Update: see previous posts – December 15, 2011 TTC To Reduce Service and Raise Fares In New Year, December 8, 2011 Would you pay 15 cents more for better TTC service?,November 26, 2011 TTC Service Reductions Beginning January 8, 2012, September 17, 2011 Longer Waits on the Street & Over-Crowded Buses – TTC Service Standards Lowered, September 15, 2011 TTC delays and Road Closures – Weekend of Sept. 16 -18/11, December 17, 2010 TTC Streetcar & Bus Collide, Injuring TTC Passengers et al, June 11, 2010 Idling Laws – Toronto, October 12, 2009 T.T.C’s Fines Increase effective October 12, 2009
The Toronto Transit Commissioners voted on Wednesday (7 to 1) to proceed with the fare increase. The only councillor that voted against the increase was Maria Augimeri.
This means riders will still pay the same $3 cash fare, but will pay an additional dime for each token to $2.60 and an additional $5 for the monthly metro pass to $126.00 for an adult metropass. The TTC blamed the decision to raise fares and reduce service on a $14 million deficit.
A 10-cent fare hike effective Jan. 1 and restoration of full bus service on some busy routes like Finch, Dufferin and Don Mills have been approved by the Toronto Transit Commission.
The fare hikes don’t begin and end in 2012. The TTC Commissioners gave their approval to approve “in principle” to levy regular 10-cent fare increases in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The run on tokens hasn’t transpired yet.
The commission on Wednesday okayed a compromise plan from the TTC chair, Councillor Karen Stintz, that uses about $5 million in expected 2012 diesel fuel savings to continue bus service.
“The TTC management will go back and give us a breakdown on which routes will be maintained,” Stintz said. “And they would likely be the busiest routes like Finch, like Don Mills, like Dufferin. But the exact details are still being worked out.”
TTC chief general manager Gary Webster said the money would restore half the rush-hour bus service that had been on the chopping block. Transit advocates vowed to keep pushing council — which meets in mid-January to pass the city’s budget — to come up with $14 million to keep current bus service operating.
“It’s up to councillors now to find the remaining money to avoid service cuts in the TTC,” said Jamie Kilpatrick, of the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
The 10-cent fare hike, the first since January, 2010, when fares went up 25 cents, will increase the adult token to $2.60. The cash fare remains at $3.00
For future TTC budgets, the commissioners granted their approval in principle to levy regular 10-cent fare increases in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Transit advocate Steve Munro said regular fare increases are one of three strategies to place the TTC on a stronger financial footing.
“Fares should go up regularly by reasonable amounts; the city must be prepared to increase TTC funding from (property) tax revenues; and if we get more money from the province or the feds…it should contribute to actual improvement of service,” Munro said.
Also Wednesday, the commission decided to find $2 million to continue Wheel-Trans service for about 800 ambulatory dialysis patients who need to make 5,000 trips a week for treatment. The dialysis trips would continue for the first six months of 2012, providing time to lobby the province for funding.
Stintz said that of the $5 million in expected diesel fuel savings, $1.5 million would go to retain 2011 service standards through January, and $3.3 million would go into retaining bus service on busy routes.
A complicating factor is that the TTC needs to buy 54 buses to maintain the higher level of bus service in 2013, Webster said.
About 80 people had signed up to share their outrage over the proposed service cuts. ACORN, a social justice advocacy group, even delivered a seasonal sack of coal to the TTC board — one lump for each of 282 buses that will no longer be available to riders in 2012.
Most speakers made it clear they understood their words wouldn’t move the TTC off its insistence of a 10-cent fare hike or prevent it from reducing service on routes across the city to pre-2004 levels.
Many were furious not just about service cuts and fare hikes, but with the cutting climate pervading the city hall budget process.