OK - well maybe not the sealing wax.
I did notice the A- grade granted to TTC Chair Moscoe. I'll have to admit that I find it a bit generous. I do find the improved flexibility of the passes a positive. Since Moscoe is the chair - he is rightly due a check mark on this.
On the bus purchase question, for a transit agency the size of the TTC, purchasing 100 buses in a given year sounds about average. A can't grant Moscoe kudos on this. Did the TTC enter in pooled purchasing agreements with other transit agencies to gain economies of scale? Not that I'm aware. Did they learn from other transit agencies on the optimal seating arrangements of LF buses? No.
Let's look at ridership and ridership growth. First off, the drop in ridership from the heights in the 1989-1991 peak is mostly attributable to lower employment levels in the city. There are roughly 10% fewer jobs located in Toronto - and there are roughly 8.5% fewer riders than at the peak. So, ridership is actually slightly ahead in proportion to employment - likely due to better relative employment statistics for the downtown core.
I'm an RGS skeptic. Firstly, the TTC should always have a strategy that looks to attract more riders. However, that isn't the only element of a strategy. Attracting incremental ridership can be extremely expensive. While I appreciate some of the improved service - I now have later evening service on my local bus route - the fact is that consumer awareness of these types of changes is low. (I happened to be out for a walk a few evenings ago and noticed the 92 coming down the hill. I'd venture I'm one of the few on my street who knows.)
I'm glad Mr. Bow is open to the TTC looking for savings internally. $100 a year may sound like a lot - but I'll throw some number out from some analysis I did a couple of years ago. (Somewhere in the archives! - haven't thought about this stuff for a while.)
In 1994, when we compare the operating cost/rider of the Montreal transit system to Toronto, we see:
Montreal: $1.63 / rider vs. Toronto $1.73 / rider
==> Difference = $0.10 rider
Montreal $1.68 / rider vs. Toronto $2.22 / rider
==> Difference = $0.54 / rider
So the difference in the difference ($0.54 less $0.10) - over the 10 year span = $0.44 / rider
If the TTC could make up but half that difference - i.e. $0.22 / rider - based on having 430 million riders, it would save $94 million a year. At 5.5% interest - a typical municipal debenture rate - the $94 million is equivalent to $1.72 billion in room for capital expenditure.