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article imageToronto Mayor presents budget, TTC staff recommends fare hike Special

By Andrew Moran     Jan 10, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford held a press conference Monday to unveil the 2011 operating budget. During the presentation, Ford revealed that the TTC staff is recommending an across the board fare increase.
To a packed members lounge in the council chamber at city hall, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and several members of council launched the 2011 city of Toronto operating budget, which includes a zero property tax increase, no major service cuts and balanced books.
2011 operating budget
“40 very long, very productive days and 40 nights ago, I took office of Toronto’s mayor. In that 40 days, we have accomplished a lot ladies and gentleman,” stated Ford in an opening speech.
“I’ve removed pay increases and saved the taxpayer $17,000. My transition team went under budget and saved the taxpayer more than $25,000. We saved the taxpayers over $50,000 by eliminating free meals at council meetings, which saved the taxpayers $170,000 by removing these paper clippings.”
Toronto Councillor Doug Ford (left) and Mayor Rob Ford (right)
Toronto Councillor Doug Ford (left) and Mayor Rob Ford (right)
Mayor Ford warned the agencies who do not want to “tighten their belt” and “feel their interests are more important than the taxpayers’ interests” that if they do not find efficiencies and cut costs then “new managers will be sought.”
The mayor noted four public consultation meetings on the city’s 2011 and 2012 operating budget, which will be held on Jan. 19 and 20 at the North York Civic Centre, Scarborough Civic Centre, East York Civic Centre and York Civic Centre.
At these consultations, the city will ask for feedback from Toronto residents in regards to the budget and if they have any ideas. For more information, click here.
TTC fare increase
Despite a balanced budget and extensive trimmings of fat, Ford revealed that Toronto residents are facing a 10-cent Toronto Transit Commission fare hike as of Feb. 1 and route cuts starting Mar. 27.
“I did not want to agree to this. I am not happy about this. In fact, my staff has been working night and day, through the weekend to find another option,” said Ford. “No matter what happens folk, I've made it quite clear; the TTC must improve station cleanliness and customer service
Ford also stated that he wants to see TTC improvement by Sept. 1, which he feels confident will happen under the leadership of TTC Chairman and City Councillor Karen Stintz.
Councillor Michael Thompson (L) and TTC Chairman Karen Stintz
Councillor Michael Thompson (L) and TTC Chairman Karen Stintz
“The mayor doesn’t want a 10-cent fare increase, I do not want a 10-cent fare increase, the TTC doesn’t want a 10-cent fare increase and nobody in this city wants a 10-cent fare increase if we can find a way to avoid it,” said TTC Chairman Karen Stintz. “That is our goal over the next few days and we will work very, very quick.”
According to TTC recommendations, cash fares increase would like this:
Cash fares would remain unchanged at $3.00.
Weekly pass will go up to $37.25 from $36.00.
Monthly Metropass will increase by $5.00 to $126.
A regular Senior/Student ticket will increase to $1.75 from $1.65.
A regular monthly Metropass will increase to $104.00 from $99.00.
Day passes will go up by 50 cents to $10.50.
A post-secondary student Metropass will hike to $104.00 from $99.00.
Child fares would remain unchanged.
As of Mar. 27, as per the recommendation of the TTC staff, at least 48 routes could face reduction in service, including the 56 Leaside, the 5 Avenue Road, the 6 Bay, 32 Eglinton West (A and D), 122 Graydon Hall, 14 Glencairn and many others.
Stintz reassured everyone that if there is a way to avoid the fare increase “we will find that way.”
City Manager Joe Pennachetti delivering the 2011 budget to the council chamber
City Manager Joe Pennachetti delivering the 2011 budget to the council chamber
TTC chief general manager Gary Webster spoke briefly with the media and justified the proposed fare hike by taking into account the amount of ridership growth that has occurred over the years (estimated to be 477 million rides).
“The challenges we’ve got, and the city managers got and the mayor and chairs got, is to find the way to do that as efficiently as we possibly can,” said the TTC chief general manager. “We’ve taken the approach to this year’s budget exactly as we have with previous years. We’ve projected our ridership, given the transit we’ve seen; we know the costs with service and the efficiencies as the mayor has said.”
Furthermore, Webster stated that if subsidies do not increase then the TTC has no other choice than to look at the routes that are “underutilized” and “reallocate those funds” from those underused routes and put “service onto routes that are growing.”
Other TTC expenses for this year include vehicle and station maintenance, customer service, energy costs, training and “inflationary costs.”
When asked if he believes his job is on the line if the TTC cannot find ways to avoid a fare increase, he replied that it’s like any other job and when hired you have to do your job properly “and there is no other way around that.”
In the end, though, Ford took the time to “thank the city of Toronto for a job well done.”
For full insight into the 2011 budget, click here.
More about Rob Ford, Ttc, Toronto, Budget
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