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article imageIs a Toronto transit fare hike on track to come next year?

By Andrew Moran     Jun 7, 2011 in Business
Toronto - With the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) facing an estimated $39 million operating budget shortfall for 2012, there is talk of another across the board fare hike. Is it likely to happen? One former TTC official believes so.
Earlier this year, during Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s presentation of the 2011 operating budget, there were hints of a possible 10-cent fare hike for the TTC. One day after much scrutiny from transit riders, TTC Chairwoman Karen Stintz confirmed that the fare hike proposal was scrapped and an extra $24 million was found.
Half a year later, and the fare hike idea is back on the table to offset the operating budget shortfall for 2012.
TTC Chairwoman Karen Stintz
TTC Chairwoman Karen Stintz
TTC officials presented a preliminary financial report where they projected that ridership is expected to rise by 15 million, or 3.1 percent, in 2012, which will raise an additional $32 million in fare revenue. The TTC also puts the city operating subsidy at $429 million.
The TTC is expected to hire 128 employees to meet the level of service expected.
In an interview with the Toronto Sun, city councillor and former TTC vice-chairman Joe Mihevc forewarned of a fare hike and sees no other way around it.
“It’s going to happen. I can’t see how the mayor is going to avoid it,” said Mihevc. “There will be a lot of pressure to raise fares. People will understand a fare increase before they understand a service cut.”
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
TTC staff confirmed Monday that raising fares by 10 cents would garner $30 million, but the commission’s chairwoman, Karen Stintz, wasn’t quick to jump to that conclusion because the TTC is participating in the city’s core service review, which will analyze its budget allocation.
Digital Journal sought comment over Stintz’s remarks that the TTC should discuss operating methods, such as if it makes sense for a transit rider who travels the Yonge subway line from Eglinton to Bloor and having to pay the same $3 fare as a rider who travels from Scarborough to Etobicoke.
There has been no reply as of yet.
This story comes as the TTC will implement an electronic card payment system, known as Presto, by the year 2015. The TTC’s budget shortfall comes at the same time as the city faces a $774 million deficit for 2012.
More about Toronto transit commission, Fare increase, Karen stintz, Joe mihevc, Rob Ford
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