WATCH ABOVE: City politicians are getting input from the public as they develop the 2015 operating budget. Dave Trafford reports.
TORONTO – Transit activists descended upon city hall Monday morning demanding more service, lower fares and more provincial funding.
Members of TTCRiders, a transit advocacy group, held a demonstration shortly after 9:30 a.m. outside city hall to convince the city not to institute a 10-cent fare hike.
“Ten cents might not seem like much to some people but that’s a 3.7 per cent increase, $93 a year,” Jennifer Huang, a member of TTCriders told Global News.
“For a lot of people who are seniors, people who are on fixed income, low income, that’s not affordable for them. So they’re pushed off the transit system.”
The 2015 city budget includes new measures for the TTC such as free rides for people under the age of 13, and restoration of service on routes cut by the Ford administration, ten-minute or better wait times, proof-of-payment and all-door boarding on streets, four new express buses, 12 new all-night routes, and two new subway trains. The TTC board approved the new investments as well as the ten cent fare hike Monday afternoon. The TTC budget still has to be approved by city council.
“We want to say yes to all the service improvements but no to the fare increase because that punishes riders,” Huang said.
But that’s not possible, TTC chair Josh Colle said as the service improvements have to be paid for.
However, both groups – activists and city officials – agree on one thing; the need for more provincial funding.
“We recognize that the city is giving a huge subsidy to the TTC, the riders are paying a lot, the feds and the province need to step up,” Colle said.
“It’s like a broken record, there’s no system in North America that runs this way.”
The TTC receives the lowest subsidy in North America; $0.88 per rider from the city. Further, the public transit agency receives no funding to cover its $1.7 billion operating budget.
The TTC expects 545 million rides in 2015, up 1.9 per cent over 2014.