When I said the Shp line was a good investment I was referring to the fact that after building it and then the massive development that has occurred, the idea of closing it down is actually being floated..

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-19, 17:02
Sarcasm can work on the internet, but not when you couple it with a suggestion to cancel the Sorbara extension.

edit - In a way, part of Sheppard was mothballed before it opened...1/3 of each station is packed away behind walls for now.

Prometheus The Supremo
2007-Jul-19, 17:29
this has to be a scare tactic. they can't possibly be serious.

regardless, transit in this city is in serious financial trouble. when i heard fare hike & subway closure, i can also imagine that the accessibility plan will be delayed. 2035 anyone? :( wheeltrans will probably see cuts or no improvements.

it's kinda sad that the sheppard line, the only fully accessible subway line would have to be shut down.

does anyone have a full list of the bus routes that they are "proposing" to shut down?

GregWTravels
2007-Jul-19, 17:30
This whole crisis seems so manufactured. Unless I am unaware of some magic tax collection fairy at the city of Toronto's disposal, if the taxes had passed city council on Monday they wouldn't have had money in their hands right away. This is when I really hate politicians - when they start to play politics.

Chuck
2007-Jul-19, 18:29
Toronto is run by a bunch of fools. Privatize, de-unionize, contract out, and reduce the number of office jobs.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-19, 18:35
^ Just come back from a vacation in Sandy Springs, GA? :)

lordmandeep
2007-Jul-19, 19:34
however the TTC is run by a crazy union who will by themselves steal any new money the TTC ever gets by demanding higher pay and going on strike.


Someone needs to go after the unions in the city as they really are the ones that have caused this mess. The truth is the real cash crunch is not from service improvements but from raising wages. The city wanted to avoid strikes so they just agree to the unions and now are feeling the effects.

Unions are useless. Work was good at my Mom's work and Then they started a union and got maybe 2 dollars more an hour but 65% lost thier jobs in a year.

AnarchoSocialist
2007-Jul-19, 19:43
I think privatizing public transit would work fine, but, all freeways and highways should be privatized as well. Put everything into the market place and watch the magic unfold. I am sure everything would come out just super.

And while they are at they can cut government subsidies to the auto industry and oil companies as well. If TTC employees can be without social protection then I think companies can do the same.

lordmandeep
2007-Jul-19, 19:50
don't lecture me on the downfalls of the free market and privatization because i know them well. Don't assume i am some capitalist who thinks capitalism fixes everything.


Transit should not be privatized because really really they would cut most of the services and bus routes. That would lead to maybe better service but really it would be in certain areas.

I think they should stop giving pay increases when they have trouble meeting increasing service requirements. If i were the provincial govt, i wouldn't want to give money away to pay for the wages of city employees.

AnarchoSocialist
2007-Jul-19, 20:00
If your allowed to make sweeping, generalization of unions then surely I can make broad based statements on the pitfalls of capitalism.

Nor am I defending the TTC necessarily. But, bashing the unions and blaming them for all the TTC's faults is nonesense when the TTC is lead and managed by people who continue to say and do stupid things on a constant basis and demonstrate a complete lack of understanding about even the basics of running public transit services.

lordmandeep
2007-Jul-19, 20:05
and one of the very stupid things they did was to give pay increases when they had no extra money to give.

Pep'rJack
2007-Jul-19, 20:07
Unions are useless.

lordmandeep rocks - I want more lordmandeep!

Pep'rJack is having one of those moments when the entire globe seems even more uproariously mad than what is now casually accepted as 'the usual'. He is drunk and getting drunker, 'cause he no longer knows what else to do.

Absurdities upon absurdities. The city's financial situation is beyond farce now - I don't even know what to call this circus anymore. Everything is funny today.


The cycle goes on. We know we have an unfair fiscal relationship with the province. We know we should not be the sole funders of social services in the city. The province, the federal government know this. And while things have improved under McGuinty's reign as premier, not enough has been done to alleviate the stress placed on Toronto's finances.

And so it goes. 'Round & 'round & 'round... Let me off this fucking thing!

Completely crazy. A joke.

Save us, Jebus!

"Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?" (Obi-Wan Kenobi)

lordmandeep
2007-Jul-19, 20:16
the problem is more then the province not funding the city properly.

It also has to do with the city not spending wisely. I am not saying the city stop all funding to arts and culture and the homeless. They could however start at freezing pay increases for its employees. Getting rid of people they don't need and maybe have work done by someone else for a lower price. Who cares if it hurts the unions. The city does not serve this small group but the entire 2.5 million in the city.

I was very sympathetic to Miller and the city over it financial problems but the last week has really made me open my eyes.

unimaginative2
2007-Jul-19, 20:31
To an extent, I agree with this. Witness Ottawa, where they derailed a flawed, but still serviceable LRT plan that would have been a great start to a bigger system. I think Blue 22 is a different story all together though (one project that Unimaginative uses to blast transit advocates opposing transit).

But couldn't you say this about environmentalists - they are notorious for fighting amongst themselves too. Anti-poverty and social activists too.

Some transit proposals are so bad, they deserve criticism though. Just because it's a transit plan doesn't mean it's good.

For some reason, the word blast really made me chuckle. Maybe I was being a little harsh, but I still think it's very true, and your Ottawa LRT example is a perfect demonstration. Unfortunately, those transit activists were listened to and it totally derailed major transit improvements for years because it wasn't somebody's pet project.

I certainly have reservations about the York U subway north of Steeles, though all the new MoveOntario investments in the Highway 7 transitway and Viva should make it more than worthwhile. I still find it absurd that they're tunnelling through government-owned grassland.

It's so true about "progressives" fighting amongst themselves ultimately defeating their own interests. It's something of a relic of socialist-communist fights and even Trotskyite-Stalinist. Of course, I'd consider NDP-Liberal to be a case of self-defeating progressive infighting too...

I think that the biggest problem with transit "advocacy" in Ontario is that it's too tied up in transit "geekery." In most world cities, the transit advocates are riders who couldn't tell you a thing about the differences between a New Look and a Nova LFS other than which provides a better ride. Transit geeks, while dedicated (and it's a group that I would include myself in), tend to cheerlead the transit authority far too much, and base their decisions on personal fan favourites when it comes to vehicles or services. They also tend to be fiercely aggressive in defending the status quo. The Straphangers berate the MTA brass and vigorously point out underperforming routes. The Rocket Riders seem tickled pink every time a TTC employee comes to speak to them, and they've said absolutely nothing about the very poor service on downtown streetcar or some suburban bus routes, for example.

unimaginative2
2007-Jul-19, 20:39
this has to be a scare tactic. they can't possibly be serious.

regardless, transit in this city is in serious financial trouble. when i heard fare hike & subway closure, i can also imagine that the accessibility plan will be delayed. 2035 anyone? :( wheeltrans will probably see cuts or no improvements.

it's kinda sad that the sheppard line, the only fully accessible subway line would have to be shut down.

does anyone have a full list of the bus routes that they are "proposing" to shut down?

Don't worry, Prometheus. Nothing is going to be shut down, cancelled, or even postponed.

lordmandeep
2007-Jul-19, 20:44
two things will happen.

Nothing till October

Or they actually begin to solve thier problems

AnarchoSocialist
2007-Jul-19, 20:57
I think that the biggest problem with transit "advocacy" in Ontario is that it's too tied up in transit "geekery." In most world cities, the transit advocates are riders who couldn't tell you a thingabout the differences between a New Look and a Nova LFS other than which provides a better ride. Transit geeks, while dedicated (and it's a group that I would include myself in), tend to cheerlead the transit authority far too much, and base their decisions on personal fan favourites when it comes to vehicles or services. They also tend to be fiercely agressive in defending the status quo. The Straphangers berate the MTA brass and vigorously point out underperforming routes. The Rocket Riders seem tickled pink every time a TTC employee comes to speak to them, and they've said absolutely nothing about the very poor service on downtown streetcar or some suburban bus routes, for example.

I couldn't agree more. Not only do the various advocacy groups just fight and make petty remarks about each other but outside of the roomfull of people in each group no body really cares what they are talking about. Most people not only don't care what kind of vehicles are going to be used, they aren't likely to care whether it is a bus or streetcar or subway, so long as it is convenient and fast (an attitude best expressed on this forum by Scarberian). But since most groups don't talk about those issues often, if at all, they are of no use to the majority of transit users.

The only good side to it all is that they are irrelevant and have no impact on transit, good or bad, so no harm done I suppose.

Towered
2007-Jul-19, 21:01
I remember that a few years ago in a similar situation Howard Moscoe made an equally ridiculous threat to shut down the entire Spadina subway line. Nobody took that seriously, and I don't think they should this time either.

However, in the extremely unlikely event that Sheppard does get shut down for an indefinite period, that would be the golden opportunity to retrofit it into an LRT line without having to worry about inconveniencing anyone! :p

unimaginative2
2007-Jul-19, 21:02
But that's just it. They do have an impact. They played an extremely important role in the defeat of the O-Train in Ottawa.

Seriously, check out the Straphangers website (http://www.straphangers.org). I love The Pokeys and The Unreliables awards.

And then there's Steve Munro. I respect his analyis of route operations very much, and he does more for promoting more reliable service than any other group, though I take issue with his lack of concern for speed of service. I also respect his fight to retain streetcars back in the 70s. But in his latest blog post, where he calls the mothballing of the Sheppard Subway the "Silver lining" in all this, he really dives off the subway-bashing ideological deep end.

Pep'rJack
2007-Jul-19, 21:10
I think that the biggest problem with transit "advocacy" in Ontario is that it's too tied up in transit "geekery." In most world cities, the transit advocates are riders who couldn't tell you a thingabout the differences between a New Look and a Nova LFS other than which provides a better ride. Transit geeks, while dedicated (and it's a group that I would include myself in), tend to cheerlead the transit authority far too much, and base their decisions on personal fan favourites when it comes to vehicles or services. They also tend to be fiercely agressive in defending the status quo. The Straphangers berate the MTA brass and vigorously point out underperforming routes.

unimaginative2 speaks The Truth, penetratingly and concisely.

transit 'geeks': Read this post again.

Now... read it AGAIN.

Know this to be true, and unite with us 'Straphangers' in demanding basic and ludicrously overdue 'world city' transit for this town.

AnarchoSocialist
2007-Jul-19, 21:12
But that's just it. They do have an impact. They played an extremely important role in the defeat of the O-Train in Ottawa.

That is what I thought too at first but I think if you go back and look at what was said in the public (in newspapers, meetings, etc) you see that they really didn't play much of a part at all. Yes they got some coverage, but, the main reason the project was defeated was because most of the public questioned the downtown portion and didn't see the point in investing $800 million on a line that would face the exact same problems that buses do now on Albert and Slater. It was always an issue from the beginning and that combined with the nonesense of government funding being withdrawn and then resubmitted, but then not if they only proceeded with one part, was the death blow. Not only that but the whole debate was confused by the fact that almost no one knew what they were talking about.

I don't think you can really prove either view one way. I thought, and still do, think their ideas where idiotic, but I think their influence was rather minimal.

Edit: I think the reason it seems like they had an influence is because their ideas where no different then that of what you see people submitting to the Citizen editorial page. Ever since the stumpy line opened, and even before that, and still too this day, there are people writing in about using existing tracks, and doing it cheaply, and using the Gatineau rail bridge, and all the same things that Friends of the O-Train basically talked about.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-19, 21:44
However, in the extremely unlikely event that Sheppard does get shut down for an indefinite period, that would be the golden opportunity to retrofit it into an LRT line without having to worry about inconveniencing anyone! :p

Get that emoticon out of here! Your plan would inconvenience all of the riders. How can there be billions lying around to build that when there isn't millions lying around to run what we already have?

GovernorARNOLD
2007-Jul-19, 21:51
what will happen to City Park Place?

major blow to that project...

adma
2007-Jul-19, 22:36
Somehow, the potential loss of the Dupont bus rings more ominously than the loss of the Sheppard line (which'd be duplicated by surface routes, anyway).

All the more so since Dupont runs through Giambrone's ward...

Hydrogen
2007-Jul-19, 23:01
Pep'rJack is having one of those moments when the entire globe seems even more uproariously mad than what is now casually accepted as 'the usual'. He is drunk and getting drunker, 'cause he no longer knows what else to do.

You type awfully well for being drunk. My hat's off to you.


Don't worry, Prometheus. Nothing is going to be shut down, cancelled, or even postponed.

This issue is on the radar with all provincial parties and leaders; they are all mumbling about it in a confused manner. It is time to make them feel the heat. What Miller should do now is to publicise these cuts, focus on the responsibility of the provincial government in having to make those cuts, zero in on the inactivity of the provincial government to do what is necessary to mitigate the need for such cuts, and then the city should actually start to shut things down - right as the election begins! Just heap blame on the province and turn it into the election issue.

Extreme? Yes. But extreme times may call for extreme actions.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-19, 23:09
Somehow, the potential loss of the Dupont bus rings more ominously than the loss of the Sheppard line (which'd be duplicated by surface routes, anyway).

All the more so since Dupont runs through Giambrone's ward...

They seem to be equal as far as he's concerned. "You're losing a subway? So what? I'm losing a bus route!"

junctionist
2007-Jul-19, 23:19
It's hard not to think this is a scare tactic considering this time last year, the TTC decided to pay $100 million more for Canadian made subway cars, decided against cost cuts like automated trains. Other scare tactics- shutting down streets or maybe the Gardiner. Yes, that'll save plenty on maintenance and rebuilding costs.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-19, 23:22
Shutting down the Gardiner is the best counter-tactic to cancelling 21 bus routes and the Sheppard line I've heard. That'd get Two-Dollar-Ford on a rant to remember.

jeicow
2007-Jul-19, 23:30
This is pretty much another scare tatic before an election but meh, whatcha going to do? If the Tories play their cards right they could probably win some seats in Scarberia and Etobi but still, the election is a far time away. I love how Giambrone has been shoting his ward in the foot in the name of the TTC (the trees) and now cutting the TTC in it in the name of the city

If they were going to start cutting anything, wouldn't it be better to start closing subway stations that were underforming instead, so that they could cut the unneeded collectors/cleaners, and it would speed up the ride overall for most people. Stations that come to mind for sure include Old Mill, and Bessarion. while some other low riders like Glencairn could be cut too. It's not productive but it makes a hell of a lot more sense then closing an entire line.

I think the TTC could cut some fat in its own management line. The new 'escalator safety' signs on the subway are a complete and utter waste of time and money in my opinion. I think they should pretty much cut their entire legal/safety department because it's just a money hole that gives us nothing in return.

MisterF
2007-Jul-19, 23:35
Obviously this is all smoke and mirrors, but I can't believe that in this age of budget surpluses the city is still being expected to make cuts. I don't buy for a second that Toronto is any less efficient than any other municipality in Ontario. People blame unions and government employees, but every other municipality has the same unions and most of them aren't in a state of perpetual crisis. Ideas like suspending library loans and canceling flower planting are never seriously considered everywhere else. That's not to say the TTC couldn't make improvements, lots of them in fact. But for god's sake it's the most efficient transit system on the continent. How much more can we expect of them?

I don't think this is going to change. There's a serious anti-urban attitude in this country. I live an hour from Toronto and I routinely hear people put down the city and mention accepted "truisms" that aren't even close to accurate. As long as this type of attitude is common, funding will always be biased against Toronto, problems will be blamed on Toronto, and the city will have budget crisis after budget crisis while rural people smugly think it's all the city's fault.

Yeah I'm a rare small town resident who stands up for Toronto. It's an uphill battle.

jmacmillan
2007-Jul-19, 23:40
I'd like to see the Mayor take a full page in the Toronto Star and itemize exactly what he would cut. Then actually do it. No fuss. No whining. Just simply say that the city lacks the money. As the garbage piles up, as the buses become ever more crowded, just maybe the city will get the sustained funding it needs.

junctionist
2007-Jul-19, 23:50
I'd like to see the Mayor take a full page in the Toronto Star and itemize exactly what he would cut. Then actually do it. No fuss. No whining. Just simply say that the city lacks the money. As the garbage piles up, as the buses become ever more crowded, just maybe the city will get the sustained funding it needs.

Maybe it'll be like New York in the 1980s :eek:

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-19, 23:57
Ideas like suspending library loans and canceling flower planting are never seriously considered everywhere else. Yeah I'm a rare small town resident who stands up for Toronto. It's an uphill battle.

Of course, small towns don't have massive transit systems that they depend on. Given a choice between updating the 80s decor of my local library, planting a few shrubs in my local park, or keeping my local bus route, it's a no-brainer - I'll keep the bus route. Obviously, this type of either/or choice is unrealistic, but the point is that there's a ton of cuts that could and should be made before the TTC, *if* there is a real need to cut.

CDL.TO
2007-Jul-20, 00:55
Yeah I'm a rare small town resident who stands up for Toronto. It's an uphill battle.

Same here (though not for long). We should organise a conference for rural and small-town city defenders! Trade techniques and anecdotes. That guy from SSP from Chatham with the pathological hatred of Toronto could be the keynote speaker.

lokyin
2007-Jul-20, 02:40
i honestly wouldn't mind the sheppard subway mothballed if it is going to make headlines across the nation. if anything, it'd be nice to finally give the reality to the rest of canada that toronto is not the cash and resource eating monster that ottawa solely favors (which is what most of canada thinks.. yrs of living in BC tell me). if trading away a sheppard stub gets toronto a better rep and less hatred, and make ppl know we need money instead of paying out billions each year, then i'm sooo game.

