Comment 121781

By RobF (registered) | Posted July 30, 2017 at 10:17:08 in reply to Comment 121780

I'm with you on the ridership growth aspect of the TTC story/strategy dating back to the Miller years. That's the challenge for most people looking from the outside in: you tend to miss the crucial link between TTC strategic planning and the political will/conditions to advance plans.

That has definitely been lost in a lot of the public debate about LRT here in Hamilton ... LRT will do three big things: shift and restructure assessment growth; reduce operating costs on the king-main corridor (where passenger rides should increase from intensification); and frees up buses for a ridership growth strategy to increase the viability of other parts of the planned BLAST network.

The political question with a ridership growth strategy is will Council put up the money to subsidize the widening per-trip operating deficit in the short and medium term to make the strategy work.

In Toronto, fare-recovery started off at just over 80 cents per dollar of operating cost and fell to low 70 cent range by the time Miller left office. For those whose focus was purely on cost recovery from the fare-box (mainly non-transit riders and their representatives on Council) this was signal of failure and mismanagement. If you looked at it from a longer-term point-of-view it greatly increased transit's slice of the modal split pie ... in other words the needle was moving in the right direction, and, as you've noted, as LRT and certain subway projects came on-line on major backbone routes the operating costs would fall and cost recovery from fares would improve.

Of course, that latter point misses the political discussion that should take place around how transit is financed ... the TTC has, i think, by far the highest cost recovery from fares of any major transit system in North America. There is still that nagging issue of whether that makes sense given the various subsidies that are embedded in automobility ... unless people still want to argue that motorists pay the full cost of driving.

Comment edited by RobF on 2017-07-30 10:18:30

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