By Emma Prestwich
Like many other Ryerson commuters, it usually takes Michael Binetti an hour to get home from class. But soon he might have difficulty making it home at all.
The 9 Bellamy bus that Binetti takes home to central Scarborough is just one of 48 routes slated for service reductions by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Service would be eliminated on this route after 10 p.m. Monday to Friday, and after 7 p.m. on the weekends.
The proposed cuts are coming after a staff recommendation that certain routes are carrying 12 or fewer riders an hour in the late evenings and weekends.
The Ryerson urban planning student is fighting the TTC cuts on behalf of other students whose late-night and weekend commutes will be affected.
“We’re at a time in this city where it’s not nine-to-five anymore,” he said.
The TTC held a deputation meeting Jan. 12 to hear opinions on the proposed changes. After the meeting the TTC issued a recommendation to defer the decision until Feb. 2.
But Binetti said he doesn’t want the public to assume that the cuts aren’t happening.
He held an informal meeting for people interested in fighting the cuts at a King Street Starbucks on Jan. 12 to come up with “constructive” ways to lobby the TTC.
Edmund Carlson, another urban planning student working with Binetti, said they’re approaching transit comissioners with the idea of touring the routes at night to show them that people are riding those buses.
Carlson, Binetti and three or four other Ryerson students, as well as a few community members have formed an unoffcial coalition called “Better Buses Toronto.”
Fourth-year journalism student Solana Cain, who was at the meeting, said she was surprised that the 26 Dupont bus, which she takes everyday, was on the chopping block because it’s not a bus that runs empty.
“I feel like the (TTC) tried to do this sneaky thing overnight,” she said.
Binetti said full service to many of these routes was only restored in 2008 after being slashed in 1996, and it takes awhile to build up ridership.
A full list of the proposed cuts is available on the Toronto Star website.
Photo: Marta Iwanek