Hydrogen
2007-Jul-20, 03:50
You've got your wish. From the National section of the Globe and Mail.
----------------------

Toronto threatens to shut Sheppard subway
JENNIFER LEWINGTON AND JEFF GRAY

From Friday's Globe and Mail
July 20, 2007 at 12:59 AM EDT

TORONTO — A shutdown of the Sheppard subway, a 25-cent fare increase for transit riders and reduced hours for libraries and community centres lead a list of cuts threatened yesterday for Toronto residents.

The potential cuts, which could kick in within weeks, are fallout from the defeat, for now, of Mayor David Miller's proposal for $350-million in new taxes.

The mayor denied the threat of reduced services amounts to a scare tactic. "We don't have the room to manoeuvre any more," he said.

Yesterday's political theatre seems designed to send a message to balky city councillors about what's at stake on Oct. 22, when Mr. Miller's two new taxes come back for a definitive vote, and to all three provincial parties who will be mining voter support in Toronto in the Oct. 10 election.

Critics on council denounced Mr. Miller's explanation.

"The responsible approach is not to make daily announcements of service-level Armageddon," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34 Don Valley East), who had led the charge to put off a decision on the tax proposals until fall. "Rather there needs to be a responsible, organized and intelligent approach to examining the cutbacks that are a priority in this difficult time."

Others, including Councillors Case Ootes (Ward 29 Toronto-Danforth) and Brian Ashton (Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest), who both voted against Mr. Miller, called for an emergency council meeting to discuss the pending cuts.

The Toronto Transit Commission will hold an emergency meeting today to consider a request from the city to slash $30-million from its $1.1-billion budget this year.

On the table are a possible fare increase, the closing of the Sheppard subway next January, as well as the cancellation of 21 bus routes and a promised new service to ease commuter overcrowding.

"This is extremely traumatic," said TTC chairman Adam Giambrone, who compared the coming slash in spending with deep cuts at the transit agency in the 1990s. "… As chair of the TTC, this is one of the darkest days we've seen in transit in over a decade."

Mr. Giambrone, a close ally of the mayor, acknowledged that the scale of the potential cuts surprised him as well as senior TTC officials: "The number … came as a shock, quite frankly," he said.

Meanwhile, other agencies and departments are under the gun to come up with their own significant savings, such as a ban on non-essential travel and a deeper hiring freeze (except for staff required under provincial legislation).

City manager Shirley Hoy is to meet today with heads of divisions to lay out the rules for making across-the-board cuts worth about $100-million by year end. City officials have authority to order a range of belt-tightening measures, she said, but only council can eliminate entire programs.

The $100-million in savings would be used to whittle down a budget shortfall of $575-million in 2008. Mr. Miller had assumed his new revenue measures, a new tax of up to 2 per cent on the purchase of a home and a $60 fee to register ownership of a motor vehicle, would generate about $350-million annually for the city.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Police Services Board has ordered a meeting next week to respond to the city's request to pare at least $10-million from its $785-million budget for 2007. City officials want all emergency services, police, fire and ambulance, to come up with "significant savings" worth a total of $30-million this year, board chairman Alok Mukherjee said.

"I know that we will have to make a very serious effort," he said. But he emphasized that the board is "absolutely committed" to maintaining the council-approved complement of 5,510 officers on the street.

Salaries and benefits account for 93 per cent of costs, leaving a fraction of the overall police budget from which to find immediate savings.

The sudden turn for the TTC, with an unprecedented increase in users and the promise of capital investment in light-rail services over the next decade, should not surprise anyone after council's vote this week, the mayor said.

"I was very clear," he told reporters, when asked to explain the TTC news. "I've been very clear for months.

"The city's financial position is unsustainable," he said. "Did we say this particular thing to the people of Toronto? No you're quite right, I didn't. But in very general terms, I laid out exactly the consequences."

One of the biggest pressures on city finances is the TTC, which accounts for 15 per cent of the city's $7.8-billion operating budget. Shutting the Sheppard subway, used by 40,000 people a day, would save $10-million in 2008, Mr. Giambrone said.

Shutting down the line would take until January, because its 140 unionized employees must be redeployed to replace other staff as they retire, Mr. Giambone said, adding that staff reductions would likely occur through attrition.

Bus service would replace the subway.

In effect, the TTC will be expected to manage in 2007 with the same level of subsidy, $272-million, that it received from the city this year, despite spiralling costs from more riders, rising fuel costs and automatic wage increases for unionized staff.

Hydrogen
2007-Jul-20, 03:54
Of course, the risk with shutting down a subway line and replacing it with buses makes the subway look unessential. Some people will then inevitably ask why the expensive subways should be running when they could be replaced by cheaper buses. Arguments as to the essential and important utility of the subway will then have to be repeated.

Such a strategy has a risk of backfiring.

Prometheus The Supremo
2007-Jul-20, 04:24
what effect does this have on transit city?

adma
2007-Jul-20, 08:10
Of course, small towns don't have massive transit systems that they depend on. Given a choice between updating the 80s decor of my local library, planting a few shrubs in my local park, or keeping my local bus route, it's a no-brainer - I'll keep the bus route. Obviously, this type of either/or choice is unrealistic, but the point is that there's a ton of cuts that could and should be made before the TTC, *if* there is a real need to cut.
Well, as far as "updating decor" superfluity goes, one scheme for saving municipal money is to put off the Nathan Philips Square renos...

drum118
2007-Jul-20, 08:15
It's hard not to think this is a scare tactic considering this time last year, the TTC decided to pay $100 million more for Canadian made subway cars, decided against cost cuts like automated trains. Other scare tactics- shutting down streets or maybe the Gardiner. Yes, that'll save plenty on maintenance and rebuilding costs.

The so call Canadian train is "NOT" being built in Canada, but in the US with parts coming from around the world.

The finally assembly will take place in Thunderbay and will represent less than 20% of the total contract.

Geee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what a surprise. So much for buy Canada.

Fear Its fear and look for the fare hike in September.

TTC has 15% waste within itself that it needs to deal with before asking riders to pay more or cut service.

Hipster Duck
2007-Jul-20, 09:05
Of course, the risk with shutting down a subway line and replacing it with buses makes the subway look unessential. Some people will then inevitably ask why the expensive subways should be running when they could be replaced by cheaper buses. Arguments as to the essential and important utility of the subway will then have to be repeated.

Such a strategy has a risk of backfiring.

I doubt this will be the case. The Sheppard subway offers a service level that few surface transit lines could achieve. If they were to duplicate this service with buses they would have to run them at higher than Dufferin or Finch east frequencies and the route would be agonizingly slow.

I hate how Miller and Giambrone have hijacked our city with these empty threats. If they want to make headlines and goad the provincial and federal governments into paying up, the only thing they are doing a very good job at is making enemies - both higher governments and city voters - out of their arrogance. The GTA just got a $17.5 billion transit expansion promise a month and a half ago. If they really want the money, all they have to do is ask.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-20, 09:16
I sent around emails - one specifically to Giambrone, and another to the Commissioners with CCs to Miller and my councillor. I was civil, even polite, but I let my anger show. I hate how transit riders are the first in line to be given the shaft, and this hasn't changed with Giambrone/Miller.

I doubt it would help much.

I would reluctantly support a fare increase (even phased in - 10 cent more for tickets/$5 more for a Metropass now, another one in early 2008) if it would stop the loss of recent momentum. Even if no routes are cut, the possibility of cancelled route improvements (when some of the busiest line-haul routes are already behind on capacity and have closed-doors on weekends even) would be a huge setback and completely regressive, especially in the parts of the city outside the central core.

AlvinofDiaspar
2007-Jul-20, 10:06
I wonder how much additional money TTC would receive if they can get rid of the weekly Metropass - which has been proven to boost ridership but not revenue.

re: Sheppard

Apparently, according to the conversation in Steve Munro's blog, a special development charge for the subway line was recinded for properties in the area during the Lastman era.

AoD

CliffColeclough
2007-Jul-20, 10:19
So glad our 'great' mayor finally got called out

Oh for christsake. David Miller is acting like a petulant child who didn't get what he wanted. "Daddy, buy me the teddy bear or I will run away from home!" is all I'm seeing here. Shall we have tiny, reasonable, measured service cuts to all departments (2-3%?), or should we shut down the subway and cause chaos? Well, shutting down the Sheppard line will get his-royal-blondness the most publicity, so I guess that's just the way it's going to have to be. Funny thing is, usually when daddy says "fine" at the threat and call's his 3 year-olds bluff, the cute little teddy-bear less child will more often then not eventually learn their lesson and stop crying (no running away necessary). My dear citizens, next time you hear HRB threatening to shut down the TTC, or cancel garbage pick up and declare Dundas Square our new landfill to save on transportation fuel, or even shut down drinking water treatment plants and tell people we're going to have to get it in buckets from Lake Ontario, just picture him in a diaper and ignore it. I guarantee his little tantrum will blow over soon enough and life will go on as usual around here. You probably won't even notice that required 2% cut in services, maybe libraries will switch to 1ply toilet paper or something.

AlvinofDiaspar
2007-Jul-20, 10:26
Hipster:


The GTA just got a $17.5 billion transit expansion promise a month and a half ago. If they really want the money, all they have to do is ask.

