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Buckle Up: LTC chair tells council it’s going to have to dig deeper for better transit service

The chair of the London Transit Commission (LTC) sent out a pointed message to London City Council Wednesday, saying that if council wants service improvements in transit, it’s going to have to dig deeper.

“So when we put our business case towards the budget, be prepared, buckle up because if you really want us to do all those things that people really want, it’s going to cost a significant amount of money,” said Sheryl Rooth.

“I find it very disheartening when I hear city council say they’re disappointed that this hasn’t been enacted, and that hasn’t been enacted. It costs money,” she added.

The comments came after a meeting of the London Transit Commission, in which the commission was asked to provide direction to LTC staff on the 2024-2027 budgets for growth in conventional and specialized transit.

But just maintaining a base budget without improvements comes with no small number of financial pressures, including rising diesel fuel pries, now 45 per cent higher than projected, along with a 48 per cent increase in general insurance costs.

LTC General Manager Kelly Paleczny said there’s no two ways about it, bus fares are going to have to go up. When that happens is to be determined.

“I think it’s fair to say that there will be fare increases in the next multi-year budget,” said Paleczny.

A number of paratransit riders were on hand for the Wednesday meeting as well, advocating for a service many say has let them down.

Among them was paratransit user Julie Iesinga, who is frustrated with the service, “Never knowing whether I can actually book a ride to get to where I need to go, and most importantly medical,” she expressed.

One of the ideas being looked at to reduce the burden on paratransit is to integrate it with conventional service, meaning that where possible, some paratransit users could take a regular bus instead of waiting for hours to take a specialized transit bus that may or may not arrive.

“So that will help mitigate the pressure on specialized, but at the same time we also recognize that we have to grow the hours on specialized because the number of registrants are growing,” said Paleczny.

The LTC’s final multi-year budget goes to city council at the end of August. Top Stories

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