Friday, July 27, 2007

Presto Chango - Let Me Pull More Revenue Out Of My Hat

Presto sounds like a good idea. It allows you to transfer between systems with a single pass. But from the documentation I received from Union Station this morning. It seems to be missing something.

Why would I want a Presto Card?

* Easy transfers within and between transit systems with just one
* No more searching for the right change
* Peace of mind. Riders who report a registered card lost or stolen
can have any remaining value transerred to a new card.

Wait a minute here, exact change, but what about my discounts I get now for Go Transit and TTC Passes. As we all know from recent news, so many people are using MetroPass that the TTC is short millions of dollars. So are these cards only aimed at people that don't have monthly passes?

You just have to look around when security officers are on Go Transit to see how many people pull out their Monthly Passes. They are cheaper and there is a government tax credit to make it even more so. The same for the TTC, you just have to look at the station entrances to see everyone pulling out their MetroPass. So my question is will the Presto Pass support individuals paying a flat rate for a month and then carrying their Presto pass instead of 2-3 transit passes. That would be very good. I currently have a Metro Pass and a Go Transit Pass, other have local transit on one end, Go Transit and MetroPass.

Let's break it down: I take Go Transit from burlingtion and MetroPass for the TTC every day.

Go Adult Pass $247.00
Metro Pass $99.75

Go 10 Ride $69.75 x 4 = $279
Metro Pass $99.75

Go Single Ride $7.65 x 2 x 5 x 12 = $306
Metro Pass $99.75

Go Adult Pass $247.00
Tokens $21.00 x 4 = $84

Go 10 Ride $69.75 x 4 = $279
Tokens $21.00 x 4 = $84

Go Single Ride $7.65 x 2 x 5 x 12 = $306
Tokens $21.00 x 4 = $84

Go Adult Pass $247.00
Cash fare: $2.75 x 2 x 5 x 4 = $110

Go 10 Ride $69.75 x 4 = $279
Cash fare: $2.75 x 2 x 5 x 4 = $110

Go Single Ride $7.65 x 2 x 5 x 12 = $306
Cash fare: $2.75 x 2 x 5 x 4 = $110

I await someone from Presto to clarify this as it could be a good marketing move for you to push this in your brochure too as there are a lot of us using the system this way.

From my calculations, the fare could be anywhere from $346.75 to $416 depending on how the Presto card works. Its only beginning so I am sure there will be more press on it coming soon and more information throught the newsletter. I suggest we all subscribe to the newsletter at and keep in the loop. It could be a good service but if we see now that it doesn't look useful we may want to let them know. They have many years before its fully implemented so lots of time to make changes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Save the Shepard Line. Buy token not your MetroPass?

I thought this was odd that more ridership meant a loss of $30 million but it
does make sense. Tokens are more expensive so TTC makes more money off them so with all of us buying MetroPasses we are costing the TTC money it needs to maintain the network. The thing that doesn't make sense is didn't they realize people are going to want to save as much money as possible. How come it took so long before they realized that they were $30 million dollars short? Sounds like they need a new accounting team to look at their books.

I wonder how many other of these things are being missed and maybe instead of a fare increase they could find another way to get the money. While we are at it let's get the new accountant to look into where all the gas tax money went.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Closing The Sheppard Line

Its interesting that the TTC would choose the Sheppard Line to close as this is the transit route for many to get to IKEA. For those familiar, IKEA is known for needing police to do traffic duty in their parking lots because of the number of people driving there. This route is not just for IKEA but it is an interesting fact.

Anyways, on to the true issue here. It seems that because the TTC has been so good at marketing to us to use them and with the government incentive tax credit we have all switched to Metro Passes. Since the TTC does not make a lot of money off them they are $30 million short. But the real issue here is that the government is collecting almost half the amount we are using to fill out tanks with gas. Where is that money going? Is it all going to public transit like it should? I remember David Miller was fighting for that.

In the past 5 years, gas prices have more than doubled, since half of that is tax and if it were going where it should (public transit) we should see some improvements in this sector.

