LTC to ask for budget increases of 5-6% over next 4 years
The London Transit Commission (LTC) expects to ask for annual budget increases ranging between five and six per cent over the next four years.
This comes as ridership continues to soar in London, reflecting new demands for affordable and reliable transit.
In 2013, Londoners took 23.9 million rides-- a figure projected to reach 25.6 million in four years.
Transit Commissioner Harold Usher says the service must grow to meet that demand.
"It's one of the best investments that we have in London. It is growing tremendously. It's been a success."
Last year, city hall awarded the LTC a 2.4 per cent budget increase, but future LTC requests are projected to range between 4.9 and 5.9 per cent.
That would increase city hall's share of the LTC budget by $5.8 million over four years.
They are budget busting numbers for city hall, which is trying to keep a tight reign on taxes and its boards and commissions.
"I'm hopeful that the other boards and commissions don't believe that if the police got it now then we should get it. I think all of them need to understand there is not that much money to go around," says councillor Joe Swan.
LTC General Manager Larry Ducharme says even those increases will fail to keep pace with demand and don't include an additional $378-million investment expected in bus rapid transit
"This is the increased investment that we would require to virtually maintain what we have with some growth," says Ducharme.
He adds that these are estimates and not the final budget requests.
Over the four years, the city's share of transit costs would remain stable at 40 per cent.
Usher says the increases are called for in documents like ReThink London and the Downtown Master Plan, where Londoners said they want better transit over the next 20 years.
The alternative would see those aspirations abandoned.
"If we want to degrade the system, then we can let it go and nobody will want to take the bus," adds Usher.
The report is being considered Wednesday night.