Mayoral candidate to increase TTC funding to restore pre-pandemic service levels
April 26, 2023 – Mayoral candidate Josh Matlow announced today that as Mayor he will restore TTC service to full pre-pandemic levels by the end of this mayoral term. Toronto’s most recent budget forced cuts to TTC service from 96 per cent to 91 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, resulting in longer wait times for riders on buses, streetcars and subways and further disruption to the lives of commuters across Toronto.
In his first year, Matlow will invest $50 million from his recently announced City Works Fund to fully reverse the cuts made earlier this year. In subsequent years, a combination of funding from the City Works Fund and new climate action levy will secure the remaining amount of the up to $183 million needed annually to restore full service. (1)
“The best cities in the world have excellent public transit because it’s good for people, for public health and for the planet. Recent cuts have led to TTC riders paying more for less,” said Matlow. “This investment will improve frequency and reliability, which will get commuters to work, school and appointments faster – and in turn, increase ridership and the long-term sustainability of our transit system.”
Recent TTC cuts are slated to impact service levels on a total of 39 transit routes across the city. According to a recent report from Toronto Metropolitan University, 26 of the 28 routes with at least a 10 per cent increase in wait times travel through or connect with underserved communities. Most of the adversely affected neighbourhoods are located in Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke, where buses are the only available option when heading to work or accessing city-wide services. These include key routes such as 29/929 Dufferin and Dufferin Express, 41/941 Keele and Keele Express, 35/935 Jane and Jane Express and 24 Victoria Park.
“All of Toronto needs better transit, but frequent service is critical in the socially and economically marginalized communities that rely on the TTC to meet their day-to-day needs,” said Matlow. “The recent cuts aren’t just an issue of convenience, they’re an issue of equity, because they disproportionately and unfairly affect people who lack mobility and are transit poor.”
Improved service will also help attract back to the transit system riders who have been avoiding trips by TTC due to poor experiences and safety concerns. With an increase in funding to address the root causes of violence, improved basic services and an increase in the critical mass of riders and staff on the transit system, people will feel more comfortable choosing transit.
Other levels of government must commit to addressing the continued financial impact of COVID-19-related transit service decreases. However, it is clear that Toronto must act fast and act now to maintain TTC ridership and ensure service doesn’t plummet any further than it already has. As Mayor, Matlow will continue to advocate for secure long-term operating funding to relieve the TTC’s existing and outsized systemic dependency on the farebox.
To learn more about Josh Matlow’s mayoral campaign to make Toronto a city that works, the safe, affordable, livable city that we all know it can be, please visit VoteMatlow.ca.
1 https://www.ttc.ca/-/media/Project/TTC/DevProto/Documents/Home/Public-Meetings/Board/2023/January-9/1_2023_TTC_Conv entional_and_Wheel_Trans_Operating_Budgets.pdf?rev=1d65ed1418374527b7479584a9a06445&hash=FB374C8ACB097C89E89B3 409A45154B6
Budget assumptions: The total TTC operating budget for 2023 is $2.371 billion before COVID effects (See Table 10 in the TTC’s operating budget report).
The TTC is currently operating at approximately 91 per cent of January 2020 service levels, so it has to run about 10 per cent more service to get back to those levels. (Note that 9 per cent is approximately one-tenth of 91 per cent so a roughly 10 per cent increase is required.) That would require $237 million. However, roughly 30 per cent of TTC operating costs are fixed for things such as management, infrastructure and fleet maintenance, therefore only 70 per cent of the cost base needs to be increased – 70 per cent of $237 million is $166 million, which, adjusted for inflation, is approximately $183 million.