TTC union report calls for action

Toronto's transit in crisis: ATU
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 11/11/2014

On the heels of Toronto’s municipal election, the union representing Toronto Transit Commission workers released its recommendations for a transit system in dire straits.

“Toronto’s transit crisis is worse than most people realize,” said Bob Kinnear, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union’s local 113 chapter.

Released on Nov. 10, the union’s 160-page report outlined numerous challenges facing the TTC, as well as recommendations to address crumbling infrastructure and inundated ridership.

“We don’t have all the answers, nobody does,” Kinnear said. “But for the first time in our 115-year history as a union, we have consolidated in one place the vast knowledge and experience of our members on the operational and maintenance realities of our transit system.”

The report includes cost accounting and touches upon traffic, signal priority to advanced rider information tools and vehicle life extension programs for major projects such as the forthcoming LRT routes and SmartTrack, the transit plan touted by mayor-elect John Tory.

Take budget realities for instance. According to the ATU, ridership has expanded at a rate of more than 2.5 per cent a year, but city council has been cutting TTC subsidies per rider since 2010. The result is a record-setting low subsidy rate. However, service should be upgraded, not merely improved, and that would incur another $90 million. As such, the union recommends a per rider subsidy level that grows with inflation and ridership.

The ATU also called upon each level of government to act swiftly and decisively, lest the TTC fall even farther behind.

“It’s time to stop begging and start demanding. Our union wants to help spearhead a united city movement to make transit the number one issue in next year’s election,” Kinnear said, adding to all federal factions, “Get out of your limos, get on a bus and compete for our votes.”

The report was put together following consultations with transit experts and rider groups.

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