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TTC ridership among kids doubles after introduction of free fares

A TTC streetcar takes on passengers in a file photo. The number of rides taken by children has increased dramatically since free fares were introduced.
A TTC streetcar takes on passengers in a file photo. The number of rides taken by children has increased dramatically since free fares were introduced. THE CANADIAN PRESS/J.P. Moczulski

Toronto Transit Commission ridership by children has doubled in the two years since the TTC became free for kids under 12, according to new TTC numbers revealed by Mayor John Tory on Wednesday.

In 2014, the last full year when children under 12 paid fares, the TTC estimates that 11 million streetcar, bus and subway rides were taken by kids. That increased by two million rides in 2015, and in 2016, children rode TTC vehicles an estimated 22 million times. The TTC projects children will take 28 million rides this year.

Wednesday marks two years since the TTC’s Kids Ride Free program was introduced.

At a press conference at Nelson Mandela Public School in Regent Park, Tory said the program is providing relief for families on tight budgets, allowing them to get out and enjoy the city and its institutions.

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Children had previously paid 75 cents to ride the TTC. The transit agency says the program costs about $8 million per year in lost revenue.