#brampoli Federal Transit Money for Brampton: Formula and Clarification on Mississauga’s Allotment

Last week there was a federal announcement for transit funding for Ontario. The Province provided matching funding and we assume municipalities have the option to contribute an amount they choose to.

There was some discussion in the #brampoli hashtag on how the funding was calculated for Brampton. First, here’s what was announced:


And here’s the specific Brampton reference:

Chart 2

How was the money for Brampton calculated?  We contacted the Minister of Infrastructure office and received the below reply.

“Allocations for public transit for Phase 2 were developed from the Canadian Urban Transit Association’s (CUTA) 2015 Fact Book for conventional ridership, as this is the most recent data available. Specialized transit figures were also included, where applicable. These numbers were complemented with data provided by the provinces for non-CUTA recognized systems.

The calculation for the province [Ontario] was based on 70% ridership and 30% population formula. Within the province, allocations to each system were done on a 100% ridership basis.”

We thank the Minister’s office for their reply. Further, they got back to us quickly and we simply used the email address on the news release. We would encourage people to send an email and ask for specific details if they are required because it can sometimes be helpful at getting a complete picture.

What was Brampton Transit’s ridership in 2015? This blog post by Sean Marshall provides the response:
Sean notes that this is from: “GTHA transit agency annual growth rates, 2013 to 2015. Adapted from TTC 2016 Ridership Update, page 5.
We’re posting this for information purposes and are not suggesting that this is a good or not so good formula. We simply hope it addresses the question raised.

 Allocation: Did they get $800 million from the federal government?

In addition to the formula discussion above, there was some in #brampoli who suggested that the City of Mississauga received $800 million from the federal government. This is not correct as shown in the chart below (total column added by us).Media preview

Further, in this news release by the City of Mississauga.

“Today’s investment will see over $800 million in dedicated funds – including matching funds from the province and the City of Mississauga – flow to the City of Mississauga over the next decade. This is good news for our community, our residents, and our future growth as a city. Mississauga is home to almost 800,000 residents from every country, and over 88,000 businesses. We are a city in demand and a place where the world comes to work. High-quality infrastructure allows us to compete on a global stage, attract new business, and most importantly, create jobs for our residents.

The key words in the news release are “including matching funds from the province and the City of Mississauga” (emphasis added)

To be clear, the City of Mississauga did not receive $800 million just from the federal government. The City itself made a contribution to get the number to $800 million. So, we look forward to seeing what the City of Brampton decides to do.

 Providing this information isn’t meant as a comment on the broader issue of regional transit funding fairness. In fact, our group is very clear that we think several projects in Brampton would be a better use of provincial and federal funding on an evidence-based basis rather than:
1. The one-stop Scarborough subway, which has seen its ridership projections drop, capital budget go up, bus travel times increased and route shortened. There’s a great article in the Star here explaining the situation.
2. Converting the planned Sheppard LRT to a subway. Our fellow transit advocates at CodeRedTO have provided the below graph;
3. Fully grade separated the Eglinton West LRT. It’s not needed. Star article here.

Public Transit vs. Private Car Costs

I (Kevin, Co-Founder of Fight Gridlock) was recently asked about transit costs compared to the cost of private car ownership.

“We ought to be looking for ways to make the costs of public transportation as near to free as we can. If we calculated all the costs of having someone drive a car versus taking transit – It probably cost society far more for the car driver – that the car driver doesn’t pay themselves. We all do. And this is without putting a cost on the environmental impact.”

Fight Gridlock fully acknowledges that nothing is “free”. Like anything else, transportation funding is always about “how much does it cost”, and “who’s going to pay for it”. That said, this is an interesting enough topic to dive into to better understand how transportation is funded and value for money.

This article will look at the topic in two ways:

  1. What is the out-of-pocket cost for these trips?
  2. What is the cost to society to enable trips by public transportation vs. private automobile.

Internalized (Out-Of-Pocket) Costs

Private Automobile

Generally, the variables in private automobile transportation are what kind of automobile, whether it is new or used, how many automobiles, and how much mileage is applied. This could be influenced by lifestyle stages such as whether a person has a partner or not, and whether children are being transported regularly. This article will explore a few scenarios, with all costs cited from CAA Driving Costs Calculator, Province of Ontario. Annual mileage of 20,000km on a new automobile is assumed.

