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Over 250 transit riders held a rally today at City Hall and then attended the TTC Commission meeting to protest City Hall’s failure to make the TTC more affordable to low income riders.
We are so frustrated. We were protesting the City’s repeated delays to come up with a plan to give fare discounts to low income riders. In 2014, TTCriders and the Fair Fare Coalition convinced the city to come up with a plan to make the TTC more affordable to low income riders. The City was supposed to present their plan to councillors in 2015, but pushed it until today. Two weeks ago, City staff said they were further delaying the release of its plan until September 28 2016.
Want to get involved in our organizing?
- Join our email list.
- Join our coalition: contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Send a message to Premier Wynne and John Tory calling for a low income pass and more funding for the TTC.
Thank you for joining us Ontario Chinese Seniors Association, ATU Local 113, University of Toronto Scarborough Student Union, Toronto Airport Workers Council, PTP Literacy Project, Sistering, Fair Fare Coalition, and more. Thank you also to Cindy, Herman, Bill, Bob Kinnear, Bill Reno, Monica, Margot, Jill, Tina, Sitharsana, Elis, Karin, Kingsley, Jenn, Adina, Helen Liu, Patricia, Nirmalan, Mike Xie, and more.
As City Hall delays transit relief, riders suffer.
Sitharsana Srithas is the Vice President External at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Students’ Union. She works full time at the University of Toronto, part time as a waitress, and is also a part time student. To save on transit costs she shares a metropass with her mum and three siblings. “I choose my schedule based on how available the metropass is,” she said. “Sometimes I have to leave classes earlier or get to work late because the metropass is not available.”
Adina Lebo is the board president of the Canadian Association of Retired People Toronto Chapter. “I have just three years of savings left, and I expect to be working for the rest of my life,” she said. “I need a break on TTC fares, and I’m not alone. Some of my CARP Toronto members are telling me they have to choose between buying medicine, eating or using the TTC,” she said.
Toronto is lagging behind many other Canadian cities in making transit more affordable. At $141.50 a month, Toronto has the most expensive metropass in Canada. In Calgary, low income seniors pay $15 a year, and low income riders pay $44 a month. In Hamilton, low income riders pay $43 a month. Edmonton is set to introduce a low income pass next year.
The City of Toronto’s May report on city’s financial direction shows fare hikes over the past 6 years have increased by 17% when adjusted for inflation. Property taxes, however, dropped by 4.8%.
The Fair Fare Coalition and TTCriders are calling for free TTC for people on social assistance, and a $50 a month metropass for low income riders. The coalition wants fare discounts to be paid for through more government funding, not by hiking fares on other riders, or cutting service.
The TTC gets the least amount of government support per ride of all other major North American transit systems. Today, the TTC gets about 0.88 cents of government support a ride. In 2010, the TTC received 0.93 cents of government support a ride.
Fair Fare Coalition A Ticket to the City: Affordable TTC: A report on the impact of high fares on low income riders. June 2015
Toronto Public Health: Canadian jurisdictional review of initiatives to improve transit affordability of people living on low incomes February 2012
Toronto Public Health International jurisdictional review of initiatives to improve transit affordability for people living on a low income. December 2015
City of Toronto TO Prosperity: Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy June 2015
City Manager City of Toronto’s Long Term Financial Direction, May 2016
Fair Fare Coalition website.