City Council is moving at breakneck speed to freeze government spending in 2018. This will mean Toronto’s 1.8 million transit riders will be paying more for worse service next year. Again. The recommendation to freeze the TTC’s budget for 2018 will go to a full City Council vote on Wednesday May 24.
Scroll to the bottom of this page to find your councillors’ contact details and send them a message.
Here are three reasons why this is bad news for transit riders
- A budget freeze will mean fare hikes and service cuts in 2018. You’re going to paying more for a more unreliable and longer commute.
- It means the low income pass is under threat because the City needs to find an additional $5 million in 2018 to roll out the first phase of the program to give fare discounts to people on social assistance.
- A spending freeze threatens the long term health of the TTC because it keeps the TTC on a race to the bottom to a crappy transit system. This is because fare hikes and service cuts will worsen the TTC’s ongoing ridership problem. Even more of us will choose another way – or no way – because we’re sick of paying too much for too little. When riders leave they take their fare revenue with them, which worsens the TTC’s budget woes, prompting service cuts and fare hikes in a vicious downward spiral.
What should the City do instead?
City Council must invest in the transit system we need to build a fair city that has a place for all of us.
We can absolutely afford to raise taxes to pay for better public transit, and for that matter all critical public services, from affordable housing to parks and recreation.
We can absolutely afford to introduce rider friendly fares like two hour fare transfers and a low income pass that lets riders on social assistance travel for free and riders earning less than $23,000 a year pay $1 a token, $50 a month to ride.
We can absolutely afford to improve service on all routes, including guaranteeing 10 minutes or better service on all routes from 6am to 1am, bringing in more express bus service and more.
The public is on board. What we’re lacking is the political will.
Send a message to your councillor via phone, facebook, twitter or email. Tell them you don’t want to be sardined in 2018. Ask them t0 increase in funding to the TTC in 2018 so riders can have more service and lower fares, not freeze the TTC’s budget.
Council must focus the 2018 budget on fully implementing city strategies to build a more inclusive city – not focus on a budget freeze that will make life harder for those most in need.
|District name||First name||Last name||Phone|
|York South-Weston||Frank||Di Giorgiofirstname.lastname@example.org||416-392-4066|
|Don Valley West||Jaye||Robinsonemail@example.com||416-395-6408|
|Don Valley West||Jon||Burnside||Councillor_Burnside@toronto.ca||416-392-0215|
|Don Valley East||Shelley||Carrollfirstname.lastname@example.org||416-392-4038|
|Don Valley East||Denzil||Minnan-Wongemail@example.com||416-397-9256|
|Scarborough Centre||Glenn||De Baeremaekerfirstname.lastname@example.org||416-392-0204|
Here’s more information about the TTC’s budget woes
A spending freeze means fare hikes and service cuts because the TTC needs more money to maintain current service levels because its costs are going up. The TTC needs $102 million more government investment in 2018 compared to 2017 simply to cover the cost of wage increases, inflation, and increased maintenance costs. The TTC also needs $26 million a year to run the soon-to-be-opened Toronto Yonge Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE).
TTC has less money to find, and fewer places to cut. The TTC has used up its entire reserve fund already; it used the last $18 million in last year’s budget. It’s losing $10 million in projected fare revenue because ridership keeps dropping. The TTC has already made drastic cuts to meet last year’s demand from City Council to cut its budget by 2.6% and absorb all inflationary increases. The TTC did not introduce planned service improvements, eliminated paper schedules at streetcar and bus stops, leaving riders to access TTC schedules online, ignored the blatant overcrowding violations affecting all streetcar routes and a quarter of all bus routes, made cuts to 27 routes, cut bus maintenance, and did not implement needed subway reliability measures. There’s nothing left to cut except service.