Saturday, 25 April 2009

TTC & ATU 113 & Vision

Up, Down.

... in progress ... or maybe not ...

One night last year, my son and I sat in a bar in Rio Grande (in the south of Brasil) and set ourselves the task of saving the world from global climate change. What we came up with was - Eliminate cars from, say, a diameter of two or three miles around city centres, and provide effective mass transit instead. And achieve this goal using a carrots rather than sticks. The up-sides are numerous including positive effects on public health and quality of life, particularly street-life.

Now I am wondering how to get ahead with it.

Of course I am going about it all wrong. What I thought of was to write a letter to the TTC masters saying something like, "You must do better. It is mostly the poor and needy who use the system, because they have to; and somehow you have to appeal to the middle and upper classes who fill the streets with their cars. These cars have to go from the urban scene if we are to make some influence on global climate change." ... etc.

If you ask a Torontonian, most of them will say, "TTC drivers make a hundred grand!" which is not quite the case:

Driver: The TTC offers competitive wages and benefits including: Healthcare and Dental plans, Group Life Insurance and a Pension Plan. As per the Local 113 ATU Collective Agreement, the hourly wage rate for this opportunity is $21.28 (rate after training) to $28.20 (rate after 24 months). (TTC Recruitment site)

OK, 44,500 to 59,000 annually; plus Healthcare (say, 10,000), Dental (600), Group Life (600), Pension (3,000); say, 14,000. Mean gestimate 65,000. Say, 10,000 of them: 1.8 million per day; 1.5 million riders per day @ 2.50: 3.8 million per day; so roughly half of revenue goes to ATU.

Labour cost is not the only issue I am aware of. What I have observed:
- vehicles jammed and uncomfortable at rush-hour and other times;
- maintenance implications of streetcars not being suited to the tracks;
- difficulty of determining how to get from A to B, poor internet maps; and
- difficulty in determining when the next car will arrive, poor scheduling.
- poor attitude among many (not all) workers who deal front-line with customers.

Assumptions are interesting. I assumed that the root of the problem was labour cost - those pesky greedy unions! But 65 grand does not seem to me an unreasonable ambition so this assumption is now under review. Next assumption is that it is the witless bureaucrats who are fucking it up. Maybe ...

References: Wage and Salary Conversion Chart, UofT Human Resources.
Players: Toronto Transit Commission - TTC, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 - ALU 113.


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