WATCH: A 10 cent fare hike will be coming to TTC riders as of March 1. Dave Trafford has all the details.
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor John Tory is proposing a 10 cent Toronto Transit Commission fare hike as of March 1 to help cover the cost of expanding service to riders.
“During the election campaign I committed along with all the other candidates not to raise transit fares in 2015,” Tory said during a press conference outside of Joyce Public School in North York Monday morning.
“It was not until the transition period after the election that I was fully able to comprehend and see put in front of me, all the facts as to the scope and extent of transit cutbacks imposed by the previous administration.”
Tory said he wants to increase funding to the TTC by $95 million, which includes a number of measures such as allowing people under 12 years of age to ride for free, adding new express bus routes, restoring bus and streetcar routes that were cut in 2011 and adding two more subway trains on Line 1 and 2 during morning and afternoon rush hour.
“I came to the difficult decision that when it came to ways to pay for it, that the fare increase had to be part of it,” Tory said, while cash fares will be exempted.
“One thing I would not do, I would not increase fares and not improve service and I would not decrease service and increase fares which is what my predecessor did.”
Transit advocate, Steve Munro said this move is a step in the right direction when it comes to improving service.
“They’re committing not just to putting back service that was lost but to making some significant improvements that had been long overdue,” said Munro.
“If we were doing this four years ago, sort of picking up from where the system was before the cuts, it would have been a good next step.”
Munro said the city has lost its transit momentum and Monday’s announcement needs to come with more action over the next four years.
“There are still some other issues to be dealt with such as one of the proposals that were in Andy Byford’s list last August, that wasn’t in the list today, the two hour fare, an integral part of integrating Presto.”
The two hour fare is a recommendation to allow transit riders to use the TTC in any direction for a total of two hours from the beginning of their commute.
It was a recommendation Byford.
The two hour fair refers a recommendation by Byford’s to allow transit riders a two hour window to use the TTC, in any direction, from the beginning of their commute.
Tory’s funding announcement comes one day ahead of the city’s first draft budget to be released Tuesday at the budget committee.
“In that budget, we will provide for the investments in public transit and a number of other things,” explained Tory. “We will do that in the confines of the property tax increase at or below the rate of inflation.”
Tory went on to blame former Toronto mayor Rob Ford for service cuts that has pushed the TTC to its breaking point.
“Deliberate decisions were made under m y predecessor to reduce service and increase crowding levels on the transit system,” he said.
The fare increase and the additional $95 million transit investment is subject to the approval of the TTC commission and city council.