Message from the Executives
TTC Operating, Capital and Wheel-Trans Budgets
Yesterday (Nov. 20), the TTC Board approved the 2014 Operating and Wheel-Trans budgets, and the 2014-2023 Capital budget.
These budgets are critically important for a number of reasons:
- They enable us to expand service to keep pace with ever-rising customer numbers, predicted to reach a record high of 540 million rides by the end of 2014.
- The Operating Budget also sees a break in the two-year freeze on the subsidy we receive from the City. That, in part, will allow us to continue to deliver increased customer satisfaction via our Five-Year Corporate Plan.
- Finally, vital capital funds have been secured to allow us to maintain the network in a state of good repair.
Operating and Wheel-Trans Budgets
We have successfully argued that the TTC cannot continue to accommodate additional rides without an increase in subsidy. The TTC has had its operating subsidy frozen at $411 million for the past two years. As we do each year, we found efficiencies that enabled us to cope with rising demand. A continued subsidy freeze, however, was untenable, and for that reason we made the case for an increase to $428 million, plus an additional $10 million for Wheel-Trans.
Nevertheless, this increase in subsidy still leaves a gap of $6 million even after a five-cent fare increase, plus an increase to the trip rate of the Adult Metropass to close the gap between our costs and revenue. We will need to find further savings throughout the year to balance the budget, something I’m confident the TTC can achieve without impact on staff or service.
We have flagged the need for $9 billion over the next 10 years. Our needs for the first five years of the 10-year budget are largely covered, but we still need all three orders of government to fund a shortfall of $2.7 billion so we can address critical infrastructure improvements and purchase more vehicles to address ever-growing demand. A task force will be established to lobby governments to provide long-term, sustainable, predictable funding to expand our network and to keep it in safe, reliable condition.
What it means for you
I was determined that this budget allow us to continue to drive up customer satisfaction and thereby, the reputation of the TTC. For that reason, we are adding more than 300 frontline operating and maintenance positions to support service increases. This is consistent with my policy of putting more staff into frontline positions, adding up to 680 more operating and maintenance positions in the last three budgets. In that same period, management and administrative positions have been reduced by 215, all in an attempt to bolster service.
I have stated this before, but I’m committed to improving your working environment. As such, in this budget we have successfully argued for funding to refurbish every workplace washroom and lunchroom, a program that we will share with you once the details are finalized.
Having the right tools to do any job is critical to success. Among the many other capital projects, we have secured funds to replace the 1970s-based surface vehicle communications system (CIS) with a state-of-the-art radio system that will transform the way we provide customer information, allowing Operators to communicate more effectively with customers, but also with Route Supervisors.
This budget also protects projects that are critical to the delivery of our vision of a transit system that makes Toronto proud. These are contained in the Five-Year Corporate Plan, the content of which is being shared with all TTC staff in a series of employee town halls. If you haven’t attended one yet, you will soon have the opportunity. These sessions give you the opportunity to hear what the TTC will look like over the next five years, but they also allow you to ask me, and other senior executives, questions about how this plan will work and how you fit into it.
With this budget, I’m confident that we can make the TTC better for our customers. Fare increases are never popular, so it is vitally important that everyone continues to up their game and do their job to the best of their ability. In order for you to succeed and to be happy in your work, we need to create the right culture. A lot of effort and focus is being put into changing the way we manage to be more inclusive, and to be supportive of your efforts in whatever you do. The Corporate Plan contains work streams to improve the way we engage with and communicate to staff, and to give you real opportunities in building a career at the TTC.
I ask everyone to play their part in transforming the TTC. Customers regularly tell me that things are improving – that the trains and stations are cleaner, that information is getting better, that we handle disruption more effectively. That is down to you.
There is a long way to go, still. We all must pull together and further improve so we can silence the critics, dumbfound the sceptics, and delight the customer. We can and we will get the TTC back to being the jewel in the crown of North American transit.
Keep up the great work.
Chief Executive Officer
November 21, 2013