Thursday, February 09, 2006

Let's Compare the TTC to Canadian and American Cities

The TTC has raised fares again, beyond inflation, again, with David Miller's behind-the-scenes complicit endorsement, while saying on TV to us, his constituents, no fare hikes!

What can I say? What can I do? I have no car; I have no choice. I'll just become more efficient in my travels. But I can give the world a stark comparison (all these numbers are from 2004, except the fare prices, which are current):

Toronto: Fares, per token (cheaper than cash, the same as Metropass if you travel 10 times per week) are $2.00, going up to $2.10. Start stocking up! Revenues from fares are 80% (this is generally known and stated in many places, but according to my calculations from the TTC's 2004 Annual Report, it's 92.8%, unless you factor in their separate operating subsidy, which makes it 69.2% -- can I just say the TTC's annual report is the most amateurish piss-poor document I've seen.) . The city and advertising pays the rest of the TTC's revenues. This year we will receive $132 million in gas tax from the province. That's 13.3% of total expenses, zero percent of capital expenses. Wow!

Vancouver: First off, they have a 10-year (10!!!) transportation and expansion plan. Be still my green heart. And just to kick more sand in our Toronto faces, they receive 38.7% of revenues from fares, 36.7% from fuel tax (provincial I assume), and 19.5% local (property taxes). They have a zone system, so per token equivalents range from $1.80 to $3.60. Fares are increasing commensurate with inflation. Must be nice.

Montreal: The biggest point here is that Montreal has more subway lines than Toronto. Why? Because it didn't have provincial governments saying, "No. We non-Torontonian Ontarian politicians are jealous. So you can't have any!" (except Bob Rae's and then the unions killed the day) Revenues break down into 45.8% from fares, 32.4% local, 7.5% regional, and 12.3% provincial. Token-equivalent fares are $1.92 per.

New York City: This comprehensive transit system, the most equivalent to Toronto's as it's the biggest system in the US and ours is in Canada, gets 57% of operating expenses from fares, 17% from local, 20% from state; 71% and 29% of capital expenses from local and federal respectively.

Chicago: It gets 43% of operating expenses from fares, 29% local, 22% state, 2% federal; 41%, 4%, and 55% of capital expenses from local, state, and federal respectively.

Detroit: The closest American city to us gets 13% of operating expenses from fares, 40% local, 34% state, and 13% federal; 20% and 80% from state and federal respectively for capital expenses.

(Above American information from National Transit Database) Federal assistance in the US comes from the Federal Transit Administration, which President Bush just granted another $1.5 billion. Our more liberal, environmentally- and socially-conscious federal government (even Conservatives are left of Bush) gives all of us Canadian public transit users nada, zero, zip.

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7 comments:

49erDweet said...

In my view you should be comparing TTC with the London underground system "the tube" to obtain a fairer comparision. Not in size, of course, but in character and economics.

Having said that, on whichever system one rides, whilst boarding or off-loading one should always remember to "mind the gap".
(unashamed plug of commenter's own blog ends).

talk talk talk said...

That would be a rather unfair comparison! The Underground is far more comprehensive than Toronto's subway. The bus system complements it exceedingly well. New lines were built under Thatcher with corporations chipping in bucks if they wanted to develop barren lands. Can't see ANY politician here having that kind of vision and moxie. And we just had a fare hike in lieu of increasing congestion. NO-ONE can say with a straight face that the Toronto subway is one-tenth as congested as the Underground! Rush hour is a piece of cake here compared to London's -- one time I was just glad my stop was the last one on the line and marvelled at being able to breathe while being crushed for many many stations.

Yeah, I'm one of those who grumbles at not getting a seat in the middle of the day, but really we're nowhere near as congested as other "world class" cities. I'd rather stand than pay more.

Well, at least the gap in Toronto stations are even and safe -- you could lose a cat down some of those Underground gaps!

49erDweet said...

Yes, but does TO have anything similar to those LU "buskers", with their music carrying through multi-layers of tube levels?

Nightimes, post theatre-time, the tube takes on an almost romantic aura. Briefly. Too briefly, I suppose.

Cheers

talk talk talk said...

We don't have multi-level stations like the LU, but we do have some great buskers. I particularly like the guy who plays the Chinese instrument (whose name escapes me) at the main Yonge-Bloor station. The Queen's Park station has great acoustics as you can hear the music all through the exits/tunnels but can't see the musician.

Apparently members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra play in our stations too.

My only beef is we don't have enough buskers.

Spazsquatch said...

I suppose it's not really the point, but Detroit does not have a subway system. It does have a very short elevated system that goes past a few unused corners of the mostly deserted downtown and barely skims the few areas where people want to be. If it had to rely on fares to continue operation, I suspect it would have but closed down years ago.

talk talk talk said...

I wondered why the subsidy rate for Detroit was so high. I've never been there, but I picked it as it's close to the border and Toronto and it was in the NT Database.

It's sad about its downtown. I thought Detroit had started revitalizing itself several years ago. What a waste of city real estate.

Spazsquatch said...

Detroit has come a long way from where it was even 10 years ago when I lived in the area, but that said it has a long way to go. It's a strange town, really unlike any other place I've ever been.

It's a fascinating example of how fast a city can fall from grace.