It looks like there will be a TTC fare freeze for all of 2021 as part of a new operating budget for the transit system.
On Thursday, Mayor John Tory confirmed that there will be a TTC fare freeze for all of 2021 as an incentive for people to use public transit more next year.
The TTC has taken a significant hit due to lower ridership from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Safe Restart funding we have secured from the federal and provincial governments has helped ensure the 2021 TTC budget protects service and puts more service on our busiest routes during the pandemic,” said Tory.
“This proposed budget also keeps the cost of transit affordable by freezing fares – this is the right thing to do given the economic impact of COVID-19 on people and is one more way we can help residents get through this crisis.”
The $2.15 billion operating budgets for both the TTC, and Wheel-Trans services, highlight a city subsidy of $789.8 million with additional pandemic-related costs of $796.4 million.
But based on reduced ridership projections, revenues are expected to be just $566.8 million, down from last year’s predicted revenues of $1.353 billion.
The 2021 staff also recommended a Capital Budget of almost $1.32 billion, including $902.7 million for Infrastructure projects and $411.8 million for Vehicle projects.
And more than 60% is dedicated to state of good repair funding while the balance “enables the TTC to begin or continue work on critical service improvement projects and complete vehicle related procurements.”
The budget also includes the Demand Responsive Service Plan, which wants to restore bus service to pre-pandemic levels—matching capacity with demand.
Streetcar, subway and Wheel-Trans service will be maintained at modified 2020 levels, while allowing for restoration to 2020 budgeted levels later in 2021 if ridership increases.
In addition to flexible, demand-based service, the 2021 budget includes funding for:
- Vehicle maintenance programs to ensure repairs are completed proactively prior to failure, to maintain strong, safe vehicle performance.
- Diversity and inclusion initiatives contained in the Embrace Diversity Action Plan, including enhanced training for all employees and diversity outreach programs designed to ensure that the TTC’s workforce is representative of the community it serves.
- Improvements to call wait times for Wheel-Trans customers through the implementation of call overflow service.
- Provision of capacity for business continuity and emergency management operations
- Preparation for ModernTO and cybersecurity implementation.
- Preparations for Line 5 Eglinton LRT operations, which opens in 2022
Before the pandemic, the TTC fare increased by $0.10 for all fares except for the adult rate, which remained at $3.25.
The cost of a monthly Presto pass also increased by $4.85 for an adult, bringing it to $156.
Post-secondary students faced an even bigger jump. Their monthly metro passes increased by $5.70 per month bringing the total to $117.45.
Tory will have more to say on the fare freeze during a press conference at 1:30 pm today.
More to come.