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Tory proposes $53M funding increase for TTC, fares to increase by 10 cents

Click to play video: 'TTC fare increase incoming to fund transit safety push, mayor says'
TTC fare increase incoming to fund transit safety push, mayor says
WATCH ABOVE: Mayor John Tory is proposing a 10 cent increase to TTC fares to fund a number of initiatives intended to bring ridership back by increasing safety. Matthew Bingley reports. – Jan 4, 2023

The City of Toronto is proposing to invest $53 million more into the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in its 2023 budget.

Toronto Mayor John Tory made the announcement during a press conference Wednesday. The proposed investments will be presented to the TTC board and budget committee next week.

The city said the proposed investments will “protect transit, one of the city services Torontonians rely on the most,” and keep “both riders and hardworking frontline TTC employees safe.”

According to the city, fares will be increased by 10 cents to cover the investments, marking a 3.1 per cent increase.

The city said its subsidy to the TTC in the 2023 budget is $958.7 million — a 5.87 per cent increase over the 2022 approved budget.

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The city said the proposed investments would allow the TTC to prioritize service on routes in communities that have been identified as neighbourhood improvement areas and would allow for 10 additional Street to Homes outreach workers to “help vulnerable people on the transit system.”

The funding would also allow for 50 more TTC special constables to be hired and would increase cleaning in streetcars on the busiest routes.

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The city said TTC fares will continue to be frozen for seniors and all monthly passes. The Fair Pass Transit Discount Program will also be expanded to make 50,000 more low-income residents eligible.

Tory said investing in the city’s transit system is “one of my top priorities for the next four years.”

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“While this is a challenging year for the city, we are investing to keep transit safe, improve service, and support seniors and low-income residents,” he said in a statement. “Protecting nuts and bolts services residents rely on and expect us to deliver is my priority throughout the 2023 budget.”

In a statement, city councillor and budget committee chair Gary Crawford said the investments into “improving transit service and keeping riders safe are much needed and speak directly to the concerns of Torontonians.”

“This month we will be rolling out a budget that protects frontline services while meeting a challenging year without making the affordability crisis worse for Torontonians,” he said.

Click to play video: 'John Tory unveils plans to boost Toronto police budget'
John Tory unveils plans to boost Toronto police budget

City councillor and chair of the TTC Jon Burnside, said the investments “reflect the needs of residents, of TTC workers, and of the transit system itself.”

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“I’m confident with these investments and focused improvement of services we are setting up our transit system to be safer, more reliable, and more accessible for all,” he said in a statement.

The news comes just a day after Tory announced $48.3 million in proposed additional funding for the Toronto police.

In a statement Wednesday, ATU Local 113 President Marvin Alfred, said the union “welcomes any investment in operating and maintaining the TTC to improve service and safety for transit riders.”

“If we want people to come back onto the system, we need to rebuild trust,” he said. “We do this by improving service and keeping fares down. This proposal is a step in that direction.”

Alfred said the union looks forward to “seeing details on the service increases.”

He said the “increase in conflict and other incidents” on the TTC is a “direct result of the housing crisis combined with a lack of mental health services.”

“The TTC has ended up filing the gaps in our social safety net.”

“Policing alone can’t fix it and Streets to Homes can’t get people into homes that don’t exist or are unaffordable.”

Alfred said the city needs a “comprehensive safety and security plan” that “provides real housing solutions and a better way to respond to people in crisis.”

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Click to play video: 'TTC budget challenges for board and transit users'
TTC budget challenges for board and transit users

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