[tugs] If you love public transit... act now

  • From: "TUGS" <tugs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tugsgeneral@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2002 21:24:23 -0500

Rocket Riders:

 There are three things you can do this month for public transit in

 First, your Councillor needs to hear from you. If you don't know how to
reach your Councillor use
http://app.city.toronto.on.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp. Ask to  meet
or speak directly with the Councillor - personal contact guarantees your
concerns are heard.

Second, the City's Policy & Finance and Budget Advisory Committees will
have a joint meeting to hear public deputations on the budget starting
at 9:30 on February 18th.  To arrange to make a presentation (limited to
5 minutes) call the City Clerk at 416 392-8088.

Third, come on out on February 14th for "A Rocket Riders Valentine",
when members of the Rocket Riders Transit Users Group will be fanning
out across the city to hand out Valentines and chocolates to transit
users. We'll also be telling riders how they can give the TTC back a
little love. To get involved (it will be fun - you'll be giving people
chocolate), call the Toronto Environmental Alliance at (416) 596-0660.

Some background info for talking to councillors or making deputations,
although don't be afraid to focus on your personal experience with our
beloved transit system:

Basic messages for meeting with your councillor about the TTC:  -A great
city needs a great transit system.  -We need better transit to reduce
deadly smog.  -A fare hike is a tax hike  -The City has to show
leadership.  -Riders already pay more than their share, and everyone
benefits from better transit.

 Some facts on the TTC and the 2002 budget debate:

 The TTC asked for $165 million from the City -- the amount they need to
avoid a fare increase or service cuts. So far in the budget debate, they
are only being allotted $152 million.  Unless City Council approves more
money for the TTC, we will be facing fare hikes (probably 15 cents/trip
and a $100 metropass - this means $75 - $100 per year for most of us).

Riders already pay more than their share: The TTC already collects a
larger proportion of its costs (82%) from the fare box than any other
transit agency in the developed world.

Benefits of transit: Getting (and keeping) people out of cars by
improving transit service and keeping fares down will:

 1.  Contribute to cleaner air.  According to Toronto Public Health, air
pollution causes 1,000 premature deaths in Toronto each year and 5,500
hospitalizations.  The Ontario Medical Association estimates that
Toronto hospitals pay $150 million  per year treating the victims of air
pollution. We had a record number of smog days last summer.

  2. Make our streets and neighbourhoods safer and more livable.

 3. Reduce traffic congestion, allowing people and goods to move more
easily and thereby improving our economy.

 4. Prevent the City from transferring its budget problems (a fare hike
is a tax hike) disproportionately onto lower income individuals and
families, who tend to be more reliant on transit for transportation. The
proposed cuts to Wheeltrans are  also completely unacceptable, as this
will result in Wheeltrans users being unable to get to work/appointments
15% of the time.

 The budget numbers:

 The TTC has two budgets: capital and operating. The capital budget pays
for the purchase and maintenance of equipment. The operating budget
covers the day-to-day costs of running the system.

 Councillors may say that the recent provincial announcement of
additional money for transit has fixed the problem.  It hasn't.

 The Province used to fund 75% of the capital costs of the TTC
(construction, repair, and purchase of buses, etc.) and 50% of the
operating cost (the cost of running service - revenue from fares). The
new deal is 1/3 of capital and possibly $52  million in operating (which
works out to about 1/3.) The $52 million is money the City used to pay
for GO transit. The TTC had hoped to get some or all of this money for
their operating budget, but many Councillors who would like to scoop
this  $52 million for other purposes.

 In terms of the Capital Budget, it has come to the light that the
provincial announcement of capital funding is smaller than it looked. At
first, it was reported that the Province was putting in $100 million a
year for 10 years. Actually that is the upper limit. The province is
only paying one third. When all the calculations of which costs are
eligible and which are not are finished, this puts the provincial
contribution at $76 million. The federal contribution is still zero.
Including the cost of completing the Sheppard subway (the province has
already paid its share) puts the city contribution at $200 million.

 In the long term, we do need stable funding from all three levels of
government. But the city has to show leadership on providing this basic
public service.


Other related posts:

  • » [tugs] If you love public transit... act now