by Councillor Josh Matlow for the Town Crier
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has stated that customer service is an important part of their mandate and has promised sweeping changes in response to numerous public complaints.
When I took office as the new city councillor for Ward 22 St. Paul’s last December, I looked forward to assisting in the revitalization of the TTC.
I still do.
However, I believe the TTC took a step backward recently when they adopted service reductions to 41 bus routes across Toronto that they have determined are underutilized based on arbitrary formulas and outdated statistics.
Although I worked with concerned local residents to restore partial weekend service on the Avenue Rd. 5 and the Mt. Pleasant 74 and evening service on the Avenue Rd. 5, the following service reductions to routes that travel through midtown are slated to begin on May 8, 2011: Avenue Rd. 5 – Service ending at 10:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. Service ending at 7 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Glencairn 14 – No service after 10 p.m., every day. Forest Hill 33 – Service ending at 7 p.m., Monday-Friday. No service Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Mt. Pleasant 74 – No service after 7 p.m., every day.
I’ve received numerous emails and phone calls from constituents advocating to retain service on these routes and I have personally visited these threatened bus routes during the hours proposed for reduction to speak with riders and learn more from them about how they use this service.
I met a senior with mobility issues on the Mt. Pleasant 74 who told me that he would be “trapped” without evening bus service. I also met a woman who has volunteered most weekends for the last decade at a downtown museum who, without weekend bus service, will no longer be able to make her important contribution to our city.I’m very cognizant of the importance of being responsible with our tax dollars. I’m also aware that the TTC is a public service. These local bus routes are the only transportation option for many seniors, students and workers in midtown Toronto. Many residents in our community and across the city rely on public transit to go grocery shopping, travel home from work, visit family or attend religious services on the weekend.
Moreover, I’m concerned about the safety of individuals, including seniors and women, traveling after dark who can’t afford a taxi and will be left with long walks to their homes.
As your advocate, I will continue working hard to improve the TTC and find solutions to our budget challenges that retain services Toronto residents rely on.
For more information on these TTC service reductions, please visit my community website at: www.joshmatlow.ca.