Toronto Mayor John Tory revealed some major news Wednesday morning that will likely affect your personal transportation budget, announcing a series of proposed investments in the city’s 2023 budget, including a coming hike in TTC fares.
If approved by the TTC Board and Budget Committee next week, the move will increase fares amid a wave of crime on the public transit network, using a portion of that revenue to hire additional outreach workers and special constables along with other planned improvements.
Riders will have to fork over an additional $0.10 per fare if the budget passes, a below-inflation increase of 3.1% that follows a two-year freeze introduced in 2020 as the city struggled with an unprecedented drop in ridership.
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This hike won’t affect all riders, however, as TTC fares will continue to be frozen for seniors and all monthly passes. In addition, the city will expand its Fair Pass Transit Discount Program making another 50,000 low-income residents eligible for subsidized rides.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) January 4, 2023
For that extra $0.10 per trip, riders will see an increased presence of TTC Special Constables and Streets to Homes outreach workers on the system.
The transit agency intends to hire 10 outreach workers to help vulnerable people, and 50 Special Constables to keep the peace on an increasingly hostile TTC.
Other planned improvements through this budgetary increase include prioritization of service on routes in communities identified as Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and increased cleaning in streetcars operating on the busiest routes.
All of the changes will cost the city an additional $53 million, and the $0.10 fare increase is designed to address the added costs while reflecting rising inflation — a factor TTC riders have been insulated from for the past two years.
“Investing in our transit system is one of my top priorities for the next four years. While this is a challenging year for the city, we are investing to keep transit safe, improve service, and support seniors and low-income residents,” said Tory.
“Protecting nuts and bolts services residents rely on and expect us to deliver is my priority throughout the 2023 budget,” the mayor added.
Though still subject to review by the TTC Board, Councillor Jon Burnside, chair of the TTC, stands behind the proposed budget, saying, the investments reflect the needs of residents, TTC workers, and the transit system itself.
“I’m confident with these investments and focused improvement of services we are setting up our transit system to be safer, more reliable, and more accessible for all.”
Similarly, the plan must be greenlit by the Budget Committee, though Councillor Gary Crawford, chair of the Budget Committee, already stands behind it, saying that the proposed budget “protects frontline services while meeting a challenging year without making the affordability crisis worse.”
The city’s subsidy to the TTC in the 2023 budget now stands at a staggering $958.7 million, marking a 5.85% or $53 million increase over the 2022 approved budget.