That's potential capital funding, not actual operating funding - which the province has been mightily reluctant to get back into for a reason.

AoD

ITcomputer
2007-Jul-20, 10:26
So glad our 'great' mayor finally got called out

Oh for christsake. David Miller is acting like a petulant child who didn't get what he wanted. "Daddy, buy me the teddy bear or I will run away from home!" is all I'm seeing here. Shall we have tiny, reasonable, measured service cuts to all departments (2-3%?), or should we shut down the subway and cause chaos? Well, shutting down the Sheppard line will get his-royal-blondness the most publicity, so I guess that's just the way it's going to have to be. Funny thing is, usually when daddy says "fine" at the threat and call's his 3 year-olds bluff, the cute little teddy-bear less child will more often then not eventually learn their lesson and stop crying (no running away necessary). My dear citizens, next time you hear HRB threatening to shut down the TTC, or cancel garbage pick up and declare Dundas Square our new landfill to save on transportation fuel, or even shut down drinking water treatment plants and tell people we're going to have to get it in buckets from Lake Ontario, just picture him in a diaper and ignore it. I guarantee his little tantrum will blow over soon enough and life will go on as usual around here. You probably won't even notice that required 2% cut in services, maybe libraries will switch to 1ply toilet paper or something.


Yes, I can't see the city shutting down a subway that cost almost a billion to build. Especially after the development that is going on and continues. I would imagine that no amount of buses would be able to handle the volume. I know Dufferin has a daily capacity of 37000 riders, the Sheppard subway is over 40000? If you know dufferin there are buses almost every 2 minutes during peak times (packed).

GregWTravels
2007-Jul-20, 11:32
Is anybody else wondering if this might not be the kind of thing that would make Queen's Park take over the TTC and hand it to the GTTA to run?

notyouagain
2007-Jul-20, 11:34
This issue is on the radar with all provincial parties and leaders; they are all mumbling about it in a confused manner. It is time to make them feel the heat. What Miller should do now is to publicise these cuts, focus on the responsibility of the provincial government in having to make those cuts, zero in on the inactivity of the provincial government to do what is necessary to mitigate the need for such cuts, and then the city should actually start to shut things down - right as the election begins! Just heap blame on the province and turn it into the election issue.

Extreme? Yes. But extreme times may call for extreme actions.

I agree. Miller has tried dealing with the province in a rational, mature fashion. What has he recived in return for his efforts? Has the province paid its legally mandated share of social services? No. Has it uploaded social services? No. Instead, they shoved a subway to Vaughan down our throats. It's a sad indictment of Canadian politics, but I'm afraid that only a crisis timed to coincide with an election will ensure that a long-term solution will emerge.

BobBob
2007-Jul-20, 11:35
The TTC takes up 15% of the city's budget. Doesn't police amount to something like 50%? Nobody ever talks about cuts / efficiencies in that department...

AlvinofDiaspar
2007-Jul-20, 11:39
Is anybody else wondering if this might not be the kind of thing that would make Queen's Park take over the TTC and hand it to the GTTA to run?

That has the potential to be the best thing since sliced bread, but also an unmitigated disaster - just imagine the scenario whereby the city is forced to shoulder the majority of the cost without a majority on the board.

AoD

notyouagain
2007-Jul-20, 11:40
The police budget makes up less than 9.75% of the operating budget.

Junglab
2007-Jul-20, 12:01
The planned deferal of the 2 taxes, totalling $350 million in projected revenues, to October 22nd almost certainly means that they can't be allocated to the 2008 budget (the first few months at least) should they be approved at the council meeting on that date. The newspapers have consistently reported the resulting loss of revenue to be $100 million, give or take a few bills. Thus, even if council eventually decides to impliment the taxes, the city will be $100 million short. This discrepancy has to be dealt with.
Now, of a total city budget of $7.8 billion, only $1.4 is available to the city for discretionary spending/cuts - the remainder constitues provinically mandates services and their administration (welfare, drug plan, etc).
Of this $1.4 billion, emergency services and transit consititute the vast majority of spending. Moreover, these have, by far, been the fastest growing departments both in terms of staffing and costs. That means that any cuts are going to affect these services proportionately. Today, we have heard that of the projected $100 million discrepancy, $30 million will derive from cuts/fare increases at the TTC, another $30 million will come from police, fire, and other emergency services, and another ~$40 million will likely come from pool closures, cutbacks at libraries and community centres, and program termination. And please note the important difference between operating and capital budgets - Transit City et al don't make an iota of difference to the operating budget's bottom line.
With respect to the TTC, its cost recovery ratio is already higher than most transit services - the only fat to cut are the most egregiously money-losing routes; at this point, it's all about the cost recovery of individual routes. Unfortunately, Sheppard ranks quite high on this list, given the premium service levels it provides it's (relatively) few riders, over its (relatively) short length. Sheppard is an inordinately expensive route to run - it is STILL nowhere near capacity, even at 4 (vs. the usual 6) cars, and provides very frequent service for its usage. Moreover, the subway requires large amounts of energy (the costs of which are going up), including lights, ventilation, AC, and power. Finally, some 114 employees work this line, making an average of $75,000 each per year. Despite all the dreaming and yearning of some on this forum, a subway line with lower usage than the Dufferin bus is not tenable in this period of crisis.
Quite frankly, I know of few routes in the entire TTC system the closure of which would net the system so much money.

Adma - the Nathan Philips Square reno has, indeed, been deferred, according to the latest news.

notyouagain
2007-Jul-20, 12:08
I sent around emails - one specifically to Giambrone, and another to the Commissioners with CCs to Miller and my councillor. I was civil, even polite, but I let my anger show. I hate how transit riders are the first in line to be given the shaft, and this hasn't changed with Giambrone/Miller.

I doubt it would help much.

Why don't you e-mail your MPP and the premiere, that's where the solution lies. I did.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-20, 12:13
Only so much time to go around.

I wrote my MP back in May about the CRTC - I haven't heard back. I called the constituency office a month later, and told that Mr. Dryden likes to respond to his correspondance personally. I am now reminded of Ringo Starr in that Simpsons episode, as I have yet to hear back.

Trust me, I am writing my Liberal MPP (a senior cabinet minister) as well. I don't expect much from him - my riding is pretty safe Liberal anyway.

ITcomputer
2007-Jul-20, 12:35
Only so much time to go around.

I wrote my MP back in May about the CRTC - I haven't heard back. I called the constituency office a month later, and told that Mr. Dryden likes to respond to his correspondance personally. I am now reminded of Ringo Starr in that Simpsons episode, as I have yet to hear back.



Maybe you should paint a nice portrait of him, and then he can tell you that fries are called chips in England...

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-20, 13:03
I know Dufferin has a daily capacity of 37000 riders, the Sheppard subway is over 40000? If you know dufferin there are buses almost every 2 minutes during peak times (packed).

Sheppard would be much busier than Dufferin because Dufferin goes north and south of the Bloor subway, effectively "doubling" the route and splitting ridership to a degree, and Dufferin also sees more random shorter trips. Sheppard, however, sees masive rush hour crowds all going in one direction - one reason the subway was built in the first place was because of how awful the bus was, largely due to how gridlocked Sheppard can be. E/W arterials in the area have been relieved by the 407 in recent years, but as York and Durham and even the rest of Scarborough develop, they are filling up again with traffic.

Sheppard would look like the Spadina streetcar, except instead of going 2 or 3 km, its riders are going 8 or 12km.


That's potential capital funding, not actual operating funding - which the province has been mightily reluctant to get back into for a reason.

At the end of the day, money is money.

roch5220
2007-Jul-20, 13:07
More money should be generated by fares. Here we go again, why not fare by distance, with fares ranging from 2-5 dollars. Flat fee arrangements do not work with such a large system. Imagine GO fares being a flat $3.

AlvinofDiaspar
2007-Jul-20, 13:21
scarberian:


At the end of the day, money is money.

Err, no. You can't shove money provided by a senior level of govenment for a specific purpose (e.g. capital expenditure) and use it for other things. At best, it may allow you to reduce the city's own portion, if any, of such expenditure and in the processing raising the ire of the province (which could jeopordize future funding); worst, it can violate any MOUs or agreements and be constructed as a breach of contract. In the world of the govenment, money is definitely NOT money.

AoD

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-20, 14:11
It could be if the politics of 3 bickering levels of government weren't involved. Useless democracy.

GregWTravels
2007-Jul-20, 14:16
Oh, EXPERTS from the Provincial government! That'll help :rolleyes:

Ontario offers advice, not cash to strapped cities
Last Updated: Friday, July 20, 2007 | 1:00 PM ET
The Canadian Press
Ontario's finance minister is throwing struggling municipalities a lifeline — but not in the form of a cheque.

Greg Sorbara says the province would be happy to help cities like Toronto that are struggling with budget deficits or considering hefty tax hikes to balance their books.

He says the province can send in experts to take a look at the books of strapped municipalities, or agencies like the Toronto Transit Commission, and help find savings.

