Thursday, November 21, 2013

TTC approves fare hike for 2014

TORONTO - Prepare to bust out an extra nickel for a TTC token in the new year.

The Toronto Transit Commission passed its 2014 operating budget Wednesday, with a five-cent fare hike for tokens and a $5.25 increase for monthly passes.

Commissioners were given a choice: Either raise the cash fare from $3 to $3.25 or increase the cost of Metropasses.

The 25 cent cash fare increase was ultimately rejected.

A five-cent hike means adult tokens will go from $2.65 to $2.70 or seven for $18.90. Regular Metropasses will go from $128.50 to $133.75, student passes from $106 to $108. Senior and student tickets will increase from $1.80 to $1.85 each.

“It is necessary because we need it to keep the system moving,” TTC chair Karen Stintz said after the meeting.

Two commission members voted against the fare increase. One of them was councillor Maria Augimeri.

“I voted against it and I tend to vote against the fare increases on a yearly basis because we’re not upping the actual commitment to our riders,” she said.

The $1.6-billion operating budget will rely on a $428 million city subsidy. Last year the subsidy was $411 million.

But the budget still falls short by $6 million.

CEO Andy Byford said he hopes the city can cough up the difference but if it doesn’t, TTC staff will try bridging the gap through efficiencies.

“We can’t keep expecting the user to keep swallowing fare rises,” Byford said.

He also called on the provincial and federal governments to step up to the plate, as the $9 billion capital budget for the next 10 years showed a $2.7-billion shortfall.

“I’ve said pretty much since the day I got here that we have to get the province to come back to the table on both capital and operating expenditure,” he said.

Vince Rodo, chief financial and administration officer at the TTC, pointed out ridership is expected to increase from 528 million to 540 million rides in 2014.

Increased ridership means more vehicles and more service, “and all those things don’t just magically happen,” he told the commission.

City council is expected to debate the subsidy and capital budget in January.
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