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The examples of privately owned transit systems you provided that work are purely because the fact the whole city is dense enough to support such ridership, and car insurance rates are through the roof because of...wait for it...government!

How about you provide an example of a privately owned transit system that has about the same population and density as Toronto? Actually, I'll do it for you: Melbourne. Read up on their transit system, and then come back to us about that.

Even if you don't look at Melbourne, all you have to do is cross Steeles and look at the debacle of a privatized transit system known as YRT. Or better yet, whatever's left of YRT.

Final word on this, a transit system is NOT a business. It's meant to provide a service to the public, and as a public service provider, it's damn straight that the transit system will lose money.

(PS: On a side note, transit fares may be cheap in Hong Kong, but try doing grocery shopping there. When I was in HK last year, my grocery bills averaged $1500HKD weekly).

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"Final word on this, a transit system is NOT a business. It's meant to provide a service to the public, and as a public service provider, it's damn straight that the transit system will lose money."

Like I said before, I don't want to debate further since there's no end to this. People are stubborn sometimes and there's no way around it (I am not referring to you by the way). With regards to your quote however, yes the TTC is not a business and yes it's meant to provide a service to the public. Ok then, tell me this, how is INCREASING FARES, DECREASING SERVICE, FREQUENT DELAYS, DIRTY WASHROOMS and STATIONS, and HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE, providing service to the public? You call this service? Please...and I can't believe citizens are willing to pay more and pack themselves tighter on buses and streetcars and what not, like is there nobody out there think that this is ridiculous? Service...maybe it's time to check the dictionary again what service really means...If I was a server at a restaurant and my service to you was crap, would you want to eat here again? I certainly would not...

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"Final word on this, a transit system is NOT a business. It's meant to provide a service to the public, and as a public service provider, it's damn straight that the transit system will lose money."

Like I said before, I don't want to debate further since there's no end to this. People are stubborn sometimes and there's no way around it (I am not referring to you by the way). With regards to your quote however, yes the TTC is not a business and yes it's meant to provide a service to the public. Ok then, tell me this, how is INCREASING FARES, DECREASING SERVICE, FREQUENT DELAYS, DIRTY WASHROOMS and STATIONS, and HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE, providing service to the public? You call this service? Please...and I can't believe citizens are willing to pay more and pack themselves tighter on buses and streetcars and what not, like is there nobody out there think that this is ridiculous? Service...maybe it's time to check the dictionary again what service really means...If I was a server at a restaurant and my service to you was crap, would you want to eat here again? I certainly would not...

The TTC is in this predicament right now because our mayor is anti-transit and is slashing the funding, and the province has been absent from operational funding for 15 years now. Therefore, in order for ends to meet, we need to decrease service in order to decrease the expenses.

Fares have also been kept artificially low at the same time through both the Miller and Ford regimes, and it's been 2 or 3 years now without any substantial fare increase. IMO fares need to keep pace with budgetary inflation, otherwise you keep running into situations like now where fares are kept low for so long that you run out of 'spare capacity' in the budget and need to jump fares by a large amount. This creates situations like the last TTC fare hike when people were stockpiling tokens.

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...it's damn straight that the transit system will lose money.
What?!?! No it shouldn't. I know it does, 'cause the method of doing things is severely broken, but public transit SHOULD NOT lose money if operated correctly.
...tell me this, how is INCREASING FARES, DECREASING SERVICE, FREQUENT DELAYS, DIRTY WASHROOMS and STATIONS, and HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE, providing service to the public? You call this service? Please...and I can't believe citizens are willing to pay more and pack themselves tighter on buses and streetcars and what not, like is there nobody out there think that this is ridiculous?...
This is just more evidence to what I said before about politicians not listening to their constituents. There are plenty of vocal people out there, plenty of news reports that seem to have the finger on the pulse of the neighborhood showing example after example of how many people don't want to see these cuts, yet the politicians still go ahead with cutting transit to shreds. So I'd say that no the citizens are not willing at all, but it's happening anyway.
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Can you build an express subway from Finch to Union? Or even from Eglinton to Union? I'd love to see that...In the US, they have that for how long now? Hmm...I wonder...