The commission is meeting Friday to consider drastic service cuts due to funding shortfalls.

Sorbara told reporters on Friday that he's not going to be signing any cheques or remove any financial responsibility to help bail out municipalities.

New Democrat Paul Ferreira says offering experts is a patronizing response to the crisis municipalities find themselves in.

He says the Liberal government should take back responsibility for provincial programs like disability support, which is funded from the property tax base.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-20, 14:21
Sorbara is an idiot. Sending in experts is a nice diversion, and won't report back, of course, until the election is over.

The problem is downloading and the province not paying the Ontario Health and Drug Plans that it is supposed to. Way to go!

unimaginative2
2007-Jul-20, 14:50
I agree. Miller has tried dealing with the province in a rational, mature fashion. What has he recived in return for his efforts? Has the province paid its legally mandated share of social services? No. Has it uploaded social services? No. Instead, they shoved a subway to Vaughan down our throats. It's a sad indictment of Canadian politics, but I'm afraid that only a crisis timed to coincide with an election will ensure that a long-term solution will emerge.

Nothing at all, except billions in gas tax, a $17.5 billion transit commitment, millions in annual special funding just for Toronto, millions for the waterfront, and most of all, vast special powers which are exactly what Miller was asking for. Once again, Toronto is literally the only city in the world where a commitment to fully fund a major subway expansion in our city brings out denunciation from so-called transit "supporters."

Edward Skira
2007-Jul-20, 14:57
So if they announced a subway to Peterborough we would have to be happy? Why not let the TTC decide where subways should go? Having said that I'm fine with the subway to York U. Beyond that not so happy.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-20, 15:09
I went for the first hour of the meeting before having to go back to work. Sat three seats in the row from that asshat Kinnear (didn't hear what he had to say, but I think he's on our side this time for fighting against service cuts - his motivation though would be to protect ATU 113 members and increase membership).

Here's the list of 21 routes:
160 Bathurst North
49 Bloor West
8 Broadview
120 Calvington
127 Davenport
26 Dupont
139 Finch East (Don Mills)
33 Forest Hill
14 Glencarin
169 Huntingwood
503 Kingston Road Tripper
162 Lawrence-Donway
30 Lambton
132 Milner
62 Mortimer
74 Mt. Pleasant
67 Pharmacy
167 Pharmacy North
115 Silver Hills
10 Van Horne
97 Yonge

Cutting these routes all together would save only $1 Million this year, $10 Million in 2008.

Other route would have cuts based on time of day (see more evening/weekend service cuts) or by route segments (entirely or off-peak).

A 10 cent fare increase ($5 Metropass) for September would net $7 Million of the $10 Million supposedly required for this year. That, and some "internal efficiencies", I hope, would be enough for this year. The problem is next year, where they need $100 Million in cuts - a 10 cent fare increase would raise about $20 Million of that without service cuts in 2008.

It's bad, but Giambrone was a dooming-and-glooming a bit much (I have the feeling Sheppard will not be closed). But service cuts or not implementing planned service increases will both be terrible precedents.

unimaginative2
2007-Jul-20, 15:17
So if they announced a subway to Peterborough we would have to be happy? Why not let the TTC decide where subways should go? Having said that I'm fine with the subway to York U. Beyond that not so happy.

The TTC did support it. The York U extension has always been their top priority, going right back to the Rapid Transit Expansion Plan days. I completely agree that the Vaughan extension is questionable if it isn't combined with immediate intensive redevelopment, but that segment isn't costing the city a dime. In fact, it's saving the city money since it's drawing York into making a bigger contribution (or at least it was before the province committed to paying the entire municipal amount).

MisterF
2007-Jul-20, 15:26
Once again, Toronto is literally the only city in the world where a commitment to fully fund a major subway expansion in our city brings out denunciation from so-called transit "supporters."
Somehow I doubt that.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-20, 15:29
Once again, Toronto is literally the only city in the world where a commitment to fully fund a major subway expansion in our city brings out denunciation from so-called transit "supporters."

Somebody's never heard of the Bus Riders' Union in LA.

Pep'rJack
2007-Jul-20, 15:30
"Greg Sorbara says the province would be happy to help cities like Toronto that are struggling with budget deficits or considering hefty tax hikes to balance their books. He says the province can send in experts to take a look at the books of strapped municipalities, or agencies like the Toronto Transit Commission, and help find savings."

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e391/HawkHunter1/outrage-ami150.gif

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-20, 15:33
While the sinkhole extension may not be the best place to put a subway right now, that doesn't automatically make it bad.

fiendishlibrarian
2007-Jul-20, 15:43
http://www.cleavelin.net/archives001/lampoon_national_killdog.jpg

Hydrogen
2007-Jul-20, 16:55
Killing a subway line does not make for a good argument in support of subways.

Build the line to York - and to the burbs. Make them depend on the subway. Argue that the Sheppard line is incomplete and needs to be finshed to increase ridership on it (mothballing subway lines reduces ridership on them - it's a fact). Actively plan and promote a new east-west line and galvanize public support for it by pointing out its essential qualities and how such a line is necessary to keeping Toronto up to date in the important world of public transit.

We have to start fighting for things, and not against them.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-20, 18:51
Killing a subway line does not make for a good argument in support of subways.

Since government money is government money, it's unlikely that the government would allow the TTC to wither and perish right after announcing a multi-billion dollar expansion plan.

Chuck
2007-Jul-20, 18:59
Is anyone else wondering why the TTC automatically equates cost savings with cutbacks in service and fare increases? Why is the TTC not considering layoffs at head office? Salary caps? Performance based pay increases?

Here's another idea. Start contracting out all janitorial, landscaping, construction, and property maintenance jobs to companies that specialize in those areas. YRT has had great success entering into a PPP. At most, the TTC itself should be directly responsible for nothing other than drivers, vehicle maintenance, and service planning. While its individual routes may be fairly profitable, the rest of the TTC is inefficient as ever. Shrinking its size is a great way to address budgetary issues.

Hipster Duck
2007-Jul-20, 20:03
I wouldn't mind if this city went into serious debt financing the expansion and maintenance of its transit system. After all, these are infrastructure assets that might lead to innumerable economic benefits down the road. No matter what happens, we are the centre of a city region of 7.5 million people (bigger than that real financial sinkhole, Quebec) with a $300 billion economy. We're also growing by a burgeoning 100,000 people every year. We can either leave future generations with a huge debt or a horribly undesirable city. If I had a choice, I would pick the former. Let's borrow and spend like drunken sailors, or at least like Berlin.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Jul-20, 20:30
Whether we do it or the feds/province do/es, the taxes come out of the same pockets...it doesn't matter who does it as long as it gets done.

simply Dan
2007-Jul-20, 20:56
Let's borrow and spend like drunken sailors, or at least like Berlin.

Germany is very rich and can afford Berlin. Well, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich can pay for Berlin and the East.

Canada is also very wealthy, and can afford Quebec. ...or, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver can afford Quebec. How embarrassing for Quebec!

ShonTron
2007-Jul-20, 21:33
Arrgh!

I'm trying to check all possible media sources - Star, 680, Steve Munro, and no one yet is saying what the outcome is.

So far, I got a form reply from Giambrone (saying nothing really) and more personal replies from my councillor - I have been trying to push and prod her a bit after she voted to defer the taxes.

My MPP is going to get a nice e-can of whoop ass when I set my teeth into him.

Edit: Steve Munro just reported on the decisions made. (http://www.stevemunro.ca/?p=458)

"The TTC voted today to defer service improvements planned for September including the opening of Mt. Dennis bus garage, to get a pile of additional information, and to launch a series of community meetings to discuss service proposals."

doady
2007-Jul-20, 22:49
Adam Giabrone is just anti-subway. He's just looking for any excuse to shut down the Sheppard subway to promote LRT and Transit City.

The Sheppard subway loses $10 million per year, which is around the same as the Spadina streetcar, the model for Transit City. Both the Spadina streetcar and the Sheppard subway are around the same length and ridership as well. Maybe the Spadina streetcar should also be cancelled?

ShonTron
2007-Jul-20, 23:16
Adam Giambrone is not anti-subway. That said, this whole issue is largely thanks to Miller's very bad performance recently - he has not communicated the need for the new taxes properly, and then blames council for choosing to defer the decision to implement them. He immediately targets areas such as the TTC, and says that the councillors knew this was the result.

He should have been up front, pushing this. I think a few of the left-leaning "mushy" types - Ashton, Augimeri, DeBaeremaeker, Perruzza, to name a few would have gone the other way if the issues were more clear.

AnarchoSocialist
2007-Jul-21, 00:10
Canada is also very wealthy, and can afford Quebec. ...or, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver can afford Quebec. How embarrassing for Quebec!

Here here! Thanks for your money Toronto! Not only are you subsidizing my cheap rent while you contemplate closing your subway, but you keep electing politicians who stop Quebec from seperating and thus getting rid of one 'have not' province and maybe saving enough money to keep your transit services going. And you don't even bother trying to take any of the hot french canadian girls to try to make up for some of your loses.

