By Liam Harrington
Last week the TTC released their 2019 budget, and a big part was the announcement of a 10-cent increase in fare. While many riders are upset with the increase, the TTC assures everyone that it’s essential for the TTC to continue running efficiently and so the city can implement new programs and infrastructure to improve overall efficiency.
TTC chair Jaye Robinson and city councillor for Don Valley, swears by the new budget, and fare increase, and has told her constituents that the changes are necessary.
In a statement made to the media Robinson says, “This budget allows us to retain the important investments in public transit services Toronto Council has approved over the past several years.” She continues to say, “Increasing fares is always a last resort, but in order to protect those services, we need to strike a balance between what’s affordable to our customers and to the residents of Toronto.”
The average rider however, disagrees with Robinson. TTC redditors are enraged with the fare hike, users openly sharing their distaste. One comment from reddit user Adonis-in-the-making read, “daily delays and a price hike? damn what have I done to deserve such amazing service.”
That sarcastic comment brings up a great point with many TTC lines and bus routes being plagued with near constant delays, even more so with the extreme weather. Less service for more money seems really unfair, but in the TTC’s defence they are desperately trying to improve service with new projects and programs, like Mayor John Tory’s relief line, or additional bus routes.
TTC expert Steve Munro says many of these improvements are necessary, but long overdue. Munro says the TTC is at its breaking point right now, and without these developments the TTC will be unable to provide enough service, during the winter when riders are trying to stay out of the cold weather. This will no doubt lead to longer delays and it will make delays more common.
Munro says, “What we’re seeing right now is a foretaste of what we get if we don’t invest in substantial improvements to public transit.”
Munro brings up that the relief line has been a topic of debate for the better part of a decade, and Tory has only recently adopted the idea and begun pushing its construction. Additionally, the recent expansion to line 1 took almost two years of debate before they even started building it.
On top of all this, Munro says that the operating budget is large enough to cover the bare minimum. He says, “They’re managing to keep the lights on but that’s about it.”
Despite all their shortcomings, Munro still believes the fare hike is necessary. He says that if we didn’t have to pay an extra 10-cents this year we’d have 20-30-cents next year. Munro believes that without these daily increases to fair the TTC will not be able to function and for them to have any chance of improving service.
The 10-cent fare increase comes into effect for all riders on April 1.