TTC will be less frequent, more crowded in 2012

The TTC has released a list of 52 bus routes that will face service reductions in 2012.

The TTC says it will reduce its 2012 budget by $15 million, as requested by the mayor, by reducing staff and service but without cutting any routes or hours of operations.

Click here for the list of affected routes

The commission said Thursday it made a decision to return to pre-2004 "load" levels. That means that buses and streetcars will be more crowded and less frequent.

For example, "capacity on a bus will be adjusted from an average of 48 customers to 53 customers during the busiest hour on that route," the commission said.

At the same time, TTC chair Karen Stintz says a fare hike is likely in the new year — at least 10 cents.

The service changes will take effect in January. (CBC)

In total 52 bus routes will face reductions in the peak periods.  Another 36 bus and streetcar routes will face reductions in the off-peak periods.

The TTC said it did its best to make sure that no routes were actually cut.

"Cutting routes and reducing hours of operations, however, were not options TTC staff considered. Rather, the TTC found a way to maintain all bus and streetcar routes by adjusting loading standards, thereby protecting all routes next year." it said in a news release. 

And although the TTC says the initial changes mean less frequent and more crowded service, it also plans to increase "service in January, with 21 bus and streetcar routes ..."

Earlier this year Mayor Rob Ford ordered all city departments and agencies to cut their budgets by 10 per cent.

CBC reporter Nil Koksal said that the TTC riders she spoke to Thursday were upset by the news, which coincided with a transit commission town hall meeting at Toronto City Hall in the evening.

Chris Upfold, the TTC's customer service officer, said he expects anger at the cuts.

"Coming through this, we want to look forward to the new Toronto rockets, the new streetcars, and this is getting our books in order for that," he said. "And hopefully in 2013 and 2014 we can add some of the service back in."