Students and community groups alike are criticizing Toronto Mayor John Tory’s proposed increase to TTC fares.
As part of the hike, token prices will increase 10 cents to $2.80 starting March 1, 2015. The increase will not apply to the standard cash fare, which remains at $3.
Tory, who campaigned on a fare freeze, says the increase will be accompanied by expansions in TTC service, including the restoration of all-day, every-day bus service, the addition of two trains to the rush hour service on both the Bloor-Danforth and Yonge-University subway lines, and the purchase of 50 new buses.
Children 12 and under will also ride free starting March 1.
According to Tory, his goal is to restore services cut by previous mayor Rob Ford.
Overall, Tory says he plans to increase TTC funding by $95 million, of which a little more than half will be provided by the fare hike.
Bhani Wadhwa, a second-year commuter student, says she has no option but to accept the fare hike. “I do not have the option of not coming to school, so even if the fare [increases], I have no option but to accept and keep paying the fees,” she says.
Although Wadhwa says the fare hike will not stop her from attending classes, it may limit her ability to participate in extracurricular activities.
In a press release, TTCriders, a transit advocacy group, lauded the increased service and funding, but was critical of the fare hike. “We are disappointed to learn that Mayor Tory has reneged on his promise to freeze fares,” the release said.
Jessica Bell, TTCriders executive director, says that fares are moving in the wrong direction. “Funds need to be allocated for transit improvements and lowering the fare for all users,” says Bell.
Haris Yaqeen, a second-year commuter student, says increasing fares is unfair to postsecondary students. “Students have less income to spend for what employment they have, and also have high costs that are unique to them, so it is unfair that they must pay the same amount as adults,” Yaqeen says.
Alex Parent, a third-year commuter student, says he already pays $14 to commute from Mississauga to the St. George campus. For him, the already expensive fare takes away money he could be using on meals.
Since Parent’s journey takes him across cities in the Greater Toronto Area, he uses both a Presto card and cash fare. He says that the Presto cards are often not accepted at TTC locations, and that he would like to see better infrastructure implemented for Presto users.
Parent adds that post-secondary students often lack financial stability, and that special consideration should be given to them as a result.