A sudden rise in gas prices and auto insurance has left Scarborough residents questioning if driving is still affordable.
And even as the Ontario election has recently concluded, concerns regarding vehicle costs and public transportation are still looming, especially with young voters.
For any student, getting to class should be no problem. However, in today’s climate, it has become more difficult for students to attend class by transit or personal vehicle.
Is car ownership still affordable?
Jay Jasvir, a Scarborough resident who attends McMaster University, discussed how the rise in vehicle costs had affected his commute to school.
“It’s expensive for sure, paying for gas, car insurance, school parking, and maintenance. So, it’s pretty expensive to attend classes for me now,” Jasvir said.
Many Scarborough residents share Jasvir’s concern. In the month of June, gas prices in Ontario skyrocketed.
Inflation also hit a multi-decade high of 5.7 per cent. This new high isn’t ideal for any car owner since the auto insurance industry isn’t immune to inflation spikes.
What the Conservatives pledge
Premier Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservative party promised to fund and build more transportation and infrastructure when elected.
The premier and his team’s plans include building and expanding highways and creating various public transit projects affecting train and subway services.
Although the PCs’ plan is detailed and progressive, it does not focus much on car affordability.
As the summer approaches and the province opens back up, there could be a surge of car owners looking for a cheaper solution to get around.
Rachel Hermaine, a UTSC student, said she’d stopped using her car to commute to school because of the cost.
“Since the prices have gone up for my insurance and gas, I don’t bother driving to school anymore. I take the bus now because it’s cheaper,” Hermaine said.
She also voiced her frustrations with car affordability which conflicted with her decision to vote, “I didn’t vote since I don’t think any of the parties care for my needs,” she replied.
Gas-tax fund top-up
Re-elected MPP for Scarborough North, Raymond Cho, promised to support those who use public transit.
“Our government promised subways for Scarborough, and we delivered on our promise,” Cho said. “And now, in response to the pressing need for more support as COVID-19 continues, we are topping up this year’s gas tax funding to help the city maintain transit service levels for our people,” Cho said.
The Scarborough subway extension will bring the TTC’s line 2 subway service farther into the city. It will extend from Kennedy station to Sheppard Avenue and McCowan Road. The goal for the subway extension will provide quick and seamless transit to commuters heading in and out of the downtown core.
However, besides Scarborough’s new subway development, taking public transit is still not a positive experience, Hermaine said.
“Hate it, doesn’t everyone hate taking the transit? it’s not sanitary, it’s scary, and the prices aren’t exactly low either,” she said.
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