TTCriders and the Fair Fare Coalition were shocked to learn yesterday that the 2018 preliminary Toronto city operating budget does not include funding for two widely-supported transit initiatives promised by Mayor Tory: two-hour transfers and the Fair Fare Pass.
Two-hour transfers were approved by the TTC Board on November 28, 2017.
The Fair Pass was approved by City Council in December 2016 and is a key plank of the City’s anti-poverty strategy to address growing inequality and lack of opportunity in Toronto. John Tory has broken his promise to low income transit riders. Council cannot continue to approve poverty reduction initiatives and then refuse to fund them. People’s lives depend on this assistance and it is unconscionable of the City to not follow through on promises made to our most vulnerable citizens.
There is also no funding in the City budget to improve service and tackle the TTC’s overcrowding problem. The TTC Board passed its 2018 budget on Tuesday without any budgeted service improvements.
Stay tuned for how to take action on the Fare Fair Pass.
The Fair Pass plan, once funded, will provide discounts of 33 per cent on single adult fares and 21 per cent on adult Metropasses to eligible riders. If the plan is funded, riders on social assistance will receive the discount in 2018, and low income riders will receive the discount in stages in 2020 and 2021.
Many cities now recognize the importance for transit affordability and are now providing transit discounts to low income riders, including Niagara, Calgary, Vancouver, Hamilton, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Halifax, Waterloo, and more.
Many of the passes are cheaper than Toronto’s fair fare pass program. Niagara offers a monthly fare of $50 to low income riders. Calgary has a new sliding scale program where low income riders pay between $5.15 to $50 a month.
The Fair Fare Coalition wants Toronto to provide a $50 metropass to low and moderate income riders, and let Torontonians on social assistance ride for free.