Comment 119305

By Haveacow (registered) | Posted June 14, 2016 at 09:51:44

Yes, If you look at the city's website on the average bill 17% is for transit however, that is an average of all property taxes residential and commercial. Roughly 38% of my bill is transit either the direct transit levy or LRT system charge, which is inline for all residential properties in the urban transit zone of the city. Yes, we also have the highest transit levy as a percentage of our total tax bill in the province.

Part of that is because of the large bus fleet required with Transitways (BRT Busways). In 2011-12 our bus fleet was almost 1100 buses (1087). This is why we switched to Double Decker Buses (which are very expensive) for our express routes. They hold more than articulated buses and the express routes don't require a massive number of people getting out of the bus all the time. The vast majority (85%) of all the passengers are getting off at 1 of 5 downtown Transitway Stops, thus mostly eliminating the main drawback of Double Decker buses, the difficulty with exiting the upper deck. These buses replaced older buses on a 2 to 3 ratio. For every 3 retired only 2 replaced them. The fleet now numbers around 940 in 2016.

Due to cost problems, many of the express bus lines were merged as well. This following another huge merger of many more express routes in 2003-2005 period, mainly due to the very low return of express routes. They are very convenient for suburban passengers but most express routes in the 2003-5 period were only covering 30-40% of costs through their fares because of the massive one way passenger traffic flow, the bus must return back to the beginning of the route out in the suburbs empty. This led to almost 1 km out of every 5km or 19.7% of all the vehicle km's that OC Transpo traveled were as "deadheading" and not bringing in any money, also the highest in the province. The provincial average is around 7%. This process simply reversed directions in each peak period. Even today, most express routes barely break 45% return of costs through fares. The whole system only recovers 52% of operating costs through fares and still 16% of vehicle km's are not collecting revenue "deadheading". By increasing the length of our Transitway System we were forcing larger and larger costs on to our transit budget. The LRT system will shorten much of the distance the express routes will have to travel because most will simply drop off passengers at the end of the LRT lines. A few routes will still go all the way downtown but not many.

Buses can be effective rapid transit vehicles to a point but the longer the route and the greater the number of passengers, multiplies the operating costs of using them as a rapid transit vehicle. The system's busiest Transitway route for example, the "route #95" moves almost 50,000 people a day but requires a fleet of almost 60 articulated buses a day to move those passengers, for just this route alone. There are 8 other 90 series "Transitway only Bus Routes" as well as the many, many other bus routes that also use the Transitway as part of their daily route for crosstown travel. Transitway Routes 95 and 97 also operate 24 hours a day. The long length of some of these Transitway routes (25-38 km one way) forces even greater number of buses on the system just to maintain the basic 15 minute all day (5:30am-01:00am) Transitway only bus schedule frequency on each route. Roughly 70% of all OC Transpo's daily ridership (345,000) uses the Transitway as part of their journey.

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