Last accessed: February 24, 2018, 10:19pm

Scenario Car Ownership Annual Cost
One Adult, No Kids Compact Car $7,534.81
One Adult, Two Kids Van $9,874.18
Two Adults, No Kids Two Compact Cars $15,069.62
Two Adults, Two Kids One Compact Car,
One Van


Public Transit

Let’s build out the same scenarios using public transit. There is some overlap in variables, but there are also unique differences. For example: Committing to owning a van accumulates costs whether the van is used to full capacity of not. While monthly public transit passes are available for children, they are not always the best use of money if a child does not need public transit every day. This article will assume the purchase of Brampton Transit monthly passes.

Last accessed: February 24, 2018, 10:35pm

Scenario Monthly Passes Annual Cost
One Adult, No Kids One Adult $122 * 12

= $1,464
One Adult, Two Kids One Adult
Two Child/Youth
$122 * 12 = $1,464
$105 * 12 = $1,260

$1,464 + $1,260 + $1,260

= $3,984
Two Adults, No Kids Two Adult $122 * 12 = $1,464

$1,464 + $1,464

= $2,928

Two Adults, Two Kids Two Adult
Two Child/Youth
$122 * 12 = $1,464
$105 * 12 = $1,260

$1,464 + $1,464 + $1,260 + $1,260

= $5,448


Externalized (Socialized) Costs

The tricky thing about public transit is that some of the cost is recovered at the fare box, and the rest is paid for by taxes — which every Brampton resident pays into. Further confounding the matter is that cost recovery is not limited to Brampton residents. This brings us to the second part of this article: What is the cost to enable trips by public transportation vs. private automobile?

2017 Brampton Transit Costs

Operational Costs Source:
Last accessed: February 24, 2018, 11:43pm

Capital Costs Source:
Last accessed: February 24, 2018, 11:43pm

Item 2017 Cost
Operations (Drivers, Staff Wages) $136,909,597
Capital (New Buses) $71,421,000
Total $208,330,597


This total cost does not take into consideration any grants received by the provincial government, or any cost recovery from the fare box.

Factoring In Census Data

Census Source:
Last accessed: February 24, 2018, 11:59pm

Census data suggests that Brampton’s population was 593,638 people in 2016, and that an estimated 13.96% of the population uses public transit as their main mode of travel. This works out to be an estimated 82,872 people.

The same census data suggests that 75.89% of Brampton’s population is a driver of a car, truck, or van as their main mode of travel. This works out to be an estimated 450,512 people.

What Are The Costs?

A cost of $208,330,597 to provide transit to approximately 82,872 people amounts to a full cost of approximately $2,513.88 per person annually.

If an estimated 450,512 people each pay $7,534.81 per year to drive a compact car, this amounts to a total of $3,394,522,322.72 — that’s over 3 BILLION DOLLARS — being paid into a system to support private automobile transport.

Even with no cost recovery at the fare box, a fully subsidized transit system costs 3 times less per person than what it costs for the public to pay for private automobile ownership.

The total contribution being paid to support private automobile ownership is more than 16 times higher than the total cost of the entire Brampton Transit system.

Brampton’s HMLRT Provincial Capital Funding

Below are a few media articles and columns after Brampton Council voted against the Hurontario-Main LRT (HMLRT) and the Provincial funding that went with it. The HMLRT was funded through the Province’s Moving Ontario Forward Fund.

In the Fall of 2016, we understand a few Councillors in Hamilton have raised the question of what would happen to the funding offered by the Province if they said no to the Hamilton LRT project.

  1. LORINC: Spend Brampton LRT money on Queen’s Quay East –, November 2, 2015 (LINK, PDF)

  2. Brampton should not count on LRT funding, says minister – Toronto Star, November 3, 2015 (LINK, PDF)

  3. Brampton Turns Down Free Money for the LRT –, November 4, 2015 (LINK, PDF)

  4. New openness has region eyeing more public transit funds Kitchener Waterloo Record, November 26, 2015 (LINK, PDF)

  5. Toronto makes a pitch for rejected HMLRT cash – Brampton Guardian, December 10, 2015 (LINK, PDF)

  6. Toronto asks for Brampton transit cash – Toronto Sun, December 10, 2015
    (LINK, PDF)

In addition, here is a list of all the Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan (aka the “Big Move”) projects and where they stand in terms of study completeness and funding.

Here is a report showing that over $28 billion is still required to funding proposed lines on the Big Move map.