3 systems in the US have express tracks: New York and Philadelphia and Chicago. All were built in the early 20th century.

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3 systems in the US have express tracks: New York and Philadelphia and Chicago. All were built in the early 20th century.

Dream on...we will never see those here in Toronto...because it's not needed at this point...but!! wait for it!! sooner, we will...and that time is...drum rolls...2050!!

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And how exactly do you figure that?

Dan

If and I know it's a big IF the transit system is run properly. It should balance out. It should NOT lose money. I think part of what needs to be changed is the idea that an efficiently run transit system is possible. Too many people think it's not possible so like a self forfilling proffecy it doesn't get run efficiently.
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If and I know it's a big IF the transit system is run properly. It should balance out. It should NOT lose money. I think part of what needs to be changed is the idea that an efficiently run transit system is possible. Too many people think it's not possible so like a self forfilling proffecy it doesn't get run efficiently.

GO Transit is the closest government-run agency in North America (IIRC) to breaking even; they are around a 94% cost recovery in terms of operation. To do this they're running 10-12 car trains where 1 in 4 people are standing and many of their bus trips are at 70 to 100% seated capacity. Their fare structure is also significantly higher than any other transit system (leaving GO to be seen as the "premium" service).

Face it... with the types of density found in North America as well as the car-based attitude, we are decades if not centuries from coming close to profitable transit systems.

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If and I know it's a big IF the transit system is run properly. It should balance out. It should NOT lose money. I think part of what needs to be changed is the idea that an efficiently run transit system is possible. Too many people think it's not possible so like a self forfilling proffecy it doesn't get run efficiently.

You are not explaining anything. You are just saying it should work because it should work. I wouldn't accept that explanation from my three year old.

Take a look at the 37D bus which operates into York region. Sometimes when this bus crosses Steeles, there may be only 4 or 5 people riding it. Impossible to make a profit or even balance out with only 5 fares, but the nature of Public Transit is that it is PUBLIC provided to those who need it, whether there be 5 riders or 50.

It is because it is is not an answer.

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You are not explaining anything. You are just saying it should work because it should work. I wouldn't accept that explanation from my three year old.

Take a look at the 37D bus which operates into York region. Sometimes when this bus crosses Steeles, there may be only 4 or 5 people riding it. Impossible to make a profit or even balance out with only 5 fares, but the nature of Public Transit is that it is PUBLIC provided to those who need it, whether there be 5 riders or 50.

It is because it is is not an answer.

I guess you missed my post with me example of the profitable routes subsidizing the non-profitable routes. Also routes like what you mention are one of the reasons why the government subsidizes. Perhaps my post to which you replied was a little "because I said so"ish, but I don't always have time to write a lengthy response. Also I don't have cost data on running TTC's head office, garages, employee payroll, revenue collected, amount of subsidies from the government etc. Perhaps some of it I could look up and find, but to be quite honest I have neither the time nor the inclination to look it up. Even if I did the data is irrelevant to what I say about running things properly. If I were to be given the task of fixing what is broken, then I would need those numbers to find and fix things. Since I'm no where near being close to considered for such a task I can only generalize. Based on your response I presume you think that public transit = must loose money or will loose money. I still say this need not be true, and I still say the attitude that public transit = must or will loose money is part of why it's so hard for anyone who is actually making attempts to change it are having little to no luck at it. The dynamics of how the TTC and pretty much any transit agency public or private operate are too much to nit pick at. So I'll do my best to explain better why I believe that balance should be possible given the right circumstances. Again I don't know TTC's cost/revenue etc numbers so I'm going to use fictitious numbers to illustrate my example. My example will not be to scale either so please don't tell me that $200,000 / day would not align with an income of $1,000,000. The scale is immaterial to what my point is.

