TTC ridership down due to lack of new service: deputy CEO
Weekend closures and harsh weather possible reasons for fewer rides than expected
The TTC's growth in ridership this year has fallen short of expectations.
According to a report going to the TTC board tomorrow, ridership this year has been lower than expected. The commission had anticipated 545 million rides this year but that figure has since been adjusted to 539 million.
Chris Upfold, the TTC's Deputy CEO and Chief Customer Service Officer, spoke to the CBC's Metro Morning on Tuesday. He said the lack of growth is most likely because riders are taking fewer trips in off-peak hours.
He attributed the shortage to cold weather and the many unavoidable weekend closures the TTC had for maintenance. Upfold also said the TTC hasn't been able to add new service for the last three to five years and has been suffering as a result.
"Nobody can be surprised that when you don't put product on the street — no one is going to take it," he said. "The first time we've added service was in September and October of this year."
Toronto Mayor John Tory also spoke to Metro Morning and blamed the problem on the cuts the TTC had to endure during Rob Ford's years as mayor.
"It's natural that when you cut service, you cut ridership," Tory said.
Upfold also said that the TTC loses two to three million rides on a 10-cent fare increase but that it factors that into its projections.
He said the TTC isn't close to a crisis yet but there is a worry that governments focus more on new transit projects rather than maintaining current service.