Sunday, Nov 9
“Stop begging – start demanding federal transit funding” says TTC union as it issues major report on state of Toronto transit and what must be done to fix it
TORONTO/ The union that represents 10,000 Operations and Maintenance workers at the Toronto Transit Commission today presented a 160-page report – Toronto’s Transit Future – that analyzes in detail the many challenges facing the TTC and provides dozens of specific and costed-out recommendations for addressing them.
“Toronto’s transit crisis is worse than most people realize,” said Bob Kinnear, President of Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, to a City Hall press conference. “The TTC had been going downhill for many years, even before the four lost years of the City’s Ford administration, when transit services were cut and bickering about expansion projects paralyzed progress.”
“Governments at all three levels must act swiftly and decisively or our city’s further economic development will be strangled by intolerable road congestion and our increasingly polluted air will kill even more people than it does already.”
Kinnear said that the union’s report is unique in its depth of analysis, its rigorous cost accounting and its comprehensive recommendations covering everything from traffic signal priority to advanced rider information tools, to vehicle life extension programs to major multi-billion-dollar projects such as new LRT routes and Mayor-elect John Tory’s SmartTrack concept.
“We don’t have all the answers, nobody does,” said Kinnear. “But for the first time in our 115-year history as a union, we have consolidated in one place the vast knowledge and experience of our members on the operational and maintenance realities of our transit system. We’ve also consulted with transit experts and rider groups to produce a source document that will serve as a guide to informed discussion and decision-making for many months, if not years, to come.
Kinnear also said the 2015 Federal election presents an opportunity to use democracy to help resolve the funding crisis.
“It’s time to stop begging and start demanding,” he said.
“Our union wants to help spearhead a united city movement to make transit the number one issue in next year’s election. Whatever our different political allegiances may be, we must speak with one voice to all federal parties: ‘Don’t try to distract us with a multitude of tax breaks, regional rivalries and socially controversial hot buttons. Tell us exactly what you are going to do to help fix transit in Canada’s largest city, right now and into the future.
“Get out of your limos, get on a bus and compete for our votes.’”
ATU has launched a special website: TorontoTransitFuture.ca, which contains the full report, a separate 32-page summary, a short introductory video and social media feedback features.