By: Jefferson Marshall
The TTC is beginning the new year with a bumpy start as the first two months’ ridership numbers have shown a significant decline compared to years previous.
The ridership update released Wednesday morning showed the TTC carried 80.6 million passengers in the months of January and February. That is 700,000 fewer than last year.
There were 39.6 million trips in January, and 41 million in February.
“It’s too early to worry about that, would be my advice,” CEO Andy Byford said in a statement quoted by the Toronto Sun.
“But we’re keeping a very close eye on it,” Byford said during the TTC board’s monthly meeting Wednesday.
But the ridership decline is not new. Last summer the TTC had a budget deficit of $25 million.
TTC representative Brad Ross, however, is not too worried at the time being.
“It’s a little early to be hitting the panic button just yet.” he said
In the city of Toronto, there are many other factors that could have contribute to the ridership decline. According to speculation, it may be due to the minimal Metropass sales, downgraded local economic growth projections, and the irregular growth in part-time job employment.
Another problem that could lead to less riders is the usage of fake Metropasses.
The TTC will try to crack down on youths that try to get on transit for free.
“I think the reason why people try to get free rides is because [transit] is getting way too expensive,” said Andrew Nakashima, who is a regular TTC user and student.
“They have the price around $4 and they keep jacking up the prices and it has gotten to the point where it’s getting too expensive for the average person.”
Despite this current debacle Byford feels Toronto isn’t the only city going through a transit setback.
“All US [systems] are experiencing similar phenomena,” he said at the board meeting. “The TTC is actually better off than the majority of the U.S. ones.”