Yes. How embarassing for Quebec. How embarassing for all of Canada. How I can only hope a constitutional clusterfuck lead by Quebecois nationalist and Toronto provincialists comes very, very soon to shake some sense into people, or at the very least make things a little more interesting.

How I long for the days when politicians took three month summer vacations and at least gave Canadians some time where we didn't have to deal with all their bullshit. Where are the corrupt and inept Chretien Liberals when you really need them.

theman23
2007-Jul-21, 00:50
however the TTC is run by a crazy union who will by themselves steal any new money the TTC ever gets by demanding higher pay and going on strike.


Someone needs to go after the unions in the city as they really are the ones that have caused this mess. The truth is the real cash crunch is not from service improvements but from raising wages. The city wanted to avoid strikes so they just agree to the unions and now are feeling the effects.

Unions are useless. Work was good at my Mom's work and Then they started a union and got maybe 2 dollars more an hour but 65% lost thier jobs in a year.

TTC operators are paid pretty much the same as operators in Calgary or Vancouver, and there is still a shortage of bus drivers that we have to worry about. Same goes with Toronto police. You have to be more specific than just blame the unions. Exactly what jobs are you talking about that are over paid?

Chuck
2007-Jul-21, 12:05
Exactly what jobs are you talking about that are over paid?

It's not that they're overpaid, however the following workers, who have nothing to do with the transit system itself, are all on the TTC's massively bloated payroll: janitors, cleaning staff, landscapers, marketing, advertising, zillions of construction workers, electricians, special constables...you name it, the TTC hires it.

Contract all this work out for a lower price, and let the TTC focus on what it (arguably) does best: operating transit vehicles. If unions actually are a problem, it's better to employ 2000 unionized workers than 20,000.

MisterF
2007-Jul-21, 13:41
How do you know that those positions are overpaid? How do you know how they compare to the private sector? You seem to be assuming that contracting out their jobs to for-profit companies would actually reduce costs but you have nothing to back that up.

The efficiency of the TTC isn't the problem here.

Blovertis
2007-Jul-21, 18:00
Miller richly deserved this defeat. He's known for years the city was in dire financial straits, but did you hear him campaigning for these taxes in November? That election was only eight months ago.

Remember, he faced extremely weak opposition in Jane Pitfield and Stephen LeDrew. He could have gone to the people with some specific plans to reinvest in the city and some straight talk about the sacrifices that would be required -- and he still would have won, maybe not with a huge majority but with a healthy majority.

But he is so risk averse that he couldn't bring himself to spend the "political capital" he had amassed at a time when it would have done the city real good.

syn
2007-Jul-23, 13:41
Wouldn't now be the perfect time for the TTC to re-introduce zone fares? Wouldn't this net them a lot more money?

doady
2007-Jul-23, 14:46
Maybe the TTC should stop giving away transfers too.

JasonParis
2007-Jul-23, 17:15
But he is so risk averse that he couldn't bring himself to spend the "political capital" he had amassed at a time when it would have done the city real good.
I still like Miller, but he's starting to remind me of Paul Martin and that's not a good thing!

Observer Walt
2007-Jul-23, 19:24
^ Very well taken point. Martin was afraid to take a stand on almost anything and came across as wishy-washy to the extreme. Who knows what he really stood for, after he was through trying to be all things to all people? Miller runs a real risk of going the same route.

Miller really needs to step up aggressively, in advance of the coming provincial campaign, and put McGuinty's and Tory's feet to the fire. (Maybe Harper and Dion as well, but that's not so urgent at the moment.) What will they do for the cities? What reaponsibilities if any are they prepared to upload back to the senior levels of govt., or what revenues are they prepared to download?

So far, about all we've seen from Miller is "one cent of the GST", an idea which was doomed from birth, and he knew it. What kind of a politician sets himself up for failure like that?

AlvinofDiaspar
2007-Jul-23, 20:25
The problem is that municipal issues by and large doesn't "stick" to politicians in the senior levels of govenment. For all the "New Deal for the Communities *ahem* City", at the end of the day, it isn't what getting them elected.

So yes, Miller can expend political capital and supposedly holds them to "the fire", with what? Press releases? Circus antics? And what fire? Unless he is willing to break the law and unleash some really unpleasant confrontations, there is really little to turn this into a front page news that sticks. People by and large doesn't care about details - which is exactly where the Greg Sobara "we are giving x million dollars more than the previous government" soundbite comes in. Not to mention, without the other big 4 taking part in this scheme, it'd be far too easy to dismiss this as a Toronto cry-baby antic.

Breaking the laws is exactly how it should be done - controversize the issue as much as one can, frame himself as a "tragic hero", rally the citizens, giving the senior levels of govenment a hot potato that glows like plutonium - like honestly, what are they going to do to the mayor of a city with 2 million people? Arrest him?

AoD

JasonParis
2007-Jul-23, 20:33
there is really little to turn this into a front page news that sticks.
Which is where I think the sentiment for a "general strike" comes from. Toronto's infrastrucutre and city governance has been languishing since 1995 and operating from crisis-to-crisis. Despite much talk, 12 years later and nothing has really changed. Moreover, there's no sign of anything changing. Maybe it is time to get creative with our response to this. If not a strike, then something else to make this "stick."

AlvinofDiaspar
2007-Jul-23, 20:41
Darkstar:

I have a feeling this one has to be started by the citizens - with the mayor taking advantage of the situation as a rallying cry. That said, it will be very difficult to achieve anything if half of the city think everything is a-ok, and that all the problems has to do with waste only (and you can hear the senior levels of government "activating" this line of thought to deflect criticisms ALL the time).

AoD

AlvinofDiaspar
2007-Jul-23, 20:54
The other thing that really riles me is how none of the Toronto area MPs had to answer for all these municipal issues - like honestly, are they mute or something?

AoD

JasonParis
2007-Jul-23, 20:56
Oh I agree, but even if Toronto's government were wasteful and even if our workers were overpayed, it still wouldn't even begin to address the constant budgetary problems Toronto has. Yet, the media never seems to ask why.

JasonParis
2007-Jul-23, 20:58
"Uploading" should be the magic word in the coming provincial election in this city, but I fear it won't. My opinion is that if you aren't supporting the uploading of historically administered services, then you shouldn't get Toronto's vote.

I would even consider voting for Tory if he agreed to upload those services and to start funding transit's operating costs at historic percentages....well until he made his religious schools announcement today.

AlvinofDiaspar
2007-Jul-23, 21:00
Darkstar:

With illustrious media outlets like CP24, Sun Media and the Star, it is no surprise. Like any of them ever look at the issue critically. Besides, both the province and the feds have far more media machinery in place, and have honed matters into an art - that, coupled with the public's obsession with politics at the highest level of govenment (thinking that they have more power to affect policies than they actually do) makes for really poor outcomes for getting municipal message across.

AoD

AlvinofDiaspar
2007-Jul-23, 21:07
Darkstar:

I don't really care about uploading, downloading, shovelling things sideways or otherwise - these are all symptoms of a system that doesn't recognize the reality of urban primacy. It does absolutely nothing to address the historical ill of power being vested at a level that is totally ill equipped to handle urban issues. None of the big 3 provincial parties are prepared to address that - depending on their largesse is like hoping for rain in a desert. Worst, whatever largesse they deliever is geared towards their needs, not the actual wants of the city.

And before someone tells me the city has just receieved these powers - yeah, right - downloading additional costs to a city and mandating what services the latter need to provide while refusing to pay for the provincial/federal share, saying the city can pay for them with the new powers is the ultimate BS.

AoD

Hydrogen
2007-Jul-24, 00:20
"Uploading" should be the magic word in the coming provincial election in this city, but I fear it won't. My opinion is that if you aren't supporting the uploading of historically administered services, then you shouldn't get Toronto's vote.

If you run on that, you'd have my vote.



I don't really care about uploading, downloading, shovelling things sideways or otherwise - these are all symptoms of a system that doesn't recognize the reality of urban primacy.

True, by downloading, the province has failed to discharge its own responsibilities. Because the city exists at the pleasure of the province, the province found the perfect place to drop these responsibilities onto without adequate funding or control - all in the name of cutting taxes and looking good. Downloading is a direct symptom of the province failing to recognize the reality of urban primacy. Had they actually cared about the programs they shed onto the city, they would have provided not only the money, they would have handed policy control over those programs to the city. But they didn't. That would have made the city begin to look too much like a province.

unimaginative2
2007-Jul-24, 11:04
The best thing the city could do is take up Sorbara’s offer to send in experts to look at the books. If they do find some reasonable savings, that’s clearly a positive. Even more valuable, though, is that they would unquestionably report back that forcing the city to pay for social services is one of the main causes of the structural budget deficit. With the province’s own experts saying it, there would be even more pressure to remedy the situation.

