Public transit and its many problems in the city of Toronto is top of mind for many residents. We asked TTC Riders advocacy group to brief the new mayor, Olivia Chow, on what she should do upon taking office to show she is ready to make serious change right now.
Here is what Shelagh Pizey-Allen of TTC Riders suggests:
“To prioritize public transit in Toronto, the new mayor must tackle several pressing issues. Firstly, securing transit operating funding from the provincial and federal governments is paramount to protect the TTC from further service cuts and alleviate its significant $366 million operating budget shortfall in 2023. Rebuilding ridership and confidence in the TTC demands a concerted effort to reverse service cuts and hire additional supportive and welcoming staff.
To address these financial challenges, TTCriders and the Toronto Environmental Alliance propose the introduction of a corporate TTC levy on large malls and commercial lots. This funding mechanism, estimated to generate between $191-575 million annually, can play a crucial role in restoring and enhancing TTC services.
Additionally, with the impending closure of the Scarborough RT, the next mayor should prioritize the construction of a replacement busway to provide a more efficient alternative for transit riders, saving them valuable time on each trip.
Ensuring reliable and timely service is another pressing concern. The TTC must invest in bus and streetcar priority lanes to improve reliability and minimize delays, addressing the issue of buses and streetcars not showing up on time.
Furthermore, the next mayor must take steps to protect the accessibility of the Wheel-Trans service. Requiring Wheel-Trans users to re-register and potentially losing full access to door-to-door service is concerning, and efforts should be made to safeguard the rights and needs of all individuals who rely on this essential service.
By tackling these challenges head-on, the new mayor of Toronto can demonstrate a genuine commitment to prioritizing and improving public transit, creating a more efficient, accessible, and reliable transportation system for all residents.”