Riders not pleased with TTC cuts

Some users fear for safety if late night buses are cancelled

As part of the 2011 budget process the TTC has vowed to cut 48 bus routes in order to increase service on other unspecified routes.

However, a decision on bus route reductions was postponed until Feb. 2 to allow for public consultations so those impacted by the cuts can plead their case.

At the meeting held at the North York Central Library Christine Miller, who relies on two of the bus routes were service reductions are proposed: 56 Leaside and 62 Mortimer, told the Town Crier that the proposed cuts could imperil her safety.

“I take them for work and a night out,” she told the Town Crier. “I get off (work) at midnight. That’s my safe ride home.”

She works as a security guard in midtown and lives in East York. For her the cuts would mean no service after 10 p.m. on weekdays and after 7 p.m. on weekends on the 56 Leaside route. And on 62 Mortimer no service after 10 p.m. on weekends.

“I work ‘til midnight on Saturdays and Sundays as well,” said the 27 year old. “One alternative is 25 Don Mills.”

This would take her close to home but walking a different route that has safety concerns, she said.

“I’d have to walk two long blocks down a dark street. Male suspects have waited for passengers and dragged them (to a secluded area). So that’s not an option,” she said. “Just because I’m in security (professionally) doesn’t mean a strong man can’t pull me away.”

Her plea? “I’d pay a fare increase to keep that service rather than lose it and pay the same.”

If the TTC approves the service reductions at its Feb. 2 meeting, the changes would take affect in May.

TTC spokesman Brad Ross said the service reduction proposal would impact 1.2 million rides annually. Some of those people currently using the 48 buses would find alternative routes within the TTC if service is reduced, others would walk away altogether meaning less revenue.

The TTC anticipates losing fares 250,000 rides if the service is reduced, said Ross.

Councillor Jaye Robinson said that she received 30 emails on the service cuts on Jan. 25 and expects that number to climb to 50 a day by next week.

“People are really concerned about accessibility. It’s their main mode of transportation,” said Robinson.

Councillor Shelley Carroll said the TTC’s existing ridership growth strategy, which includes having consistent, reliable service on all bus routes, allowed the commission to add riders even during the recession.

“If we add (bus service), they become riders throughout the system. We are going to cut service and the ridership goes because they have to make different decisions,” said Carroll.

The TTC’s plan is to save about $6 million by cutting service and reallocate the money to improve service on other unspecified routes this fall.

It’s not clear that adding more buses on busy routes would attract additional riders as service hours would not increase, but buses could be less crowded.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong told the Town Crier he supports this service reallocation plan.

“I’ve heard from two people,” he said in terms of emails regarding service cuts. “In a perfect world, we’d like to deliver those people right to their door. Sadly, we don’t have enough money to go around.

“This is being done so we can redirect that money to priority (busy) routes during peak periods so we can provide better service,” said Minnan-Wong.

About this article:

By: Kris Scheuer
Posted: Jan 27 2011 12:59 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto