10-cent fare hike proposed in TTC 2020 operating budget

Click to play video: 'TTC operating budget proposes 10 cent fare hike' TTC operating budget proposes 10 cent fare hike
WATCH ABOVE: The annual TTC operating budget that was released Friday is proposing a 10 cent fare hike to help reach its budget goals. Erica Vella reports – Dec 13, 2019

TTC users could be one step closer to seeing fare hike next year if the 2020 proposed budget is approved by the transit agency’s board next week.

The TTC’s proposed operating budget was released Friday afternoon, coming in at $2.14 billion — an increase of $85 million compared to 2019.

“We know that the increase to the budget this year is necessary if we want to go ahead with our five-year service enhancement plan,” said TTC commissioner Shelley Carroll.

READ MORE: TTC’s 5-year, $779M plan calls for major improvements to streetcar network and bus services

In a letter to TTC commissioners, TTC CEO Rick Leary recommended paying for the budget increase through three ways.

“Revenue protection measures and cost recovery for service changes related to Metrolinx construction projects ($26.4M), an increase in the city subsidy to $27 million (an increase of 3.5 per cent from 2019) and a 10-cent increase on all fares except adult cash (to remain at $3.25) to generate $31.4 million.”

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Carroll said she was surprised to see the proposed fare hike after receiving the report on Friday.

“We all just got it delivered to us this afternoon, so like the rest of the community we are a little surprised by the 10-cent fare increase ourselves,” she said.

“I think you can count on all commissioners to be pouring over it this weekend to look for a way around it.”

In a statement, Mayor John Tory said he welcomes the proposed 2020 budget.

“I welcome the fact that the TTC’s proposed 2020 budget would hire an additional 50 transit enforcement officers specifically to crack down on fare evasion,” he wrote while also noting it is beginning of the budget process.

READ MORE: TTC is increasing its fares on Monday

“I support continuing and improving service further in 2020, not cutting it back despite what will again be a tough budget year, and notwithstanding the City’s significantly increased support, all of these initiatives necessitate a fare increase.”

Carroll echoed the concern about fare evasion being a major issue. The concern comes after a report from Toronto’s auditor general found fare evasion cost the transit agency at least $61 million in 2018.

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READ MORE: Fare evasion, malfunctioning Metrolinx equipment cost TTC $64M in 2018: auditor general

“There are fare evasion measures that have to go in,” she said.

“There are service adds that we know need to go in on some of the bus routes that are poorly served right now and we have to start working on the things that cause the subways to go down in a morning rush hour as it did a week ago Monday so there is a lot that needs to be done in the system.”

The report will go before the TTC board on Monday.

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