The TTC and Go Transit lines are the heart of the transit systems in Ontario, so why are there already less buses on the road now than 5 years ago. Why is the system overcrowded? Why are we actually reducing service during this time when Gas Tax revenue is up?

Whose pockets are getting lined? What private companies are getting public money as profit for building public transit? Well let's see, there is CN who is building the new rail lines with government money only to own them later themselves because they own the land. So the goverment pays to build them then pays to use them. Ok the 407, the government helps pay to build it but how much money is the government seeing back, plus government workers such as police, and public transit (buses) have to pay to use it Ok the rapid transit link to the airport, goverment funded but privately run. These are but a few examples of waste.

The answer is clear, the government likes to look good for their pictures and cameos but when it comes to really being dedicated to a better transit system it turns out to be all smoke an mirrors.

Maybe this should be the subject of a Michael Moore movie, "Full of Gas Tax, Empty on Transit"

This is only one opinion. I look forward to seeing others comment on this issue.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Train 407 Where Are You? That's Right You Are Delayed

The key to delays on our systems have been told to us over and over. Government is not giving transit enough money so they are cutting corners and having to order replacement stuff at the last minute sometimes these will create more than delay but also could be a danger to the passengers. Note in the July 5, 2007 article that the Train 407 is delayed 50% of the time and that one of the potential causes is the reduction of staff on the trains that happened in January.
But this is Go Transit you say the TTC is the Better Way. Well I have pasted in an article about that too.

The TTC is having its own issues, from the older article I found on them but the new chief over there is starting to get things going by doing much needed repairs on subway stations. Things were really starting to fall apart. The construction means delays but so be it if it means we are going to be safer. On the other hand Go Transit is delaying us, but not to make us safer.

Excerpts from July 5, 2007

Transit packed its schedule with trains over the last decade, partly to make up
for a lack of new tracks and infrastructure, but the result is brief holdups can
begin a cascade effect.

This train, identified by GO as No. 407, is chronically late because it runs at
the end of rush hour, according to agency chief Gary McNeil.
It is delayed at
least five minutes almost 50 per cent of the time, he says, and has one of the
worst records of all GO trains.
There is so little time between trains that
small delays during peak hours get compounded, he says.
“It’s symptomatic of
the majority of the GO system, especially along the Lakeshore line and the
Georgetown line and Richmond Hill lines.
“We are operating at capacity, from
a train movement perspective. Everything has to function to 100 per cent in
order to keep all the trains on schedule.
“There’s literally no slough in any
of the times.”
GO Transit packed its schedule with trains over the last
decade, partly to make up for a lack of new tracks and infrastructure, but the
result is brief holdups can begin a cascade effect.
McNeil admits the recent
change from two locomotive engineers on Lakeshore trains to one has cost
precious minutes when trains turn around.
McNeil says this problem should
“evaporate” when a new crewing contract begins next year.
As for train 407,
GO has asked CN Rail for permission to shift an earlier run by three minutes to
ease the pressure on the schedule.

Excerpts from October 17, 2006 :

Quote from Bob Boutillier:

“This last year in particular has been, I guess, the perfect storm — the
retirement of old buses, late deliveries (of new buses), and on top of that we
had to do a lot of warranty work that we would not normally do
(due to a manufacturing flaw that led to small fires on some

Next is a persistent shortage of bus operators,
by a higher-than-normal rate of new drivers failing the training

“There are actually seven ... command posts where you have people sitting in front of the computer — and it’s old technology.”
Some of these routes have 20 or 30 buses, and one person may handle eight or nine routes. More supervisors would mean more cost to the TTC, as would a decent notification system to tell riders why their bus is late, or why a vehicle must be short-turned. Getting the word out won’t fix the problem, but at least explain to us what’s happening."

I think that getting the word out lets people know how short changed we are when it comes to safe and reliable public transit and the reasons is our tax dollars are not going to transit. On top we expect people to stop driving and take it.