The transit strike could end up costing OC Transpo more than two dozen new buses.
In order to make up for an estimated $22.7-million budgetary shortfall, due primarily to the strike, city staff are recommending OC Transpo put off acquiring 25 new buses this year to save $16.3 million and reduce the capital authority for bus additions by $6.4 million.
Prior to the strike, OC Transpo was targeting 104.5 million passenger trips in 2009. Due to the strike, city staff are now anticipated 17.5 million fewer passenger trips.
Combined with a slowing economy and the potential for additional temporary ridership loss, overall OC Transpo is now expecting only 80.1 million passenger trips in 2009.
This ridership loss is temporary and based on strike experiences in other cities will take up to a year to rebound, according to the report.
Those 24.3 million fewer trips translate into a $31.4-million loss of revenue, on top of what has already been lost through the free week and free weekends offered in February and the discounts for March passes.
The revenue loss could reach as high as $38 million, if the city decides to postpone a proposed 7.5 per cent fare increase scheduled for April until June.
The city’s transit committee will be considering that postponement Wed-nesday.
According to the staff report, the loss of revenue is balanced slightly by $15.3 million in savings made up from unpaid wages during the strike, lower fuel consumption and depreciation of the transit fleet.