All numbers are / day

Revenue = $1,000,000

Staff (office, drivers, etc) = $800,000

Vehicle (repair, maintenance etc) costs = $200,000

Fuel = $100,000

Government subsidy = $100,000

Total Expenses = $1,100,000

Total Income = $1,100,000

Everything balances out. Obviously this is not happening now since we always see news articles about the shortfalls of money pretty much every year. Again I know my example is grossly out of proportion and missing finer details like amortization of properties, vehicles, other assets, I don't have a break down of the profitable routes to the non-profitable ones, but to get into that sort of detail is beyond my scope of willingness to devote time to. However for someone in a position in the government that could at the very least begin to make the appropriate changes, that is what they will have to do. Look at the many levels and sub levels of expenses and income. It's not rocket science, it's accounting.

Now what would be even better if it could actually make more then $1,100,000 and not be penalized by the government by reducing what the government gives them (I don't know how many times I've heard people in government agencies say things like "We have xyz dollars left this year, we better buy xyz worth of stuff we don't need or we will get less money next year"). That way the "profit" could be used for expansion of the system, which would make the "profit" not "profit" after all. Now take this example and apply it to each and every government subsidized agency and things may start turning around for Toronto, for Ontario, for Canada.

Will this ever happen?

"I have a dream!!"

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Isn't what they are talking about similar to the arrangement that GO Transit has with who runs their trains? GO transit doesn't have their own Engineers, they are operated by Bombardier and CP.

They are also maintained by Bombardier. The tracks are maintained by CN Rail.

Is that not a form of Public/Private Transit run by a Public Agency? Do you see something wrong with that?

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Isn't what they are talking about similar to the arrangement that GO Transit has with who runs their trains? GO transit doesn't have their own Engineers, they are operated by Bombardier and CP.

They are also maintained by Bombardier. The tracks are maintained by CN Rail.

Is that not a form of Public/Private Transit run by a Public Agency? Do you see something wrong with that?

Some of the tracks are maintained by CN. GO owns the Lakeshore lines IIRC, and are responsible for all costs on those lines.

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I guess you missed my post with me example of the profitable routes subsidizing the non-profitable routes.
The main problem with your analysis is the assumption that TTC has profitable routes with which to subsidize non-profitable routes. The reality is they may have routes that have high cost recovery, but that recovery is still well below 100%. The last numbers that I have seen were published back in 2005, but at that time there were only 2 routes that were above 70% cost recovery and none above 82%. Things may be somewhat different now, but I doubt that they are vastly different.

There are ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs in the long run, by investing large sums of cash initiailly. For example, installing a lot more fare dispensing machines, more turnstiles and getting rid of ticket collectors entirely.

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The main problem with your analysis is the assumption that TTC has profitable routes with which to subsidize non-profitable routes. The reality is they may have routes that have high cost recovery, but that recovery is still well below 100%. The last numbers that I have seen were published back in 2005, but at that time there were only 2 routes that were above 70% cost recovery and none above 82%. Things may be somewhat different now, but I doubt that they are vastly different.

There are ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs in the long run, by investing large sums of cash initiailly. For example, installing a lot more fare dispensing machines, more turnstiles and getting rid of ticket collectors entirely.

Agreed, however the last point that may be a sticking point for both mgmt. and the union. It's my understanding that most ticket collectors are there because of medical/health, legal issues, age, etc., hence I would think there is neither any practical or easy way to do away with them,...in the short term anyway. In doing so, it also may be in their collective agreement that TTC would have to find and place them in similar type work so no real cost savings there.

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The main problem with your analysis is the assumption that TTC has profitable routes with which to subsidize non-profitable routes. The reality is they may have routes that have high cost recovery, but that recovery is still well below 100%. The last numbers that I have seen were published back in 2005, but at that time there were only 2 routes that were above 70% cost recovery and none above 82%. Things may be somewhat different now, but I doubt that they are vastly different.

There are ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs in the long run, by investing large sums of cash initiailly. For example, installing a lot more fare dispensing machines, more turnstiles and getting rid of ticket collectors entirely.

