May 22, 2008

GTA transit woes no reflection of Durham

Despite discussions of making the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) an essential service, Ted
Galinis, general manager of Durham Region Transit (DRT) says it’s not something that will be looked at here in Durham Region.“Toronto is a little different,” says Galinis, adding that they have very high service levels that include the downtown and the subway.

“A lot of people need it.” Galinis says that Durham transit is used more by non-discretionary passengers, adding that if DRT were to strike, the majority of its passengers would still have other means of transportation, unlike the majority of those using transit in Toronto. Durham transit saw its first strike in Oct. 26, which lasted for 28 days.

“It took about six to seven months to recover from (the strike),” says Galinis, adding that since April, Durham’s ridership has increased 13.4 per cent over last year. He says it’s difficult to say what would happen if there were to be another strike, especially with contract talks coming up in February 2009.

“Normally people are in love with their cars,” says Galinis, adding that the rise in gas has had an effect on the increase in ridership throughout Durham Region.“People are just starting to come back to the service,” he says. “It is a much better service which includes more frequent schedules.” Galinis says he only expects ridership to increase over the next few years, especially if gas prices stay as high as they are. With contract talks coming up next year, he’s positive things will only get better for DRT.

“In most cases, it’s better if both parties can bargain and agree with the terms,” he says. “At the end of the day, arbitration is not always a guarantee of achieving anything,” Galinis is hopeful that when the time comes all issues will be out in the open and can be accommodated.

The above statements, by DRT's General Manager Ted Galinis, further confirms my post on essential service in the public transit sector. He is also thinking positive about future contract negotiations with CAW. Unfortunately Durham Region is in the background ready to pull strings if need be. I am am sure, that the Region was happy, to find that CAW did not live up to their reputation and has turned out to be nothing more, that a paper tiger.

Ted, is correct about people being in love with their cars. It is difficult for transit to compete with the comfort, convenience and privacy of the automobile. The one item, that public transit can compete best on, is the cost. It's still too soon to say whether rising gas prices will encourage more commuters to give up their cars.

The Oshawa Express - GTA transit woes no reflection of Durham.

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