T.T.C.: Ontarians Cool to Provincial TTC Takeover, Poll Finds

Update:

According to a poll, 39% of people in Toronto back a takeover but support drops significantly as the sample includes other Ontarians.
According to a poll conducted by Forum Research, 39% of people in Toronto back a takeover but support drops significantly as the sample includes other Ontarians.

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Any provincial plans to take over the Toronto Transit Commission would be very unpopular with a plurality of Ontarians, according to a new poll by Forum Research.

Of 1,014 Ontarians sampled, 48 per cent said the province should not helm the TTC, while 26 per cent said it should. Another 26 per cent said they didn’t know. Results are considered accurate to within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Inside an empty TTC Bus.
Inside an empty TTC Bus. Concerning the Provincial take-over of the TTC: “Outside of the 416, no one really likes this idea at all. It’s 2-1 against,” said Lorne Bozinoff, Forum’s president. “Even the 905, they don’t really like the idea.”

People living in Toronto most readily backed a takeover (39 per cent for, 39 per cent against; 21 per cent didn’t know), but support for the idea dropped off significantly as the sample included other Ontarians.

“Outside of the 416, no one really likes this idea at all. It’s 2-1 against,” said Lorne Bozinoff, Forum’s president. “Even the 905, they don’t really like the idea.”

In the GTA, 34 per cent supported a takeover, with 45 per cent opposed. In the 905, 30 per cent were for, while 48 per cent were against. Support didn’t top 20 per cent for the rest of Ontario (eastern, southwestern, northern), although results broken down by region mean smaller sample sizes and the potential for greater inaccuracy.

Inside a WheelsTran, looking to the front from the back.
Inside a WheelsTran, looking to the front from the back.

“People who don’t really live near Toronto are probably thinking, what’s in this for them, besides having to subsidize it through their tax dollars,” said Bozinoff. “The further away from Toronto, the more you don’t like the idea.’

The idea of a takeover has arisen periodically over the last few years. In 2011, the province shut down speculation after discussions regarding a TTC power switch came up briefly in meetings between Queen’s Park and city officials. Financing for subways was one of the reasons cited, in addition to considerations like Toronto’s annual subsidy, which this year is $428 million.

Bozinoff said the poll shows how little support there is for the idea, and anyone considering it would face a steep uphill battle.

“I don’t think that people see the Ontario government as a super efficient organization that can run something more fantastic than a municipal government,” he said.

“A really rational argument would need to be made for it, especially in terms of what it means to the average person.”

TTC Bus "NOT IN SERVICE"
TTC Bus “SORRY…. NOT IN SERVICE”

Lastly, Bozinoff noted that a takeover is fairly non-partisan: the most support was from people who prefer the NDP (32 per cent), while the most opposed were those who tend to vote Conservative (21 per cent).

“The final nail in the coffin is these results broken up by political party,” said Bozinoff. “No party has supporters who like this idea.”

With no political motivation, Bozinoff said it’s extremely unlikely that a party would bring the idea forward.

Three TTC Streetcars lined up.  TTC users are not happy with streetcar service, according to a recent customer service poll conducted by the TTC itself.
Three TTC Streetcars lined up. TTC users are not happy with streetcar service, according to a recent customer service poll conducted by the TTC itself.
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