Toronto councillors among those who get Metropass perk
Not so for women in shelters in need of affordable transit
By Kris Scheuer
Unlike local politicians who get free yearly Metropasses to get around town, Natoya, who lives in a women’s shelter in the Rosedale area, often has to walk to job interviews and the St. Lawrence Centre where she volunteers.
The shelter she stays at provides meals and snacks and a place to sleep and one TTC token per weekday, which the shelter fundraises to be able to afford to give to all 50 residents.
The 23-year-old is not on welfare but does get $3.75 a day from social services as a personal allowance, which she often has to use to buy a token ($2.50) to return to the shelter.
On a “slow day” Natoya uses the TTC five times per day to go to job interviews, job centres and get to the place she volunteers. “Every day I go out and do some job hunting,” she said. “So my allowance goes to bus fare. On weekends I volunteer but have no tokens (to get there).”
She has been accepted to a broadcast journalism program offered jointly by Seneca College and York University for this September, but at this point is not sure how she’ll get up to the Seneca campus at Keele St. and Steeles Ave.
She’s paid for half her tuition and has permission to pay off the rest throughout the year. She is looking for a job in her career, but will take any administrative job to help pay for school and books.
The TTC gives out almost 19,000 free Metropasses a year.
All sitting city councillors and the mayor are offered a free transit pass. The TTC also dishes out eleven lifetime passes to all TTC commissioners when they retire.
Not everyone uses the pass, but because the pass has a picture of the recipient on it it’s non-transferable.