Metro Morning

TTC CEO Andy Byford answers your burning transit questions

The King Street Pilot Project, time-based transfers, and the need for more bus service all came up in a Q&A with TTC CEO Andy Byford on Tuesday morning.

Byford sat down with CBC's Matt Galloway in a live broadcast from the back of a moving streetcar

TTC CEO Andy Byford was live from the back of a 501 streetcar answering questions from TTC riders on Tuesday morning. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

TTC CEO Andy Byford rode the 501 streetcar Tuesday morning with Metro Morning host Matt Galloway to answer questions from TTC riders. 

Bus service

Question from Steve Munro, transit advocate: Today the TTC board will be placing a very large order for new buses, but it says in the report these are one for one replacement of existing buses. When can people on bus routes expect to actually see more service rather than simply newer buses replacing older buses?

Andy Byford: In my tenure we have increased bus service in that we restored a lot of the cuts that were made in the previous mayoral administration, and we've increased the service by ten minutes or better, and all-day service has been restored to a number of routes. But I get that there is still a latent need out there, so in November of this year, we will be putting up to the board what I intend to be a pretty ambitious ridership growth strategy. And that will include some probably controversial and extensive recommendations for radically improved service. That comes at a cost of course, it's easy for me as a staff member to put up a proposal, it will be well-argued, there will be a business case behind it. Ultimately though, it will need funding and that is where the politicians will have to step in.

Transit advocate Steve Munro asked Byford about expanding bus service while Metro Morning host Matt Galloway looked on. (CBC)

Time-based transfers

Question from Sean Browne, via Facebook: Why are we trending away from the time-based transfers for our fare payment system? From what I understand, Presto was originally designed for time-based transfers, and time based transfers generally boost local ridership for errands and other local trips.

AB: Only because of the cost. The time-based transfers on St. Clair, I think I said had been on for three years, it's actually quite a lot more than that. It was actually a one-off, intended as a thank you for customers on the St. Clair route for putting up with years of construction and inconvenience while the route was constructed. We would love to implement time-based transfers across the whole network. That will definitely feature in the ridership strategy that I talked about earlier. But that comes at a cost — we calculate that would cost about $20 million dollars. So that does mean more investment for the TTC.

Traffic impact of King Street Pilot Project

Question from Justin Kozuch, from Facebook: What happens when the dispersal of traffic doesn't work [on King Street] and the current state of congestion continues to get worse?

AB: That is the reason I said that that's one of the measures of success that we're going to have a really close eye on. City planning has modeled that extensively, they have looked at what the knock-on effect would be of the dispersal of traffic. And clearly as the CEO of the TTC the last thing I want is for all of that traffic to divert to Queen and cause even worse problems for the Queen car. So we have looked at where traffic will go, its been modeled, if in real life that proves to be a problem then we'll have to evaluate that sooner rather than later.