Well presto will take care of that problem for the most part in time, mind u not entirely but my guess is that maybe 10 yrs from now most transit riders in toronto will have a presto card on hand, so maybe eliminating ticket collectors at low use subway station like chester can save some money but like I said all in due time.

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Well presto will take care of that problem for the most part in time, mind u not entirely but my guess is that maybe 10 yrs from now most transit riders in toronto will have a presto card on hand, so maybe eliminating ticket collectors at low use subway station like chester can save some money but like I said all in due time.

How will a Presto card make a difference to those using Metropasses or tokens - which don't need a human to interface with?

A lot of you guys make it sound like a Presto card is the panacea that will solve all of the TTCs ills. It's just a single tool that will do all the same stuff that a bunch of different tools do now.

Dan

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The main problem with your analysis is the assumption that TTC has profitable routes with which to subsidize non-profitable routes. The reality is they may have routes that have high cost recovery, but that recovery is still well below 100%. The last numbers that I have seen were published back in 2005, but at that time there were only 2 routes that were above 70% cost recovery and none above 82%. Things may be somewhat different now, but I doubt that they are vastly different.

There are ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs in the long run, by investing large sums of cash initiailly. For example, installing a lot more fare dispensing machines, more turnstiles and getting rid of ticket collectors entirely.

I know, but I'm not claiming or assuming that the profitable ones can subsidize 100%, in fact the word subsidize isn't 100%, if I were assuming 100% I would not have used the word subsidize. The main problem with my analysis is that it isn't reality. What I outlined is the was the way that it is supposed to work. The government fills in for what the revenue can not.
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How will a Presto card make a difference to those using Metropasses or tokens - which don't need a human to interface with?

A lot of you guys make it sound like a Presto card is the panacea that will solve all of the TTCs ills. It's just a single tool that will do all the same stuff that a bunch of different tools do now.

Dan

They're also assuming that Presto will automatically mean the TTC will get rid of collectors. Being that the vast majority of subway systems I've ridden both on this continent and in Europe still have collectors despite their use of smart cards, I highly doubt the TTC will count itself amongst those that don't.

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They're also assuming that Presto will automatically mean the TTC will get rid of collectors. Being that the vast majority of subway systems I've ridden both on this continent and in Europe still have collectors despite their use of smart cards, I highly doubt the TTC will count itself amongst those that don't.

Ya, and even when it gets to the point where collectors are not really needed for collecting, it never hurts to have a real live person on hand that can answer question about how to get to places, instructions on use of the system for first time users or out of town visitors, helping with an emergency situation. There is more to being a collector then collecting fare.

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I know, but I'm not claiming or assuming that the profitable ones can subsidize 100%, in fact the word subsidize isn't 100%, if I were assuming 100% I would not have used the word subsidize. The main problem with my analysis is that it isn't reality. What I outlined is the was the way that it is supposed to work. The government fills in for what the revenue can not.
I think you are missing the point I was trying to make. You can't subsidize anything with routes that aren't profitable themselves. If route X requies a subsidy of 30% to break even, there is no way it can subsidize route Y that needs 50% to break even. Perhaps it can be done through some sort of clever accounting trick, but at the end of the day both routes will still need to be subsidized. As it stands, your analysis probably applies to some of the profitable systems in Asia, but not too what we have here in Toronto.
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I think you are missing the point I was trying to make. You can't subsidize anything with routes that aren't profitable themselves. If route X requies a subsidy of 30% to break even, there is no way it can subsidize route Y that needs 50% to break even. Perhaps it can be done through some sort of clever accounting trick, but at the end of the day both routes will still need to be subsidized. As it stands, your analysis probably applies to some of the profitable systems in Asia, but not too what we have here in Toronto.

I don't believe for a second that routs like 29 Dufferin, 32 or 34 Eglinton, the YUS line, 501 Queen or 506 Carlton (others) are not money makers for the TTC. But lets go with what you say about 0 lines making money. It still doesn't change that the way it SHOULD work is that the government picks up the rest to make it balance. That's the whole point when government subsidizes anything. Make the books balance.

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