TTCriders hold 'day of action' over Ford's plan to upload subway to province
A member of the group TTCriders hands out pamphlets protesting the province's plan to assume responsibility for the subway system outside Queen's Park Station on Thursday morning.
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, November 29, 2018 9:56AM EST
A group representing TTC riders is holding a “day of action” to protest Premier Doug Ford’s plan to take over responsibility for Toronto’s subway infrastructure.
Dozens of protestors with the TTCriders advocacy group set up shop outside Kennedy, Kipling, Donlands and Queen’s Park stations on Thursday morning as part of the initiative.
The protestors were seen carrying signs that read “Keep Transit Public” and “No 2 Tier Transit” as they collected signatures for a petition opposing the upload of the TTC’s subway to the province.
“We are talking to transit riders all across the city today because Doug Ford has a plan to steal our subways and it is going to create a two-tiered transit system where we pay more to ride the subway and it will open the TTC up to privatization,” TTCriders Executive Director Shelagh Pizey-Allen told CP24 outside Queen’s Park Station. “People are sick of overcrowded late commutes and they know that this is not the way to solve it.”
Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek told reporters last week that an advisor appointed to look into the logistics surrounding the subway upload will deliver a report on “the path forward” in early December. That report would then trigger consultation and negotiations with the City of Toronto in 2019.
Ford has said that assuming the operating costs for Toronto’s subway system while allowing the TTC to keep the revenue, will result in more money for transit in Toronto.
Pizey-Allen, however, said that it will not improve anybody’s commute. She said that if the province is serious about helping the TTC they should provide it with an operating subsidy.
The TTC has the smallest operating subsidy of any big city transit system in North America with about 70 per cent of its budget coming from fare box revenue.
“You think of the 407, Hydro One, this is a grab-and-sell. They are talking a very valuable asset that the people of Toronto have paid for through their taxes and through their TTC fares but is not going to improve our commutes,” Pizey-Allen said. “We are calling on Ford government to fairly fund the TTC with an operating subsidy. That is what it will take to make transit more affordable and to make our commutes more reliable.”
Mayor John Tory has previously said that he would only support a proposal to upload responsibility for Toronto’s subways to the province if it can be proven to him that doing so would “substantially improve” the status quo for TTC riders, TTC employees and taxpayers.
The union that represents about 11,000 front-line TTC employees has also opposed the move, calling it a “disastrous plan” that could lead to privatization of public transit.