Adam Giambrone dazzles us with numbers, but stops short of going for the throat
In a column in this week’s Now, Adam Giambrone vents some frustrations about the TTC’s plans to pile more passengers onto already-crowded buses. The former TTC chair offers the kind of argument against cuts that you’d expect from an expert on the subject, complete with some good, hard figures. We just wish he’d be a little more explicit about who he’s angry with.
Last Friday, the TTC met to consider how to deal with a budget shortfall created by the regular rising costs of fuel prices and electricity as well as parts, and the inevitable arbitrated wage increases.
But to make matters worse, the city has proposed cutting its subsidy to the TTC by $46 million, from $429 to $383, although ridership continues to grow by upwards of 2 to 3 per cent. In total, this leaves an $85 million hole.
The Commission, in turn, voted to cut $20.9 million from service by changing the loading standard from 48 riders a bus (32 seated, 16 standing) to over 60, meaning more crowding on already jam-packed routes.
And that’s not all. Giambrone laments the constant discussion form the “current administration” on “how to dismantle what we’ve built together.” He also argues the province isn’t doing nearly enough to subsidize the TTC, and stresses that all of this could hang in the balance when voters go to the polls on October 6.
All well-argued points, but we still think Giambrone could borrow the advice that Slate’s Jack Shafer gave to Al Gore this past summer: “vilify your enemies by name.” When Giambrone expresses his disappointment in the current administration, why not tell us who, exactly, he’s disappointed in? Is it Rob Ford, Karen Stintz, or that other Ford? Is it all three? Or maybe’s his real beef’s with TTC management? Giambrone also could have gone one step further than merely scaring us about the provincial election and actually endorsed a candidate. Surely he has some idea whether Dalton McGuinty or Andrea Horwath are serious about their funding promises (presumably he’s not hoping for a Conservative win). Giambrone hasn’t shied away from calling people out by name in the past. After all, Now is known for many things, but pulling punches isn’t one of them.
• Taken for a ride on TTC cuts [Now]
• Al Gore, Press Critic [Slate]
2 thoughts on “Adam Giambrone dazzles us with numbers, but stops short of going for the throat”
He writes approvingly:
“One simple solution would be to have the province go back to funding 50 per cent of the operating deficit, as was done until the mid-1990s.”
This a main policy plank of the Ontario NDP.
Given that most people know that Giambrone was the President of the federal NDP, this comes as a shock to exactly no-one.
You also don’t have to do too much reading between the lines to see that he’s aiming at the Fords. Although being explicit would have been nice. Anyway, the enemy is clear enough for those with wit to see.
Anyone who is aware of the inner workings of the TTC knows that the organization is WAYYY too top heavy. Back in the 90s, then General Manager Dave Gunn really made it a lean organization, getting rid of many supervisory/administrative positions that were deemed to be contributing nothing to the organization’s mission. Since he left, and especially under current GM Gary Webster, these supervisory/administrative postions have been re-instituted — AND MORE. Many of these positions do squat to considering to the bottom line. (Some actually do considerable damage by instituting procedures, ways of doing things that actually impede delivery of customer service.) I’m not blaming the people who hold these positions… if a position is there, somebody will hold it. I certainly don’t think transit is “Gravy” and I certainly support the idea of greater provincial funding for the TTC. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of “deadwood” at the TTC. There is. The TTC could probably lose about a 1,000 positions with little impact on front line service. Of course, Gary Webster will likely insure that cuts are made where they are felt.
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