Hydrogen
2007-Jul-24, 13:33
I'd prefer "experts" not associated with the provincial government. Then again, there have been reports stating that attempting to cover provincial programs downloaded to the city with municipal taxes and meagre provincial grants is unsustainable. Sustainable funding for social programs that can apply to all Ontarians in all possible regions of the province should be raised and manged by the provincial government.

brettrobinson
2007-Jul-24, 14:25
The best thing the city could do is take up Sorbara’s offer to send in experts to look at the books. If they do find some reasonable savings, that’s clearly a positive. Even more valuable, though, is that they would unquestionably report back that forcing the city to pay for social services is one of the main causes of the structural budget deficit. With the province’s own experts saying it, there would be even more pressure to remedy the situation.

I agree. At least then the whole debate about the city getting its own finances in order would be out the door. If there are savings to be had then it is a win win situation and if there are not then the Province has no leg to stand on.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-24, 14:41
Yes, but accepting Sorbara's patronizing offer would allow the province to wait until after the election is over for the "experts" to come back (this won't be a quick in-and-out job), find out what everybody already knows, and then perhaps another four years of this crap.

Hydrogen
2007-Jul-25, 01:08
Sorbara's experts didn't help many of the school boards to which they were sent.

(Sorry, was the Sorbara or the Education Minister - what was his name?)

GregWTravels
2007-Jul-25, 09:17
http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/239548

Province hasn't ruled out taking over TTC
Jul 25, 2007 04:30 AM
Tess Kalinowski
Robert Benzie
STAFF REPORTERS

The province isn't making any threats – yet.

But neither cabinet ministers nor TTC observers have dismissed the idea of a Queen's Park takeover of the country's largest transit system.

With threats of subway closures, fare hikes and bus cuts looming, questions have surfaced already about who will ride to the rescue of Toronto transit users, now that the city has ordered the TTC to cut $30 million in spending this year and $100 million the next.

If Ontario's new Greater Toronto Transit Authority can take over GO Transit and oversee the creation of a single-fare system across eight regional transit agencies, why couldn't it also integrate the TTC?

Asked Friday whether the province would consider it, Finance Minister Greg Sorbara said, "One couldn't make that kind of decision based on a week in politics."

However, he added, "Down the road we might look at a different way of approaching the management of heavy rail in this city. There's two heavy rail operators in the province: There's GO Transit and there's the TTC. Is there a better way to combine that? I'm not sure, but I think those are the things that we have to look at dispassionately rather than simply make announcements that make everyone nervous."

Sorbara stressed the province's proposal to spend $17.5 billion on a GTA transit expansion and the already funded subway extension to York Region will still go ahead.

Meanwhile, TTC commissioners were wondering whether there's any point to building subway stations and a streetcar network when there's no money to hire operators.

Within hours of Sorbara's remarks, they had decided to study the impact of pulling out of the Spadina expansion plan.

The TTC's response led to this warning from TTC patron David Fisher: "The day is coming when this system is going to be taken away from the city of Toronto."

Maybe, but not too soon, hopes transportation expert Richard Soberman. "Any idea of a takeover or a combination (of GO and TTC rail) is entirely premature because the GTTA isn't fully formed yet."

TTC chair Adam Giambrone, who also sits on the GTTA, said yesterday that board wants to lead without rushing to take over municipal jurisdictions, and Queen's Park doesn't have a track record of taking on an enterprise the size of the TTC.

"It's hard for us to imagine the province wanting to do that. At the same time, they would be held accountable for each and every problem the TTC has," he said. But he concedes: "Nothing's impossible."

The activist credited with helping to save Toronto's streetcar system in the '70s, Steve Munro, says: "Queen's Park has a lovely hands-off position. All of a sudden people are asking Dalton McGuinty where the Queen (street)car is, and I don't think that's a question he wants to answer."

Admiral Beez
2007-Jul-25, 14:32
Perhaps the better way is to simply have the province take over the entire operation of the city. The entire province's population of 12.7 million is smaller than many cities around the globe.

For example, Tokyo, Japan has a population of 28,025,000. New York City has 16,626,000 people, while Los Angeles has 13,129,000. I say let's do the same for all of Ontario as a single unit. We could even have an Ontario Deputy Minister for Toronto, reporting to the Minister of Municipalities, covering local issues like garbage collection, animal control, sewers, public houses, fire and ambulances, etc.

If this can't be done, then a realistic idea would be to amalgamate the entire GTA, from east to west as one city under one mega municipal government.

BTW, handy website at http://www.citypopulation.de/WorldPop.html

Edward Skira
2007-Jul-25, 14:59
New York has 8 million and Los Angeles 3.6 million give or take a few.

Hydrogen
2007-Jul-26, 02:27
If this can't be done, then a realistic idea would be to amalgamate the entire GTA

I think a report authored by Anne Golden suggested something like this many years ago.

Coruscanti Cognoscente
2007-Jul-26, 04:29
I think a report authored by Anne Golden suggested something like this many years ago.

Yeah it did. Amalgamating the old Metro with its constituent municipalities was the first step. Regretfully it ended there.

Admiral Beez
2007-Jul-26, 06:39
Yeah it did. Amalgamating the old Metro with its constituent municipalities was the first step. Regretfully it ended there.Maybe after Hazel expires and her mummified remains are underglass in the Mississauga City Hall, we will be better able to consider GTA amalgamation.

GregWTravels
2007-Jul-26, 11:56
Re: Hazel under glass...

I wonder if the lines will be as long as they are in Red Square?

----------------

Globe and Mail: Make Toronto drivers pay (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070726.LETTERS26-5/TPStory/Comment)

KAREN WOOLRIDGE

July 26, 2007

Toronto -- Toronto may very well have an appetite for increased taxes, just not the combo Mayor David Miller proposed (Province Won't Bail Out Toronto, McGuinty Says - Toronto editions, July 25). City council should not back a land transfer tax, instead it should load all of the taxation bite onto car ownership. Then, it should do as they do in Singapore and fund transit through that tax.

Singaporeans pay at least four different taxes to own a vehicle and operate it in rush hour. Singaporean public transport is state of the art; even with the taxes, there are still lots of vehicles on the road.

It's time for Mr. Miller to go back to the drawing board.

Admiral Beez
2007-Jul-26, 12:52
I'd support that, but only if there was rapid transit to get me to Kitchener from Union Station in the AM, and home to Union in the PM. There are a least several thousand one-occupant cars making the same trip as me each day, so moving us out of our cars might work.

ShonTron
2007-Jul-26, 12:59
Singaporeans pay at least four different taxes to own a vehicle and operate it in rush hour. Singaporean public transport is state of the art; even with the taxes, there are still lots of vehicles on the road.

I like the idea, but it is much easier to implement in a city-state.

JasonParis
2007-Jul-26, 21:06
...although one of the "Miller taxes" was on car registration.

Admiral Beez
2007-Jul-26, 22:25
...although one of the "Miller taxes" was on car registration.How exactly was that going to work anyway? Was the province going to tell the city which drivers lived in the 416 area? Was the province going to collect the money for the city?

ShonTron
2007-Jul-26, 22:27
Was the province going to collect the money for the city?

Yes. Though Sorbara was humming and hawing about tis until the last minute - MTO was not at all enthusiastic either.

Admiral Beez
2007-Jul-27, 09:16
The auto tax would have affected me negatively, but not the real estate tax. If I ever sell my Cabbagetown semi it will be to move out of Toronto entirely, so my buyer will have to cover the tax, but not me when I buy a new place. I spend last evening at the Snug Harbour restaurant in Port Credit, and have to say that's a nice area, with some nice houses.

wyliepoon
2007-Aug-27, 20:13
Star

Link to article (http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/250224)

The TTC wants to hear from you

Aug 27, 2007 01:25 PM
Tess Kalinowski
Transportation Reporter
Would TTC service cuts send you straight to your car in the morning?

The transit authority is asking riders to tell it how they would get to work if their bus service got cut or fares increased between 10 and 25 cents.

The TTC has been asked to trim $30 million from its spending this year and to expect more cuts next year to help alleviate a city budget crisis.

An online questionnaire that will also be part of a brochure being distributed on the system over the next two weeks, asks how riders would prefer the funding gap be addressed: with new city taxes; fare increases; or service reductions.

Service expansions — including the addition of 100 new buses on city routes that had been planned for this year — have already been cancelled.

Whether further cuts should proceed, including the closing of the Sheppard subway, will be debated at a meeting next month.

“Service cuts are something we don’t want to do, especially considering the unprecedented growth and momentum the TTC has built this year,” said Chair Adam Giambrone in a press release today. “We must protect the system Torontonians have built together as much as possible, despite the unpalatable choices the Commission is faced with.”

