TTC price hike worries students

Nicole Williams
Senior Reporter

Students say they are anxious about what could be yet another price increase to TTC fares to offset a projected $53 million shortfall.

The hike, potentially beginning next year, would also help meet demands for subway maintenance and operations to start an hour earlier on Sundays, Toronto city council was told at a meeting on Monday.

The transit commission’s budget committee discussed implementing potential fare increases of up to 25 cents.

Day passes, senior fares and student fares would see a 10 cent increase in their cost.

However, the committee voted to freeze the cost of the monthly Metropass.

Kyana Fletcher, a second-year psychology student at the University of Toronto-Mississauga, said Tuesday that TTC fare increases over the past five years are a source of stress as she travels to school.

“It’s so much money to commute every day. I’m actually considering a car to see if it’s cheaper,” said Fletcher.

And Fletcher is not the only student considering an automative alternative.

Second-year psychology student Alicia Pisco takes two buses to Humber College’s north campus every day, and said the higher prices mean having to put in more time at her job.

“I have to work to pay for my tuition, and I also have to pay for bus fare,” says Pisco, “I’ll have to work extra hours to do that now.”

The Canadian Federation of Students of Ontario told Humber News the increase would be a step in the wrong direction.

“These fare hikes disproportionally affects students who rely on transit to get to school,” said Rajean Hoilett, chairperson for CFS of Ontario.

Hoilett said affordable transit needs to be a priority for the TTC.

“We haven’t seen enough improvements over the past couple of increases to make it worth it for students,” said Hoilett.

One local politician said the public should voice their concern.

“The TTC is always under a lot of financial pressure every year,” Toronto city councillor John Campbell told Humber News.

“If riders are frustrated, they need to let the TTC know.”

Campbell said that increasing fares is necessary if riders want to see improvements.

“The more you add, the more subsidies are required,” said Campbell.

When asked if rider budgets could be relieved with support from the new Liberal government in Ottawa, Campbell said it wasn’t likely.

“The federal government is supportive of major track improvements and subways,” said Campbell. “But I don’t think they’ll get in to the habit of funding our operation because then they would have to look at an ongoing cost of supporting all municipalities.”

Proposed earlier Sunday startmeans the riders will have to pay more if they want to see changes like the subways operating an hour earlier on Sundays, which Mayor John Tory last week said he wanted to see happen.

“Another hour is another cost pressure. The city is going to have to get a subsidy or dip into the wallets of the fare-paying public,” said Campbell.

As well, Campbell said most TTC riders come from middle to lower class jobs and don’t have a lot of extra cash to be paying for these changes.

“But that’s where we have to go.”

With files from Nick Westoll.

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