Rob Ford opposes all-door streetcar boarding
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said Tuesday he supports some, but not all, of the measures called for in a recent report on ways to improve bus and streetcar service on the TTC.
Speaking at his weekly campaign announcement, Ford said he is not in favour of two of the nine measures called for in the report: all-door loading on streetcars and a fare structure that would allow riders to step on and off TTC vehicles over a two-hour period for the price of one fare.
Ford says he's opposed to all-door loading because it will require the TTC to hire new fare inspectors.
"I don't want to see the TTC hire more security people," said Ford. "I don't support this honour system."
The TTC had intended to introduce all-door loading in conjunction with the rollout of its new streetcars, a process that begins on Aug. 31 on the 510 Spadina Route. However the report recommends going to all-door loading on all streetcars right away to speed service. Currently about 20 per cent of every streetcar journey is spent loading and unloading as passengers form a choke point at the front door. All-door loading on the full streetcar network will speed loading but require the hiring of dozens of new fare inspectors.
As for the two-hour travel privilege fare, Ford said it could lead to disputes between TTC staff and riders. Allowing such stopovers would cost the TTC about $20 million a year in lost revenue.
Ford said he supports other elements in the report, including improvements to provide "10-minute or better service" though that would require $13 million for new vehicles and about the same amount in increased annual operating costs.
The report will be up for discussion at today's TTC board meeting.
Earlier Tuesday, TTC CEO Andy Byford described all-door streetcar boarding as a measure that "materially speeds up the passage of streetcars through the streets."
The TTC is tabling the report as a way to examine ways to improve the service for a relatively low cost with many of the major capital improvements to the TTC, such as the Eglinton-Crosstown line, years away from completion.
Byford said he expects councillors can pick and choose aspects of the report. Byford admits many of the enhancements outlined in the report will require money not yet allocated by the city.
"We're not asking the city to do all of these," he said. "We're going to Ottawa and Queen's Park to bang the table for equitable funding for the TTC."