A Tale of Transit Woes in Two Large Metropolitan Cities

I found the following very interesting.  Today there are two stories around the same topic – public transportation and reducing costs of it, and the actions taken to correct it are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  The pathetic Canadian response refuses to touch the fact that the TTC holds the city hostage with their extremely high salaries, poor customer service, questionable work ethic and the ability to strike at a moments notice.  The MTA in New York also in debt offers up a solution right up front… Read on.  

Toronto – A Toronto Member of Provincial Parliament’s bid to have the TTC designated an essential service is being derailed by the Liberal government because Toronto’s City Hall refuses to ask the province to outlaw transit strikes.

Liberal member David Caplan (Don Valley West – Toronto) introduced private member’s legislation Monday that would strip Toronto Transit Commission workers of the right to strike.

While the MPP’s bill passed first reading by a vote of 39 to 7 – with the unanimous support of Progressive Conservative (right wing) and Liberal (centre) members, including six cabinet ministers, and the New Democrats (left-wing, union / welfare loving party) dissenting – the government intends to quash it.

The bill “does not reflect the government’s position,” Liberal Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne told reporters.

“The municipality (Toronto) would have to ask for that action and that has not happened,” said Wynne, adding “costs can increase” because arbitrated deals are often more costly.

Caplan, a former cabinet minister, said arbitration is already the norm because strikers are routinely legislated back to work as soon as they hit the bricks.

“There is significant dissatisfaction with the service on the TTC … the unreliability and the work disruptions that I have seen. People will not ride a system which is not reliable,” he said.

Deriding the bill as “a pathetic political ploy,” TTC union president Bob Kinnear, who engineered a wildcat strike in 2006 and a legal stoppage in 2008, blamed those disruptions on Queen’s Park failing to adequately fund transit.

TTC chair Adam Giambrone (Toronto council member with a reputation from promiscuity) warned “this piece of legislation could end up costing tens of millions to the city and the province wouldn’t pay anything.”

While (Toronto’s left-wing commi-pinko) Mayor David Miller supports the status quo, the two leading contenders to succeed him in October welcomed Caplan’s bill.

“Concern about the cost of arbitrated wage settlements aside, (it) reflects an appropriate source of concern about the cost of TTC service disruptions to the city and commuters,” Mayoral candidate and former Liberal cabinet minister, George Smitherman said in a statement.

Former Liberal strategist and mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi said the bill “shows there is clearly a larger role the province can play fixing the TTC.”

Among Toronto city councillors (the majority of whom are left-wing) in 2008 rejected by one vote a motion to ask the province to make TTC workers an essential service, opinions remained split on Monday.

While in New York…

New York –  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will try to clean up some red ink by handing out pink slips to more than 1,000 employees.

MTA Chairman Jay Walder says the layoffs are extremely painful but the agency must live within its means.

“The State’s economic crisis demands that the MTA move quickly and decisively to cut costs, and that is exactly what we are doing,” Walder said.

The MTA plans to eliminate more than 600 administrative positions and it will begin laying off up to 500 transit station agents.

The MTA said in December it was facing a $383 million budget gap. It’s due largely to a cut in state aid and lower-than-expected revenues from a payroll tax.  On Tuesday, they announced another $378 million gap which had developed this year based on revised state revenue projections.

The MTA said management employees whose jobs are cut will be offered a severance package.

“This is just the beginning of a comprehensive overhaul of how the MTA does business,” Walder said. “We will be reducing overtime, consolidating redundant functions and working with suppliers to lower costs. We will not stop until I can say that every dollar the MTA receives is spent wisely.”

What a novel concept.

I want the MTA running the TTC… Right away.  Screw the mandatory unionized wage increases and the fare increases.


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