Service cuts proposed for Peterborough Transit after budget reduction

Click to play video: 'Proposed cuts to Peterborough transit service will have “devastating” impact, union says'
Proposed cuts to Peterborough transit service will have “devastating” impact, union says
An increase of approximately one million dollars in Peterborough transit funding for this year was voted down by city council during budget deliberations, back in January. Now, adjustments have to be made in order to keep transit operating at the same budget from the previous year. A report set to go before Peterborough city council Monday outlines what kind of adjustments could be made, including cutting down weekend service for a number of routes. Cory MacLeod, president of the ATU Local 1320, joins Noor Ibrahim with more on the impact of those cuts – May 8, 2023

A city staff report recommends service cuts for Peterborough Transit that would impact weekend and statutory holiday schedules and the community bus service.

City council on Monday will review a staff report that recommends a number of service reductions. The recommendations come as a result of January’s approval of freezing the operating budget at the 2022 level of $18.2M — reducing the proposed 2023 operating budget by over $1.05M (5.8 cent), which staff said was required to meet rising costs of wages, fuel and vehicle maintenance.

An estimated reduction in revenue from ridership of $110,000 was approved, reducing the net savings to over $951,000. Staff warned a budget reduction would result in service and staff cuts.

The latest report estimates $794,800 could be saved (impacting an estimated 58,588 riders) by implementing these changes as of June 25 (except statutory holiday service which would be effective July 2):

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  • Discontinue service on Sundays except the Route 5 and Route 6 for Trent University and Fleming College: Saving $452,348; no estimated riders provided.
  • Discontinue service at 8 p.m. on Saturdays (a four-hour reduction) except on Routes 5 and 6: Saving $38,120 with 4,420 riders impacted.
  • Eliminate statutory holiday service: Saving $100,280 with 11,736 riders impacted.
  • Discontinue all weekday Community Bus service (Accessible Van Service): Saving $151,520 and impacting 33,072 riders.
  • Discontinue all weekend Community Bus Service: Saving $52,534 and impacting 9,360 riders.
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The report also recommends staff work with the Transit Liaison committee to explore other options to decrease costs by another $146,198.

The combined service cuts will reduce work hours for transit drivers by approximately 12,500 hours in 2023 — equalling at least 12 full-time driver positions, the report states.

“An additional impact to staff will be that two consecutive days off will not be available to approximately 20 drivers,” the report notes.

The report outlines potential service cuts, explaining that it would decrease work hours for transit drivers by 12,500 hours this year (equalling at least 12 full-time driver jobs).

Corey MacLeod, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1320 which represents Peterborough Transit drivers,  is asked the public to tell city council to end the cuts to the service, echoing sentiments he expressed after the city’s budget was approved in January.

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Jasbir Raina, the city’s commissioner of infrastructure and planning services, says Peterborough Transit continues to be faced with fiscal challenges arising from inflation and service demands and is still feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If no changes are made to reduce service levels, net costs will likely begin to exceed the approved budget by late September – early October 2023, as service levels increase to meet the demands of ridership returning to work and school,” stated Raina.

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