The web survey is available at www.ttc.ca.

http://www.toronto.ca/ttc/myttc.html#comparison

Prometheus The Supremo
2007-Aug-27, 20:16
routes at risk..

http://www.toronto.ca/ttc/myttc.html#serviceatrisk

:(

scarberiankhatru
2007-Aug-27, 20:16
Leave Sheppard alone and shut down the RT...Sheppard carries more riders now and Scarborough buses can simply continue on to Kennedy station, whereas Sheppard riders will be more left out in the cold. Midland and Brimley are virtually traffic free and can handle many more buses, but Sheppard East is, and has always been, a zoo.

wyliepoon
2007-Aug-27, 20:31
^ Good call. I'm a big fan of the 131E between Scarborough Centre and Kennedy, and I'd like to see some of the other busy north Scarborough bus routes do the same (such as my McCowan North bus). Kennedy can easily handle a lot more buses by converting one or more of its surrounding parking lots into bus platforms.

gboykovekin
2007-Aug-27, 20:34
TTC employees were handing out surveys during the afternoon rushhour...interesting

CDL.TO
2007-Aug-27, 20:38
Damn the TTC's amateur in-house marketing and design. With proper design, the reality of this situation could be presented far more hard-hitting. Instead, the user is left navigating a mixture of different webpages and PDF documents, none of which are designed to arouse emotion. We are being told that this is a crisis but it is being presented as an academic study. Hell, community groups fighting bus or streetcar lanes on their local street can produce more engaging websites and print materials than this.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Aug-27, 20:56
^ Good call. I'm a big fan of the 131E between Scarborough Centre and Kennedy, and I'd like to see some of the other busy north Scarborough bus routes do the same (such as my McCowan North bus). Kennedy can easily handle a lot more buses by converting one or more of its surrounding parking lots into bus platforms.

True dat, and most bus routes would not even need to be significantly altered. Midland station is very easily replaced by having people stay on the 57 for another 10 minutes - it'll save them a transfer, anyway. The 21's A branch can be removed, running every bus all the way to Kennedy...it'll get a bit more crowded but very few people ride it south of STC, so it'll work.

The 54 could get a new branch that runs down to Kennedy while the regular 54 would be able to run straight along Lawrence without interruption. No one uses Ellesmere station except a few park'n'riders and kiss'n'riders, who can all go elsewhere. McCowan buses could just run up Danforth, I guess...maybe a rocket/express could be added?

The Malvern routes would be trickier, but some can run along the 401 to make up some time. If they'd hurry up and connect McNicoll to Oasis/Morningside, already, 133C patrons get ride the 42, thus eliminating 50% of the "reasoning" behind spending perhaps a billion dollars on extending the RT (the other 50% is attributed to helping poor, underprivileged Malvernites).

And, of course, the Stouffville line could get a few more trains per day so that it's not totally useless to the neighbourhoods it passes through...

allabootmatt
2007-Aug-27, 23:03
I just filled out the survey. Indicated that I would pay higher fares, but in the "comments" suggested that they look at contracting out non-core functions. So I guess I just guaranteed that my survey will be ignored.

Prometheus The Supremo
2007-Aug-28, 00:49
i tried to take the survey but didn't because it didn't really apply to me because there are no options for wheeltrans users.

there are no positive options either. it's like, would you rather be kicked in the balls?, the ass? or the face?

the cutting of some of those routes will possibly effect my ability to use the regular TTC when it will become totally accessible or accessible enough to make it usable for me.

so now i have a bus route nearby that has pretty good service, but it's not accessible. in the future, the route may not exist or have reduced service, with an increased fare, preventing me from using a future accessible TTC system.

so i wait and wait every day for the future to bring access, in the end only to be denied access. :(

allabootmatt
2007-Aug-28, 01:19
Here's the good news: the odds of land-transfer and vehicle-registration not passing at this point are miniscule, if as appears likely the alternative really is massive service cuts like those elaborated. These measures will have the desired effect of scaring waffling councillors into voting 'yes,' and only another vote or two are required. You'd be hard-pressed to find 23 councillors who would really vote for service-level apocalypse.

I'm also hopeful that Miller, calmed down by a vacation, will take the opportunity to very directly and factually explain what's going on and why that is to the people of the city, and challenge his opponents to come up with a better idea.

The other good news is that, a few dead-enders like Rob Ford aside, the consensus on council is for more money somehow--either through uploading or new taxes. There's no conservative rump suggesting a half-billion dollar budget cut. So, with no or little uploading, it should be easy to get the taxes through.

With that said, I'm really pissed off by the TTC over this. While obviously the funding levels are not and haven't been high enough, this has been a ten-year crisis, with plenty of time to come up with some creative thinking to soften the blow. What happened to the ballyhooed TTC plans to lease air-rights to its surface-level station properties, which happen to sit on some of the most valuable land in the country? Last I checked the Eglinton bus terminal was still fenced off, St Clair still a one-story shed, etc. etc. And why has contracting out some TTC functions been treated as heresy? Surely there are things within the organization that could be done cheaper. There's no magic bullet here, but things could have been done better.

As the election and budget vote near I am planning on doing a mass email to a long list of my Toronto friends urging them to vote for a candidate who will do something for the city, and to write their councillors about revenue tools. It's not much, but I am desperate to do something and have been rather unsatisfied with responses to letters I've sent to my MPP and the Premier.

CapitalSeven
2007-Aug-28, 07:05
Interesting to hear relatively convincing arguments that the Scarborough RT could be closed down with little impact. Several voices from Scarborough were crying last year that a subway replacement was "needed," but the numbers show that even the RT (revamped) wouldn't hit capacity for decades.

Prometheus The Supremo
2007-Aug-28, 07:25
Interesting to hear relatively convincing arguments that the Scarborough RT could be closed down with little impact. Several voices from Scarborough were crying last year that a subway replacement was "needed," but the numbers show that even the RT (revamped) wouldn't hit capacity for decades.

i think the subway calls were mostly due to the RT coming to the end of its shelf life.

rbt
2007-Aug-28, 08:50
Leave Sheppard alone and shut down the RT...Sheppard carries more riders now and Scarborough buses can simply continue on to Kennedy station, whereas Sheppard riders will be more left out in the cold. Midland and Brimley are virtually traffic free and can handle many more buses, but Sheppard East is, and has always been, a zoo.

You miss the entire point of bringing up Sheppard.

All of the major real-estate players who invested time and energy against the Land Transfer Tax stand to lose substantially if Sheppard is closed because they all use it as a major marketing point for their 10+ building complexes being sold along Sheppard.

Threatening to close Sheppard is all about ensuring the developers/brokers who dodged the Land Transfer Tax will get a strong slap on the wrist. Reminds them that they depend on city services to sell condominiums.

unimaginative2
2007-Aug-28, 10:18
Interesting to hear relatively convincing arguments that the Scarborough RT could be closed down with little impact. Several voices from Scarborough were crying last year that a subway replacement was "needed," but the numbers show that even the RT (revamped) wouldn't hit capacity for decades.

Toronto seems to be the only city in the world with this bizarre sense that a line needs to be "at capacity" in order to be successful. No subway line in the world is at crush load at its terminal station. In fact, if one were to be in such a situation it would be providing a very poor service. Transit routes can be successful even if they are not at crush load. If the subway were extended to Scarborough Centre, it would obviously not be overloaded right from the first stop. That's not a bad thing.

scarberiankhatru
2007-Aug-28, 13:33
Interesting to hear relatively convincing arguments that the Scarborough RT could be closed down with little impact. Several voices from Scarborough were crying last year that a subway replacement was "needed," but the numbers show that even the RT (revamped) wouldn't hit capacity for decades.

This discussion will only get silly unless there's context added. A Danforth extension is not needed more than any of a half dozen other big projects, but since the RT's dying, there's reasons why it might make sense to bump it up the list (the old list, now that TransitCity's made a new one). The city still has plans to rebuild and extend the RT and the cost of doing this will likely be in the same ballpark as a subway extension (note: this is where roch5220 will typically post about how wrong my math is and we'll quibble over a few hundred million), and it will benefit less people than a subway extension. The RT's technology is not inherently bad, but I support anything that undermines wasting a fortune on saving and extending the RT. The fact that gentle tweaking of the bus network could do a decent job replacing the RT for so many people speaks mainly to how functional the TTC's suburban bus routes are and how awful the RT is as a transit service...a significant percentage of the RT's riders can be accommodated on parallel bus routes that run on roads with no traffic.


Threatening to close Sheppard is all about ensuring the developers/brokers who dodged the Land Transfer Tax will get a strong slap on the wrist. Reminds them that they depend on city services to sell condominiums.

[conspiracy]
Nope. Threatening to close Sheppard is all about destroying the subway network and encouraging the growth of a web of streetcar lines.
[/end conspiracy]

rpgr
2007-Sep-06, 12:12
Still, land transfer taxes I think are stupid. Vehicle registration taxes I think are OK but still...

The best though I think would probably be either a 1% sales tax on all but food or property taxes or a corporate tax. Thing is, the tax needs to be dumped on a much more even scale than punishing people from moving into the city. Your trying to build infrastructure, not push people away into further suburbia which a land transfer tax would do. If people start living on the fringes of Toronto even more, we all know from current experience that the city gets less money but spends more as those people commute into Toronto. It just does not make any sense.