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January 5, 2016 – TTC Budget Cut affecting Seniors

I am writing to you to inform local seniors organizations and other concerned stakeholders about a cut to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) budget that will have direct impact on seniors’ living in our city. I hope to solicit feedback on this issue to ensure that seniors’ needs and interests are being protected.

The TTC is facing a $51-million shortfall in their annual budget. In order to save $400,000 (comprising 0.02% of the total budget), the Transit Agency has decided to stop replacing printed bus and streetcar schedules at stops throughout the city. Printed schedules would only remain at terminus points, such as subway stations, streetcar loops and some major intersections.

The TTC is replacing these printed schedules with signs listing the Transit Agency’s social media web pages, which direct riders to plan their trips using third-party smartphone applications. In place of printed schedules at bus stops, the TTC offers to mail out printed schedules at the customer’s request. The TTC further reminds riders that 200 LED signs at bus and streetcar shelters across the city provide real-time information on bus arrivals.

This cut is being criticized by some riders who say the move is unfair and inaccessible to older and low-income transit users who don’t have the costly smartphones necessary to access mobile applications.

The TTC confirmed it has no plans to reverse the change. By February, printed schedules will be removed from 144 of the City’s 162 bus routes.

This cut will have a direct impact on the seniors in Toronto who use transit daily.

I would like to know the opinion of your organization and its members with respect to this decision undertaken by the Toronto Transit Commission Board.

he two areas I am particularly interested in are:

  1. Is removing printed schedules on street-level bus routes a wise decision?
  2. How will this impact seniors in your organization, especially those most vulnerable?

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