What Rob Ford says should be done to improve TTC service
WATCH: Rob Ford unveiled a plan to adopt some recommendations from the TTC report.
TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford said he will reallocate $30 million from the city’s annual budget to help fund some of the transit service improvement recommendations outlined in a new Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) report.
But $30 million only covers a portion of the nearly $500 million that would be required to implement all of the recommended improvements.
The report titled “Opportunities to Improve Transit Service in Toronto” lays out several recommendations to speed up commute times which include implementing all-door boarding and proof-of payment on streetcar routes as well as operating all routes all day across the city.
The proposal would also allow time-based transfers so commuters can use just one fare for an unlimited time during a two-hour period.
The staff recommendations, if pushed forward, would cost the city an extra $19 million in 2015 and an increase each year of up to $69 million in 2018.
The plan would also require a $288 million boost to the capital budget spread across five years.
Ford, who is seeking re-election in the fall, promised to implement a 10-minute or better wait time for transit riders, agreeing to expand express bus routes and overnight service.
“These enhancements will improve the service that you can expect from the TTC,” Ford said. “Unfortunately I cannot support all the recommendations.”
WATCH: TTC board approves report recommending millions in transit improvements. Mark Carcasole reports.
The mayor said he would not support the TTC’s proposals for time-based transfers and all-door boarding, which are recommended to speed up streetcar service.
He suggested time-based transfers could cause arguments if someone were five to 10 minutes over the two-hour limit.
“How do you define two hours?” Ford asked. “Shopping takes two hours, going to see a friend takes two hours. I don’t buy this two hour stuff.”
He also suggested the so-called “honour system,” or proof-of-payment system that would let people get on streetcars from either door, would cost too much to police.
“We see people… jumping on the back of streetcars for free,” he said. “I don’t want to see the TTC go out and hire more security people.”
Where does the money come from? Ford said he will re-introduce a host of motions designed to save upwards of $100 million that were widely rejected during the city’s recent budget discussions.
Mayoral candidate John Tory criticized the report on Monday for the lack of specifics on funding.
Meanwhile, Olivia Chow welcomed the plan by saying some of the solutions laid out in the report could be implemented right away.
The recommendations are expected to be reviewed and voted on by city council next week.
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