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TTC Commissioners Opt for Fare Hike, Defer Service Cuts

Apparently acting on feedback from the public stating that between a choice of a slap in the face and a punch in the stomach, they would rather pay higher fares than wait longer for a bus or streetcar to arrive at their stop, TTC Commissioners opted for an immediate fare increase and halted proposed service cuts until at least next year. The CBC is reporting that TTC Commissioners have brought forward a plan which balance the books for 2007 by increasing fares by $0.15, without cutting services.

“The message really is from the public, ‘Preserve my service is my first priority. Don’t cut my service. If you have to do anything I guess you can raise my fares if you have to, but really the first choice is raise my taxes and my fares, then cut my service,’ ” TTC general manager Gary Webster said.

TTC Commissioners had been told to cut costs by $30 million this year and $100 million the next after Toronto City Council voted to defer implementing proposed land transfer taxes on the city back in July. Even with the fare increase, the TTC faces a $35 million shortfall next year, which raises the possibility of new service cuts or another fare increase unless more funds are provided by either Toronto City Council or the provincial government.

Of course, the additional service increases that had been planned for this month as part of the Ridership Growth Strategy are still off the table until funds over and above what has been budgeted become available, but that will be up to Toronto City Council and the provincial government (not to mention the voters that put these politicians in office) to deal with. The lack of any service cuts this year holds out some hope for service improvements later on, as the TTC won’t have to play catch up should more money come available.