At the end of August, the TTC hastily passed a motion to eliminate the
"free" metropass parking in favour of charging all riders to park at any of
the lots. However, upon doing the math, none of what the TTC says adds up.
Let's start with the 6.3 million dollars the TTC says it costs to operate
the lots and the 2.7 million dollars they actually generate from those who
pay to park in them. Without any other information, we’ll take these
figures at face value. This results in a 3.6 million dollar short fall that
the TTC must cover, which is what TTC chair Adam Giambrone wants to
First off, he stated in an interview, "It's not appropriate for the average
TTC rider to be subsidizing between 10 and 15 cents out of their fare for
parking lots." Let's take a moment and focus on his numbers: 10 to 15 cents
per fare to subsidize parking. Now let's do the math: in 2007 the TTC had
459,769,000 passenger trips (according to their website) and if 10 cents
were taken from every fare, the result would be nearly 46 million dollars!
In fact, if only 1 cent were taken from each fare, the result would be a
little over 4.5 million dollars, which more than covers the 3.6 million
dollar parking gap. Clearly TTC chair Giambrone did not check his facts and
figures on that one!
Second, let's think about that "free" parking concept. The majority of
riders who use metropass parking are ones who use the TTC on workdays only
(they park and then take the subway to work downtown). Now, if these riders
purchased tokens for their workday only trips, it would average out to a
cost of about $94 per month over the year (taking into account holidays,
vacation, etc), which is $15 less than a metropass. So those 10,000+
metropass holders who use parking are paying on average a $15 premium to
park in the TTC lots, which translates into about 1.8 million dollars.
Taking this into account, the parking cost gap is really only 1.8 million
dollars, which makes the numbers above even more incorrect.
In fact, it the TTC wanted to see the parking lots break even; they could
introduce a “premium” metropass that includes parking for only $125 per
month. That’s an increase of only $16 per month shouldered only by those
who use parking. Considering that, it is more than likely most people would
continue to use the TTC as they do now, so it’s more than possible for the
TTC to stop losing money on their parking lots while keeping almost all
their riders. This approach also would not have the negative aspects of Mr.
Giambrone’s, such as increased pollution and traffic congestion in Toronto
from those who would no longer be able to afford the TTC and would drive
into the core instead. Even if one took the arguably incorrect figures and
said parking costs the TTC 3.6 million dollars a year, a $139 premium
metropass would eliminate that. An extra $30 per month, or an extra $1.5
per day is not too unreasonable when all things are considered. So why was
this never considered?
Moreover, if the appropriate time were taken to fully examine the plan to
charge for all parking, they would surely have been able to come up with
more accurate numbers when it comes to how many riders will be lost, how
many will stop paying that $15 premium, etc. Those debates would have
brought to light that the best overall financial results of this plan would
be to break even, just like the proposal above (this takes into account many
estimates, such as what happens when many people who pay for parking go on
vacation, or a snow storm hits and they decide to stay home or take the
bus). One big problem with switching from a subscription based payment
system to a pay per use system is that each day is different and overall
revenue is subject to the whims of the users. In the end this move may
actually see the TTC lose money (remember, the cost of operating the TTC
parking lots must now include all the lost revenue this plan results in,
putting the operating costs of the parking lots over 10 million dollars
annually using the TTC's own figures).
Now getting back to Mr. Giambrone's comments about users not subsidizing
parking, the bottom line is that everybody subsidizes hundreds of services
they never use through their taxes. Just look at the TTC for an example.
People who take a bus or the subway just 2 or 3 stops are subsidizing the
cost of the people who travel for 10 or 20 sotps. The cost of a metropass
translates into just under 49 rides if paid by tokens. How many metropass
holders take more than 49 rides a month? How many hand their pass to a
friend or family member so that the pass itself is used for more than 49
rides in a month? How many rides over 49 per metropass are taken each
month? Each year? All those free rides get subsidized by all the other TTC
riders. Does that mean we should eliminate the metropass program? No, of
course not, just as this shouldn't mean the end to metropass parking.
Actually, if one follows the logic of Mr. Giambrone and those TTC
Commissioners who voted to pass this motion, all TTC riders should be
required to pay one fare to ride the bus and one to ride the subway. After
all, why should the people who only never ride the bus have their subway
fare go to support the bus system, or why should the people who never ride
the subway have their fares go towards supporting the subway system?
Perhaps that’s a snapshot of what’s to come with the TTC.
We, the undersigned, call on the TTC to reverse course on their decision to eliminate Metropass parking. It is clear that this decision was made without proper research and without exploring viable alternatives.
We believe that if there is a problem, a proper period must be given to draft multiple solutions, and research must be conducted to determine the impact of each. The best solution will be the one that is not just the best for the TTC, but best for those who use the service and for the city of Toronto in general.
No plan should be implemented without such proper review and debate.
The TTC Must Reverse Course on Parking Charge petition to TTC was written by RJP and is in the category Roads & Transport at GoPetition.