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Diesel Costs, City Budget Woes, Raise TTC Fares 25 Cents


TTC passengers will be asked to pay more for TTC service on April 1, the Toronto Star reports. When Toronto City Council refused to meet the TTC’s proposed budget, the commission had to find some other way to patch over the $16.5 million shortfall. The fare increase will allow the TTC to provide the same level of service, and actually increase it on key routes.

Cash fares will go up from $2.50 to $2.75, while tickets and tokens will increase from $2 to $2.10 each. The price of the new transferrable Metropasses will increase to $99.75 from $98.75. These changes will stick unless Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty intervenes to cover the shortfall.

The City of Toronto had asked all departments to limit their subsidy increase by 2%. That increase would not cover an unexpected $27 million increase in diesel fuel costs thanks to the high price of oil. A negotiated increase in salaries also increased costs, and the TTC and the City of Toronto still have hopes that the Commission can increase ridership by increasing transit service. This, of course, costs much more.

Transit activist Steve Munro reluctantly defends a fare increase as being better than service cuts and more realistic than Councillor Pitfields mythical internal cost savings but demands that City Council take responsibility for the proper running of public transit in the city by providing adequate funding:

The amount of money involved is small change in both the TTC and City budgets. I don稚 agree with a fare increase, but I would fight even harder against service cuts as an alternative. We know that service cuts have roughly five times the impact of modest fare increases on the attractiveness of a transit system.

Next, the City needs to make a real, long-term commitment to funding transit and to improving the quality of service. If you don稚 have service, you don稚 have a transit system. This needs detailed planning, a commitment to a bigger fleet (and more staff, pace Councillor Pitfield), and a guarantee to TTC staff that the money will be there to actually operate additional service when the new buses and streetcars arrive.

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