TTC approves 10 cent fare increase for 2017
Transit board voted to freeze fares for 2018 to "soften the blow" of the 10-cent increase to tokens and Presto fares.
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The TTC board has approved a 10 cent fare increase for next year, but has voted in principle to freeze the cost of riding public transit in 2018.
At a special meeting of the board on Monday to consider the transit agency’s 2017 budget, commissioners voted in favour of the 10 cent fare hike, which will be the sixth time in as many years that the cost of riding the TTC has gone up.
But saying that many Torontonians are facing “difficult times,” TTC chair Josh Colle moved a motion asking the board to “endorse” a fare freeze in 2018. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the vote would be binding during the 2018 budget process however.
Colle told the meeting that he realized that many riders oppose increasing fares next year, but he said the transit commission is “in a very difficult position.” He suggested the freeze in 2018 would “soften the blow” of the fare hike in 2017.
The fare increase is expected to raise $27 million in additional revenue next year, and will go into effect Jan. 1.
Despite the increased fare revenue, the TTC is still facing a shortfall of at least $61 million in its operating budget, thanks to additional projected costs of running the transit system next year.
A TTC staff report that went before the board on Monday included a long list of potential ways to bridge that gap, including raising fares by as much as 50 cents, cutting bus and streetcar service, and eliminating fare discounts for seniors, students, and even the blind. The list came without any recommendation from TTC staff, and none of the proposals were endorsed by the board.
It is not clear how the shortfall will be met. The budget, complete with the $61 million shortfall, will now go to the city’s budget committee for consideration.
The mayor and council have directed all city departments to find ways to reduce their net operating budgets by 2.6 per cent, which the TTC has interpreted as a 2.6 per cent cut to the annual subsidy it receives from the city.
Colle said Monday that it was his “full expectation” that the subsidy will be increased next year. If the subsidy were increased, it could cover some or all of the shortfall.
Council is expected to vote in February on the budget for all city agencies and departments, including the TTC subsidy.
In 2016, the city subsidy was set at about $495 million for the TTC’s conventional service and $117 million for Wheel-Trans.
The fare increase that will go into effect in January will see the cost of a token rise from $2.90 to $3, while a regular Metropass will sell for $146.25, up from $141.50. Cash fares for seniors and students will go from $2 to $2.10, and senior and student tickets will go from $1.95 to $2.05. The cost of Metropasses for seniors and students will increase to $116.75, from $112.
Adult cash fare will stay at $3.25, and children 12 and under will continue to ride for free.