Will Toronto transit riders accept a 15-cent fare hike next year? Special

Posted Dec 8, 2011 by Andrew Moran
The 2012 City of Toronto capital and operating draft budget includes a proposed 10-cent Toronto Transit Commission fare hike. But some are now proposing adding a nickel to that possible 10 cents. Will Toronto transit riders accept this?
Toronto Transit Commission s light rail vehicle (LRV) public display at the TTC Hillcrest Facility.
Toronto Transit Commission's light rail vehicle (LRV) public display at the TTC Hillcrest Facility.
The TTC is on track for a dime increase as well as service reductions starting in January. But, TTC vice-chair Peter Milcyzn told 680 News that City officials will now consider a 15-cent fare hike instead in order to stave off service cuts to 60 routes.
Milcyzn, a member of the budget committee, explained that the extra nickel would maintain service for 2012 and allow for additional ridership that they are expecting – the projected estimate is 15 million more rides.
A higher fare hike would generate an extra $15 million, but it will only be considered if it can maintain service beyond 2012.
The Etobicoke councillor did caution, however, that the extra nickel would only band-aid the solution and provide temporary relief to the transit agency’s budget strife. In 2013, Milcyzn noted that Toronto won’t even have enough buses to cover the current service levels in part to a budget shortfall.
“Right now, we don’t have any federal or provincial funding to buy extra vehicles,” said the TTC vice- chair in an interview with CBC News. “In 2013 that level of service will have to come down because we don’t have enough buses. It just buys us 12 months of certainty. Beyond that, there is no certainty. You can’t hike fares enough to buy buses or streetcars.”
Meanwhile, TTC chair Karen Stintz told the Toronto Star that she doesn’t like the 15 cents, but explained that “fares should go up consistently and people should be able to budget for it.”
“But when you’re looking at who you’re asking to pay, you can’t ask those with the lowest income to be paying for a subsidy reduction,” said Stintz.
The TTC chair told Digital Journal in a brief phone interview Thursday that the commission will generate $25 million a year through its advertising revenues. Stintz added that the TTC has fares; all of the city’s surplus land will go towards development and the subsidy.
In the summer, Digital Journal reported that Stintz was interested in the possibility of looking into transit zones. When asked if the TTC was still looking into this as an alternative solution to its fiscal issues, she responded: “Not at this time.”
Stintz also confirmed that the frequency and schedule of the subway trains will not be affected by the service reductions in January.