The Transit Commission today tabled OC Transpo’s 2021 Draft Budget and the Revisions to Boundary of Urban Transit Area for 2021 report.
In order to keep transit affordable for low-income residents and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients, OC Transpo’s 2021 Draft Budget includes freezing EquiPass fares and the Community Pass at 2019 levels.
OC Transpo’s 2021 Draft Budget also includes the following:
- A 2.5 per cent fare increase effective January 1, except for low-income customers and those who are ODSP recipients
- EquiPass fares and the Community Pass Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will be frozen at 2019 levels
- Because of the 2020 fare freeze, there is a budget pressure of $5.1 million in 2021 that will be funded from reserves
- No service expansion on all modes of transit
- Costs of the 2020 fare increase deferral have been included in the RTG claim
- Discretionary spending pause continues in 2021
Additional COVID-related costs of $12.8 million for enhanced cleaning of buses, facilities and trains were included and assumed to be funded from the Safe Restart funding in 2021, in addition to the $50 million to $60 million to account for lower-than-budgeted ridership and fare revenue. Should the Safe Restart funding not cover these costs, the City has backstop reserve funding of $24 million from the financial mitigation strategies implemented in 2020 from deferred projects to assist. Additional strategies would need to be implemented in 2021 to address the remaining shortfall of $23 million to $31 million.
The Revisions to Boundary of Urban Transit Area (UTA) for 2021 report was also tabled at today’s meeting. The recommendations in the UTA report would make the UTA boundaries consistent with the boundaries of the Urban Policy Area, and would ensure that funding for urban transit service is consistent across all properties in the Urban Policy Area. In the future, staff propose expanding the UTA in conjunction with any expansion of the Urban Policy Area, so that both are consistently aligned.
OC Transpo’s 2021 Draft Budget and the Urban Transit Area report will be considered by the Transit Commission on November 18, and then by City Council on December 9. If approved, areas recommended for inclusion in the UTA would be effective January 1, 2021.