Last Thursday, the Toronto Transit Committee (TTC) board voted in favour of a 10-cent fare hike, which would result in roughly $26 million in added revenue for the TTC.
If approved by Toronto city council, the hike will take effect on April 1. This will be the eighth fare increase in 10 years. The increase will be implemented across the board with the exception of adult cash fares, which would stay at $3.25.
Student and senior cash fares will increase 10 cents from the current $2.10 or $2.05 if using Presto. As of now, tokens and tickets cost $3.
The 10-cent hike is a result of “unavoidable” pressures, according to a recent TTC budget report. While the increase in revenue is a positive outcome for the TTC, it seems increasing transit costs has become a natural — and annual — occurrence for our city. The city should consider other areas to increase costs rather than use transit as the automatic fallback option.
For people who drive to work or school each day, this may not be of concern. However for many people, Ryerson students included, commuting is a part of the everyday.
The increase comes during Ontario’s controversial planned “takeover” of the TTC subway system, which the Ford government claims will enable more expansion.
New Democratic Party (NDP) TTC critic Jessica Bell predicted results of the expansion would be higher costs and worse service for TTC riders, as reported by Global News.
Around 700,000 rides will be lost due to the fare hike; however, the additional revenue will offset that cost, according to the Toronto Sun.
In 1996 the cash fare for adults was only $2. From 2010 to 2016 there were six fare hikes, including a 25-cent hike in 2015. The cost of student/senior fares has grown from $2.00 to $2.10, and now possibly $2.20.
That is an increase of approximately $72 a year in addition to what people currently spend on transit, before considering any other transit costs such as GO Train transfers and more than two trips in one day.
At first this may seem like a small amount, but when you consider the vast daily-commuter population in Toronto, many will feel any increase long term.
For a student commuting to and from Ryerson from Newmarket, Ont., the GO Train is roughly $20 round-trip, and the subway is $2.10 from Ryerson to Union Station.
Therefore, the student pays a total of $24.20 a day, but that doesn’t include the Presto discount of $1.50 for adults and 55 cents for students when travelling between the GO and TTC.
For students who are struggling financially, increases in TTC fares may seem small but add up over time.
This is a problem. The TTC doesn’t realize that with every fare hike, the subway is turning into a transit option for the middle class and not an option for young students or those struggling financially.
The TTC CEO report provided statistics showing the TTC has failed to meet its monthly and yearly ridership targets. If they aren’t meeting ridership targets now, to increase fares will only further decrease ridership.
The subway system is supposed to work as a less-expensive option to commuting compared to owning a car. However, with each increase we get further away from that possibility.
If only the TTC found other ways to get money for public transit that didn’t result in overcharging the people who use the subway, streetcars and shuttle buses.
If the TTC continues to increase fares, students will be paying roughly $3 for one ride on the subway by 2022.
Only time will tell if city council approves the 10-cent hike. If approved, it will result in transit riders footing the bill for the TTC’s financial situation. Again.