Students petition TTC to drop student ID card

Passengers exit the subway during morning rush hour on the TTC. (Alexa Huffman / Ryersonian Staff/ Winter 2014)

Passengers exit the subway during morning rush hour on the TTC. (Alexa Huffman / Ryersonian Staff/ Winter 2014)

More than 6,500 students across the GTA have signed a petition to urge the TTC to drop the post-­secondary student ID card.

Jordana Schiralli, a third -year psychology student at the University of Toronto, started the online petition on Feb. 24 after she was kicked off a bus for not showing the card.

“I was forced to go back into ­-30 degree celsius weather and stressed about missing an exam that I was on my way to school to write,” she says.

The petition states that TTC ID cards are unnecessary, since every school already gives their students identification.

“The ID card is rarely asked for, though when it is, there are serious consequences,” says Schiralli. “I have only been asked twice, which leads me to believe that the ID card is just another way for the TTC to make money rather than verify students.”

In August, the TTC announced it no longer required high school students to buy a special ID card, allowing a school or government-­issued card to be used instead. With a TTC post-­secondary ID card, students pay $112 for a monthly Metropass. An adult Metropass usually costs $141.50.

Post­-secondary students are still required to pay $5.25 for a card every year. It can only be purchased on campus in the first week of the school year, or year­-round at Sherbourne Station, which doesn’t have wheelchair access.

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“The ID card is rarely asked for, though when it is, there are serious consequences,” says Schiralli. “I have only been asked twice, which leads me to believe that the ID card is just another way for the TTC to make money rather than verify students.”

Bus drivers may ask for a TTC-­issued photo ID when students ride the Rocket with a post-­secondary student Metropass. Passengers who are unable to show the card are asked to pay an adult fare, or can have their pass revoked and face a $425 fine.

A file photo from a TTC subway station. (Courtesy of Ryersonian Staff)

A file photo from a TTC subway station. (Courtesy of Ryersonian Staff)

The TTC introduced the Metropass in 2010 after the Ryerson Students’ Union and the Canadian Federation of Students campaigned for student discounts. The Metropass is only valid if a TTC­-issued photo ID is presented – a university or college student ID is not accepted.

Jacqueline Tuason, a third-­year commerce student who commutes to Ryerson from Markham, says she signed the petition because she finds the TTC card to be redundant and useless.

“I would rather use my OneCard, which is different for every year or has a sticker or something,” she says.

Transit companies in other regions like Mississauga, Hamilton and Waterloo work with local universities to allow students to use their school-­issued ID to travel. Every year, a verification sticker is added to the card, which doubles as a Metropass for many who pay a low transit fee as part of their tuition.

The TTC declined to comment on the petition, saying the issue would need to be discussed at a board meeting, but told Schiralli over Twitter the feedback will be taken into consideration.

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