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Durham Transit officials expecting to break even in 2019

BIA amends proposed move from 2020 to “future years”

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Durham Region Transit is expecting to break even at the end of 2019.

The prediction is based on a review of expenditures, revenues to date, and forecasts to the end of the year.

Yet the staff report notes there are some uncertainties which may impact the forecast including fluctuating fuel prices, and any potential bad weather.

The report, written by the region’s commissioner of finance Nancy Taylor, notes DRT’s revenue program is projected to see a surplus of $100,000.

Taylor notes PRESTO ridership is in line to budgeted expectations, and is also projected to break even.

But cash fare revenue is trending lower than expected, according to Taylor, and is resulting in a $200,000 deficit.

U-Pass revenue for winter and summer post-secondary terms is around $300,000 higher than budgeted.

“…enrolment has surpassed what was anticipated in the approved budget,” explains Taylor.

However, the surplus will be canceled out because expenditures have run $100,000 higher than expected.

Through the end of August, Taylor notes overall ridership is approximately 2.4 per cent, or 162,000 riders, higher than projected.

That’s also 1.8 per cent higher when compared to the same timeframe in 2018.

Taylor also writes specialized services ridership is down 0.5 per cent compared to 2018, and is two per cent lower than expected.

Transit officials are also forecasting a $100,000 deficit in the service’s 2019 operations budget.

Reasons for this given by Taylor in the report include weather, which she writes was “unusually harsh well into April.”

The maintenance program is expected to see a surplus of $50,000, with Taylor noting the average fuel price is about 12 cents lower than budgeted for.

She notes this could result in a surplus up to $950,000, but it is offset by a number of factors, including fuel consumption.