TTC board approves fare hike in 2017
Codi Wilson and Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Monday, November 21, 2016 10:17AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 21, 2016 6:42PM EST
The TTC board has approved a staff recommendation to raise the price of tokens and Presto fares by $0.10 to an even $3 starting in January.
The board also voted to raise the cost of a monthly Metropass from $141.50 to $146.25 and the cost for a weekly pass from $42.25 to $43.75.
The cash fare for adults will remain at $3.25 but students and seniors will pay $2.10, a 10 cent increase.
“We’ve made the hard decision,” TTC Chair Josh Colle said following the meeting. “We didn’t put that off. We made the decision that really sucks around a fare increase today and that’s one we wouldn’t have wanted to make.
“But at the same time we’re recognizing that the subsidy or the amount coming from the city has to increase. So it puts the ball in that court.”
Colle said the board also voted to try and freeze transit fares in 2018. However it’s not clear whether that vote will be binding.
The fare hike comes as the transit agency battles a $231 million budget shortfall. According to a staff report released last week, the hike is expected to bring in an additional $27 million.
In a news release issued Monday, transit advocacy group TTCRiders said more than 100 TTC customers planned to attend the board meeting at city hall today to speak out against the hike.
“The proposed budget will drive down ridership, worsen congestion, and increase poverty,” the group’s news release read.
“Transit riders are calling for more service, affordable fares, and proper funding of the TTC’s operations.”
Other groups attending today’s meeting included the Canadian Association of Retired Persons and Scarborough Transit Action.
TTC CEO Andy Byford told CP24 Monday that the transit agency is not properly subsidized by upper levels of government.
"Once upon a time the TTC used to get 50-50 funding of its operating day-to-day costs from the province," he said, adding that the TTC now only receives a subsidy of about $0.90 per rider.
"My view would be the TTC works miracles for the money it is given."
In Chicago, the per rider subsidy is approximately $1.86 and in New York it is $1.49.
Byford said Montreal, which carries only two-thirds of the ridership of the TTC, receives practically the same subsidy as the TTC.
"At the end of the day we have streetcars held together with duct tape… we have buses that are 18 years old when the industry best practice is 12 years old. So I’m looking at every possible way to find efficiencies and to immunize customers as best we can against the impacts of fare hikes or service adjustments."
Parkdale-High Park NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo weighed in on the TTC funding issue Monday and called on the premier to "reverse the damage done by years of downloading operating costs."
“Today the TTC is meeting to discuss another round of fare increases and service cuts that will in fact hurt transit riders. It’s hard to see how the TTC can maintain ridership when transit keeps getting more expensive and service keeps getting more uncomfortable, less reliable and less convenient,” DiNovo said in a written statement released Monday.
“The TTC used to be the envy of North America, back when the provincial government provided 50 (per cent) funding for TTC operations. The Tories cut the funding, and it stayed cut under the Liberals.”
The fare hikes will next go to city council for final approval.