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Transit under pressure in Ontario cities?

By shost at 10:32 pm on Sunday, August 12, 2007

A pair of news items seem to indicate that municipal transit systems appear to be under considerable pressure. Guelph and Toronto both in the news, for the following reasons:

* Guelph Transit reducing service during “rush hour” due to unsustainability of 30 minute service. Service changed to 40 minute during rush hours to ensure schedules can be kept for downtown connections. Reasons cited include heavier traffic (only to get worse due to this reduction) and budget inability to keep up with service demands (requiring more busses)

* Toronto is in a Financial crisis — and has made immediate cuts across the board to help make up a $575 million shortfall. While no transit specifics have been released yet, the TTC has agreed to $6 million in cuts from $30 million asked. When this news breaks, I will post it.

What is happening? Are there other cities under financial pressure, and why? What does this have to do with the gas tax money? In January 2005 Guelph recieved $1.4 million in gas tax money, added more service, new schedules, are these the reason for the shortfall? Will the provincial or federal Government  provide any additional gas tax money to help? Was this money forced upon Guelph to increase service (and spending) to only find it fall flat on it’s face a year and a half later? These are just thought experiments, and might not actually be true.. what do you think?

Are there any other cities in crisis? Time to analyze this and see if we have a pattern here — because eventually this will spill into other transit modes and affect the future of all transit modes. Keep an eye on this and ask your politicians what they are doing to ensure YOUR transit integrity.

- Steve Host, Guelph, Ontario.

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