TTC fare increase called unfair

Riders' rights groups says 10-cent hike could hurt Toronto's vulnerable populations

Toronto’s coalitions and organizations for transit riders met yesterday to discuss their next steps after the 10-cent fare increase jointly approved by the TTC on Wednesday.

Elis Ziegler, a manager at the Toronto Drop-In Network, said the hike isn’t going to solve any problems with the TTC.

“A lot of the problem is that transit isn’t sufficiently supported by provincial or municipal government,” Ziegler said. “It’s not fair to pass that cost onto people who can least afford it.”

TTC chairman Josh Colle said, “no one wanted to do it.” But he said he expects the fare increase will help close their $231-million budget gap.

10-cent fair hike for the TTC has activists concerned for vulnerable populations in Toronto.
10-cent fare hike for the TTC has activists concerned for vulnerable populations in Toronto.  (Andrew Holland/Toronto Observer)

The 10-cent fare hike, and the budget cuts approved in September are part of the strategies the TTC is implementing to raise $29 million to close the gap.

Ziegler says he is concerned the fare hike doesn’t take into account people with fixed and low-no incomes.

HungerCount’s report, released earlier this week, shows people living on low and fixed incomes have to choose between food and shelter. The added pressures of mobility hits Toronto’s poorest hardest.

Food banks around Canada have already seen a substantial increase of access.

863, 592 people accessed a food bank in March, up 1.3 percent than last year, but 28 percent higher than eight years ago.

The fare increase further syphons low- and fixed-incomes from food and shelter, diminishing the limited resources available.

Also on the agenda for their meeting yesterday was the Transit Equity Health’s report, finished three years ago. A year-long delay has neglected its presentation to City Council.

“John Tory and the City Council are ignoring avenues to improve the city and their people in it, at their peril,” Ziegler said.