Mayor asking other departments to cut more to avoid fare hike
(Written Jan. 10 for Town Crier.)
Today, Toronto got its first glance at a budget under Mayor Rob Ford.
The bad news is TTC is proposing a 10 cent fare hike and reduced bus service on more than 45 routes to increase service on busier ones.
“I did not want to agree to this,” Ford told reporters speaking about the fare hike. “I am not happy about this.”
Ford says he wants to find another option rather than raise transit fares including asking other departments, including the police, to reduce their requests for increases.
However, as of today the recommendation is the TTC raise fares on Feb. 1 including: Adult tokens going up 10 cent to $2.60, Metropasses increasing to $126. Student and senior ticket prices would increase 10 cents to $1.75 and student Metropasses would rise to $104. Children’s fares would remain unchanged.
There would also be service reductions on 48 bus routes including: Royal York 73B no service after 7 p.m. Leaside 56 no service after 10 p.m. Mon-Sat. Forest Hill 33 no service after 7 p.m. Mon-Fri and no service on the weekends or holidays.
All these changes have Councillor Paula Fletcher concerned.
“The elimination of the ($60 million) car tax is being taken out on the backs of transit riders,” said Fletcher. “My concern is while the ridership might be low (on the reduced routes) here there’s a tremendous number of people going to or coming from work on these late night routes.”
Gary Webster, the TTC’s general manager, said overall there are more transit riders bringing in more cash and as a result the cost to operate the system has also gone up. However, he says the city is offering the TTC less money than last year.
The city budget recommends giving the TTC $16.8 million less than in 2010 and WheelTrans $8.3 million more than last year. A fare hike would bring in $24 million more in revenue.
But it’s not all bad news: there’s over $1 million in the budget to make the TTC cleaner and additional managers and supervisors to address customer service.
The recommendation for the fare hike will go to the commission’s board on Wednesday and would have to be approved by city council.