January 9, 2012

TTC unveils funding info campaign

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) began an eight-week customer information campaign appearing in all buses, streetcars, subways and subway stations.

Called “Moving toward a better tomorrow,” the campaign includes five distinct posters designed to inform TTC customers of the importance of better transit funding, investments that are being made in transit, the positive economic and environmental impact of a healthy transit system, how the TTC is improving customer service and the value the TTC has on one’s personal budget.

The advertising space used for the campaign is at no cost to the TTC, as the space is already allocated for this purpose as part of its advertising contract.

The financial challenges of the City of Toronto have a direct impact on North America’s third largest transit system — the only system of its size that relies almost exclusively on property taxes to subsidize its operating costs.

Despite the challenges, the TTC is making significant improvements for customers; ridership of more than 500 million is projected this year. The Toronto Rocket subway train, new streetcars in 2013, a fully-accessible bus network, construction of the Toronto York Spadina subway extension, installation of a new signal system, a second platform at Union Station, the Presto farecard and the establishment of a permanent customer service committee (Customer Liaison Panel) are just a few of the TTC initiatives under way to make the transit experience a better one for Torontonians.

But funding challenges remain. The need for a long-term commitment from other orders of government has never been more important. When ridership grows, as it is, the cost of operating the system also rises. In 2010, the TTC received just 84 cents per rider in subsidy (80 cents in 2012). By comparison, in 2010 Montreal received a subsidy of $1.28 per rider, and in Chicago, the subsidy was $2.64.

This year, the TTC and City of Toronto will continue in their efforts to secure long-term, sustainable funding for both the TTC’s operating and capital budgets. Gridlock, as reported by the Toronto Board of Trade, costs the GTA an estimated $6 billion annually. One TTC bus removes 45 cars from city streets, while one subway train replaces more than 900 automobiles during rush hour. For the good of the environment and economy, a well-funded transit system is critical to a city the size of Toronto.

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