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TTC wins big with subsidy

Transit is being touted as a winner in this year’s city budget, with $91 million extra being added to the TTC’s operating subsidy.

Transit is being touted as a winner in this year’s city budget, with $91 million extra being added to the TTC’s operating subsidy.

Riders shouldn’t expect that to buy the kind of dramatic service improvements that were rolled out last year, but there will be some modest increases in service quality and quantity, said TTC chair Adam Giambrone.

The TTC has an operating budget of about $1.3 billion. The city is approving a 2009 subsidy of about $394 million to cover costs not covered through the fare box.

But a boost to increase bus frequencies to 20 minutes from 30 won’t take place until at least November and will probably wait longer, he said.

The money, the drivers and even the buses — thanks to problems with the new hybrids — needed to boost frequency just won’t be there for most of the year.

There will, however, be more subway service in the hours shouldering the morning and afternoon rush, and the system should look better kept with the addition of more cleaners, bricklayers and carpenters.

Despite the troubled economy, ridership growth of about three per cent is expected to continue this year, largely because of the service improvements launched in 2008.

In the downturn of the 1990s, service was slashed and the TTC laid off 1,600 people. “That’s not happening” this time, Giambrone said.

 
 
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