Transit advocacy group, TTCriders’s newly released Vote Transit report card shows that Toronto’s 1.6 million daily riders are still waiting for a mayoral candidate to become a transit champion.
Released this morning, the purpose of TTCriders’ Vote Transit report card is help Toronto’s transit users easily understand how the mayoral candidates plan to fix their commute.
The report card evaluates the mayoral candidates on their plan to improve service now, lower fares, keep the TTC public, and invest in transit expansion.
“Our Vote Transit report card shows that despite transit being this election’s top of the mind issue, none of the top three candidates have come forward as a transit champion,” says Brenda Thompson, TTCriders co-chair. “Where is our transit champion?”
Olivia Chow is the only candidate who has a reasonable plan to improve transit now becuse she wants to increase bus service and invest in a bus garage and new buses.
“Every day riders across the city are squashed like sardines into overcrowded buses, street cars, and subways,” says Jessica Bell, TTCriders’ executive director. “Riders want better service now; we don’t want to wait a decade or more to get relief,” she says.
John Tory received a “needs work” grade for his transit expansion plans, because his SmartTrack proposal needs — but lacks federal funding — and his idea to fund the project through future property tax revenue has not worked well elsewhere.
Doug Ford received a “derailed grade” in all categories. As a councillor, Doug Ford voted to cut service and subsidy-per-ride levels to the TTC, and wants to cancel already approved transit expansion projects like the Finch and Sheppard East LRTs.
Information in the report card was collected via a survey distributed to the mayoral candidates: Olivia Chow and John Tory completed the survey, Doug Ford did not. TTCriders also reviewed the candidates’election platforms, statements to the media, and voting record.
TTCriders is calling on governments to increase funding to the TTC so service can be increased and fares reduced, especially for those in need.
TTCriders is also calling on candidates to support the TTC’s “Opportunities to Improve Transit Service in Toronto” report. The TTC staff report recommends the TTC increase bus and street car service so all routes have 10-minutes-or-better service, expand the express bus network, increase night time service, and introduce two hour transfer fares, so one fare will allow a rider to use the TTC for two hours.
The report was passed by the TTC Commission in August 2014. TTCriders is campaigning to make sure the recommendations are included and funded in next year’s city budget process.