Setting a standard for transit

Natalie Alcoba, reporting on statements from Councillor Adam Vaughan at today’s special TTC budget meeting:

[Vaughan] said people who can’t take a bus to work late at night won’t take it for the other leg of the commute.

“Next year you will have a whole new host of underperforming routes,” he said. “Part of the way to find the way around it is to take a blind leap of faith is to grow the system and not shrink the system.”

via TTC urged to reconsider cutbacks to bus services | Posted Toronto | National Post.

People can make easy rationalizations for cutting low-performing routes, and maybe some of them are justified. The problem I have is two-fold:

First, this kind of strategy defines transit as a convience rather than the vital cornerstone of city building. The city could save a lot of money on road repairs by shutting down poorly used roads, but they’d never consider that. And for good reason — because, over time, underused roads become well-used roads. Cities change and evolve and grow.

Second, depending on who you ask the cuts are either a) being done to save money or b) not cuts at all, as the resources will be shifted to other routes in September.

Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby spins it as the former in Alcoba’s article, saying “We are in tight times. No choices are good choices. I know that.” But the official line is still that these are not cuts but rather adjustments – how can they have it both ways?

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