Hundreds of Scarborough residents sign massive card urging local councillor to reverse TTC service cuts
Scarborough residents delivered a massive card to councillor Michael Thompson, urging him to reverse proposed TTC service cuts. (TTCriders via Twitter)
Published Monday, February 13, 2023 7:33PM EST
An oversized card signed by hundreds of Scarborough residents was delivered to Toronto city councillor for Scarborough Centre Michael Thompson on Monday evening, urging him to reverse proposed service cuts to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
The card was delivered by public transit advocacy group TTCriders, and it asked the councillor to consider voting against the proposed cuts within the city’s budget, set to be ratified on Wednesday.
"Scarborough residents from Bendale to Golden Mile want to see more investment in TTC. Instead the city budget asks them to pay more for less service," said event organizer and TTCriders board member Krissan Veerasingam.
The TTC proposed its 2023 operating budget with changes to address a $366 million budget shortfall, which includes a 10 cent fare hike and running nine per cent less service this year compared to levels in place before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Subways will run at six-minutes or better service levels and as low as 10-minute-or-better service levels in some cases, based on demand. The proposed budget says schedules and routes will be adjusted based on ridership demand at the busiest portions, directions and hours of service.
It also says streetcar service will be reduced to 87 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, bus service will run at 94 per cent and rapid transit service will fall to 75 per cent.
After the proposed service cuts were announced, residents and advocacy groups raised concerns that they will only exacerbate the issue of safety on public transit, which has been top-of-mind for many transit riders following a number of violent incidents on TTC property over the last few months.
"I would feel safer if there were more people taking the TTC," said event attendee and Scarborough Environmental Association co-founder Fizza Khalid.
"If the cuts go ahead, I'm worried that people won't be able to rely on [the] TTC and fewer people will take it."
TTCriders says the card asks city councillors to invest in more bus service and lower fares, and also asks Councillor Thompson to support bus lanes for replacement shuttle buses when the Scarborough RT closes in Fall 2023.
Wednesday’s budget deliberations had some uncertainty cast upon them when John Tory abruptly announced last week that he’d be stepping down as mayor, however Tory says he plans to remain as sitting mayor for the meeting.
The $16.2B operating budget and $49.3B capital plan include many other hot button issues including a controversial $48.3M increase for the Toronto Police Service.
With files from the Canadian Press.