Recently, TTC advertisements are revealing that it is the most underfunded big city transit system.
While that is annoying itself, for reasons that demand the extended attention of a longer exploration, it confirms that TTC has got to get creative and resourceful to find additional sources of funding.
I'm not sure what's in the fine print of the by-laws, but it would seem to me a very good idea would be to expand the TTC landlord empire, collecting rents for increased retail tenants within the system.
It is extremely frustrating to have to leave the system to conduct business along the way during a day of running errands. There is some retail within the system, and wider ranges of services at a few stations, but a more widespread sprinkling of available services should be pursued.
For example, at Warden Stn. in Scarborough, there is a dry cleaner. Perfect - drop off some clothes on the way to work, pick them up on the way home from work. Why aren't there more dry-cleaners at more locations?
TTC use of space is remarkably inefficient. There are stations with plenty of space that is not being used, that do not help people move faster. Then, in higher traffic areas, there is not enough capacity.
Those spaces without use should be made into service kiosks of varying sorts. Cinnabon has made great use of useless space at the eastbound platform of the Sheppard subway at Yonge Stn. Useless spaces throughout the system can be utilized to offer goods and services to commuters.
TTC, like our roads, is a city utility. If storefronts can line streets all over town, why can't storefronts line the system?
There are rent revenues to increase if the system has the clarity to pursue it.
The great thing about it is, if public transit commuters can transact more business on the system, it reduces traffic at surface retail locations drivers patronize, which should increase service for them, as well, and make for a happier shopping experience - it's "win win".
It also means people can get more things done in less time. That means, the city is becoming more efficient. The ability for TTC to contribute to efficient operation of the city is magnified exponentially if each trip a person takes can increase its utility quotient – the quantity of things that can get done in less time, thereby increasing the productivity of each trip. The mathematical potential impact of this is mind-boggling.
Given the model that a major urban centre's public transit is understood as important economically, ecologically and environmentally, funding from all three levels of government is right.
However, we can't wait for all three levels of government to get smart about it. It should still be within TTC's control to increase its revenues by increasing its tenancy.
Can someone tell me why this can't happen?