2024 Budget Highlights: Vassiliadis proposes to defer hiring four transit drivers

The City of Peterborough is in the process of finalizing the 2024 Budget. Image from the City's 2024 Budget Highlights Book.
Edward Sweeney - CFFF - PeterboroughON | 24-11-2023
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During the City of Peterborough’s Budget Committee meeting on Tuesday, an increase in the transit budget was recommended for deferral by Coun. Don Vassiliadis.

Based on a recommendation made by the Transit Liaison Committee in September 2023, the transit budget included an increase of nearly $600,000 to hire four full time drivers, and two on-street supervisors, in an effort to increase frequency of routes to half hour service, according to the 2024 Budget.

Vassiliadis suggested to defer the hiring of the four full time drivers to the 2025 Budget, proposing that the $340,000 “be put towards the net tax levy” instead.

Vassiliadis stated his concern that hiring four full time drivers might not solve their problems.

“If busses are not leaving on time, or are canceled, then I can’t se how four extra drivers, at the moment, will increase the ridership.”

Other councillors like Keith Riel voiced their support for transit and the recommendations to hire new staff members.

“We have to get transit down to a 20-minute service.”

Coun. Alex Bierk shared his concerns that changes throughout the budget seem to be encouraging more people to come downtown and “use transit,” so he feels that it does not make sense to cut transit funding.

“[Transit] is one of the foundational cornerstones of having a healthy city, and I’m definitely in favor of supporting transit the way it is being asked to be supported,” said Bierk.

Vassiliadis’s motion to defer the hiring of four full time transit drivers to the 2025 budget failed, with five votes for the motion, and six votes against. The 2024 Budget will include the full amount to hire the recommended six new staff.

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