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Overcrowded & underfunded: no relief for TTC bus riders in 2018

Last Updated Nov 15, 2017 at 8:08 pm EDT

Overcrowding on TTC bus routes may continue to be a problem in the New Year, with no new funding for additional services included in the 2018 operating budget.

The $1.8 billion budget seeks a $37 million subsidy from the city, on top of more than half a billion dollars it already receives. The TTC says this increased subsidy will enable them to keep service at current levels without the need for a fare increase.

But it’s the service levels that have the TTCriders association expressing serious concern.

“We’re getting complaints from across the city about overcrowding because a quarter of surface routes are regularly overcrowded,” said Shelagh Pizey-Allen of TTCriders association.

The TTC has 50 regularly overcrowded surface routes, including both buses and streetcars.

Earlier this week a video surfaced showing a standoff on the Lansdowne bus route as a passenger blocked the path of a bus that was too crowded to board. Online comments suggested a bigger issue of overcrowding on surface routes, including buses.

Stuart Green of the transit commission points out the Lansdowne route is typically not over capacity, operating at 70 to 80 per cent on most days.

There are a number of bus routes aside from Lansdowne that have overcrowding concerns. The top 15 are below. The column that says “Actual crowding as percent of standard” refers to the capacity levels of these routes. Topping the list is the 129 McCowan, with buses at 123 per cent capacity on Saturday mornings.

Green says the TTC does service adjustments every six weeks, with the ability to adjust individual routes as needed. “We can’t just buy more buses, we have nowhere to store them… we have to always balance the number of buses we have, the number of operators we have, with the budget,” says Green.

But the solution, claims Pizey-Allen, is simple. “The solution is for John Tory and city councillors to give more money to the TTC. We need better service. We need to end overcrowding. We want more affordable fares.”