Humber College students struggling to balance their budgets may have more than just their tuition fees to worry about as the TTC has increased its fares again.
A staff report released on Nov. 17 and commissioned by TTC CEO Andy Byford proposed a 10-cent fare increase for 2017, raising token prices to $3 from $2.90 and adult monthly Metro passes to $146.25 from $141.50. The cash fare will remain $3.25.
The proposal was approved Monday by the TTC board of executives and the sixth fare increase in as many years kicks in on Jan. 1.
The jump in fare prices is estimated to generate an additional $27 million in revenue, which would greatly reduce the TTC’s hefty $99 million budget shortfall amassed this year.
Students of Humber College – a known commuter-school – appear firmly against the 10-cent fare hike and some have begun expressing their displeasure on social media.
“[College students] have a hard time managing their budget as it is,” said Wyatt Peterson, a first year Police Foundations student. “Some of them have to make costly sacrifices just to get to school.”
Peterson has contacted TTC’s service number for further information to no avail. He then went onto TTC’s Twitter and Facebook pages to directly voice his concern.
“Their [Twitter] workers told me that the proposal is justified,” he said. “I also don’t get how the TTC can continue increasing their prices every year without thinking of the repercussions.”
The proposal has led Amanda Coelho, a first year Art Foundations student and regular TTC rider, to rethink her daily expenses.
“I’m a little upset but definitely not outraged,” she said. “It does, however, force me to consciously cut back on the necessities I buy.”
In July, Mayor John Tory requested all city departments reduce their budgets by 2.6 per cent. TTC has two sources of income, fares and a city subsidy. It currently has one of the lowest subsidies in North America at $0.90 per-rider. Comparatively, Vancouver’s subsidy is $1.84 while Calgary’s is $1.69.
Seasoned TTC bus driver Roman Solanki says he’s experienced ticket price increases before and that there’s “always a calm before the storm.”
“I’m glad [Humber] students are aware of the price change beforehand,” Solanki said. “People tend to get angry only after they find out about the price change.
“They weren’t so mad the couple of weeks that lead to [the change],” he said, comparing the reactions of TTC riders from last year’s fare increase.
TTC Chair Josh Colle, who was part of the board that approved the fare increase, said the decision “really sucks” but was necessary for TTC to stabilize after dealing with budget drops.