TTC Looking At Massive Cuts, Fare Hikes To Save Money

The Sheppard subway line could soon be little more than a memory if the TTC is forced to shut it down as a cost-saving measure. City departments are being told to cut costs by $100 million in the wake of a council decision to defer two taxation plans – a land transfer levy and a vehicle registration tax – until October. And the transit system isn’t exempt – it’s being told to cut its 2007 costs by $30 million.

The TTC held an emergency meeting Friday to try to come up with ways of saving that cash. Chair Adam Giambrone warned that the cuts would affect every part of the system – the country’s biggest – and could potentially drive away thousands of riders. A planned candidate for elimination is the six kilometre Sheppard line, even though it only opened six years ago. The closure would save the city $10 million next year. The line carries about 12 million riders a year – a small amount compared to the other major subway routes – and is considered underused.

The meeting discussed the number of riders that would be affected and voting began on ways to implement cuts as soon as possible. The first thing to go were plans for full service improvements, which have been officially shelved. Other closures, such as that of the Sheppard line, won’t go into effect until September, says TTC chair Adam Giambrone.

“We are doing all the work needed to shut down the subway,” says Giambrone. “It will be before the commission in September.”

Some councillors feel the announced cuts are an attempt to hold city hall responsible for the deficit after Miller’s tax increase proposal was deferred. Denzil Minnan-Wong, representative of ward 34, says the announced cuts are disorganized and show a deeper problem with municipal government.

“It seems that the mayor is making up these budget cuts on the back of a napkin,” says the city councillor. “It shows a level of  management incompetence on behalf of the mayor.”

However, Mayor David Miller says the cuts are necessary and can’t be helped, every other city service is being asked to tighten its belt as well.

“It is very serious,” Mayor David Miller said. “It took years to rebuild the service after the last round of cuts ten years ago but because of the deferral earlier in the week, the TTC has to look at everything.”

Riders who rely on the Sheppard Line weren’t happy.

“I realize the mayor is under pressure,” conceded T.R. Islam. “We can’t spend more than we bring in.”

Larry Tran added, “I’m all for public transport but they have to get their act straight. Obviously they don’t.”

“I don’t have any problem paying for it,” noted Andrew Siqueira. “My main concern is shutting down the Sheppard line. It will take longer to get to work, probably 15, 20 minutes longer.”

The other possible changes could include the elimination of 20 bus routes, a fare hike of up to 25 cents, and a $5 to $15 bump in the cost of a Metropass. 

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today