TTC announces fare increase for many riders in 2016

(Photo: Krysten McCumber)

Evan Presement
Senior Reporter

Starting in January, nearly 30 per cent of TTC riders will be paying more after a price hike was approved Monday.

Cash fares will increase by 25 cents, and tokens by 10 cents after the Toronto Transit Commission held a meeting on Monday. The price of the monthly Metropass, as well as senior and student fares, however, will remain the same.

As with any price increase, there are going to be angry customers.

One of them is TTC riders spokesperson Jessica Bell, who said the TTC simply hasn’t done enough to warrant the support of increased fares.

“Riders already pay way more than our fair share, and we’re being asked to pay more for the same inadequate TTC service,” Bell told Humber News.

“That’s not the way to build a great public transit system. We’re not getting a fair deal,” She said.

According to Bell, Torontonians pay a higher percentage of transit costs than residents of any other North American city. She also says that the TTC’s monthly Metropass is one of the most expensive in Canada. Fares, across the board, are among the highest in North America.

Humber Fashion Arts student, Michelle Cabral, and Project Management student, Deepak Ramachandran, agree the increase is unjustified, considering the unimproved service.

“A lot of students and people make minimum wage, so it’s not really fair”, said Cabral.

“Some routes have a late-night service [that comes] once in half an hour, 45 minutes,” said Ramachandran.

Majoy John Tory announced that late-night and early morning services would be improved across the TTC network by 10 minutes-or-better, but this change may not have made a significant difference for some low traffic bus routes

“The TTC is overcrowded, we feel like sardines. Streetcars and buses don’t run as often as they should and the service is becoming increasingly unreliable,” Bell said.

“The system is falling apart under record ridership levels.”

The solution to better service, Bell said, is to receive the proper funding from the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government to “simply maintain a state of good repair and keep things running as they should.”

Transit blogger Steve Munro took a more sympathetic approach to the TTC.

“Well, basically, they need more money,” he said in an interview with Humber News reporter Ashly July.

“The TTC doesn’t run for free and they started out in about a $95-million hole,” he said, adding that the transit service still needs around $41-million from the city in additional subsidy.

Nonetheless, Bell notes that there are already problems with rider costs, even before the impending price hike.

“A lot of people, including myself, don’t buy [the Metropass] because you have to take so many trips just to make it worth your while,” she said.

An article published by the Toronto Star on Monday notes that TTC fares have increased by 42 per cent over the last decade, but according to Bell, that hasn’t helped to improve service.

“When you look at the subsidy per ride we received under Mayor [David] Miller, we’re actually receiving less per ride than we did five years ago,” she said. “In terms of absolute numbers, the quality of the TTC has gone down in the past five years.”

According to the Star, about half of all riders use a pass, while 27 per cent use tokens while just 10 per cent pay with cash.

With the fare increase, riders are expecting an increase to the customer service including regular bus and train arrivals, improved late night services, and reduced delays between driver exchanges.

“They should be here faster and more often,” said Humber Videography student Ryan McDougall.

Only some users, who regularly buy passes for the month, will not have to prepare for a tighter pocket yet as the TTC board announced a cost freeze for the monthly pass.

“The Metropass is frozen for everybody as is the ticket and cash fares for students and seniors. A really large chunk of riders are getting a fare freeze,” he said, noting that over 70 per cent of riders will not be affected.

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