January 18, 2019 1:08 pm
Updated: January 25, 2019 12:10 am

TTC board approves 10-cent fare increase as part of 2019 budget; city council to review request

WATCH ABOVE: Not long after an infrastructure failure left thousands of commuters wedged on subway platforms, the TTC's board met to discuss long-term strategies. But with poor service this week, the idea of paying more didn't fly with some. Matthew Bingley reports.

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The TTC board has unanimously approved a fare increase of 10 cents in 2019 for many fare classes except adults paying in cash.

TTC staff recommended an increase for tokens and PRESTO card taps to $3.10 from $3. Other increases included day passes, which would rise by 50 cents to $13, and the student monthly pass would rise by $5.70 to $122.45. The adult cash fare remained at $3.25.

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The budget still needs to be approved by Toronto city council. If approved, the increase would be effective as of April 1.

READ MORE: Mayor Tory unveils plan to speed up completion of downtown relief line

“As a final measure to balance the 2019 Operating Budget while preserving all service gains achieved over the past five years, TTC staff are recommending a 10-cent fare increase … to provide $25.8 million in anticipated additional Conventional and Wheel-Trans revenue net of PRESTO commissions,” a report presented to the board said.

The report said the $25.8 million in revenue that the increase would generate for the TTC would offset the $34 million in costs approved in the 2018 Budget for enhancements — $20.5 million for the two-hour transfer window launched in August and $13.5 million for capacity improvements.

“The recommended 2019 Operating Budget ensures the TTC is able to build on its 2018 service accomplishments, including the capacity to deliver 100 per cent of all planned service,” the reports said. The TTC said it added an additional five subway trains, 87 buses and 56 streetcars/buses throughout 2018.

However, the report said the TTC still had a deficit of $96.4 million in the 2019 budget, which the fare hike will help to offset.

To help try to balance the budget further, the report recommended the city increase its funding by $22 million (or three per cent). Another $45.5 million will be saved through “reductions to TTC base expenditures,” which will not impact service, according to the report.

The news comes a day after Mayor John Tory held a news conference unveiling a plan to speed up construction on the downtown relief line.

READ MORE: Toronto council approves study to advance planning, design needed for Downtown Relief Line

Tory said $162 million will be added to the 2019 TTC capital budget for the accelerated plan, which would include moving ahead with utility relocation and acquiring technical equipment such as boring machines.

The downtown relief line is estimated to cost at least $6.8 billion.

The last fare increase was in 2017 when tokens and PRESTO card taps also went up by 10 cents.

— With files from Nick Westoll

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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