TTC Fare Increase For 2016

After a long, rambling, and less-then-well-informed debate, the TTC Board has approved increases in selected fares for 2016 at its meeting of November 23, 2015.

  • Adult cash fares will rise from $3.00 to $3.25.
  • Adult tokens will rise from $2.80 to $2.90.
  • Metropass prices (all classes) will not change.
  • Student and senior fares will not change pending the outcome of a study on Fare Equity that will report early in 2016.

The cash fare last changed in 2010, while the adult token fare, then $2.50, will have gone up $0.40 by 2016.

Freezing the Metropass prices will have the effect of lowering the “trip multiple”, the ratio of the pass price to the token fare from 50.5 in 2015 to 48.8. For monthly discount plan (MDP) subscribers, the ratio will fall to 44.7. The multiple is even lower for those who can claim the transit tax credit pulling it down to 38 for MDP users. This is only available to people with taxable income against which the transit credit can be applied.

This will make the pass more attractive to riders who now feel that it is priced beyond their normal transit usage level, and of course will provide a fare freeze for all existing pass users.

The gap between the adult and senior multiple will now be wider because seniors’ fares have not changed leaving the ratio between passes, tickets and cash fares as they were in 2015.

The unfocused debate can be blamed directly on the TTC’s own Budget Committee and its failure to actually discuss fare policy beyond producing a range of options for consideration by the full Board. Absent a clear idea from Mayor Tory or the City’s own budget process of subsidy that the TTC might receive in 2016, debates about “fares” turn into efforts to minimize the subsidy call against the City where “fighting taxes” takes priority.

When the issue reached the full Board, any idea that the TTC could magically survive without more subsidy had evaporated, but we still don’t know what will actually happen to fares or service if Council fails to deal with the TTC’s shortfall.

By the end of the meeting, there were several overlapping motions on the table, the product of many Board members each cooking up their own version of an appropriate new structure and policy framework.

  • By Vince Crisanti: That student and senior fares be frozen pending the outcome of the Fare Equity report in 2016. Carried.
  • By John Campbell: That a revised fare structure (see below) be implemented including a $0.20 jump in the adult token fare. Defeated 10:1 against.
  • By Shelley Carroll as amended by Glenn De Baeremaeker: That staff report back on a common fare multiple for adult, senior and student passes. Carried.
  • By Alan Heisey: That TTC and City Transportation Services work together on improvements to enhance transit service especially for special events such as subway shutdowns, and report to the Board in six months. Carried.
  • By Joe Mihevc: That all seven options for service enhancements be approved. Defeated 8:3 against.
  • By Joe Mihevc: That the three options not approved by the TTC Budget Committee (Subway service reliability, three minute service on Line 1 YUS, Cherry Streetcar) be referred to the City Budget Committee for consideration. Carried.
  • By Josh Colle: That the TTC and Toronto Parking Authority study means by which parking revenue can be maximized with a report to the Board in 3Q16. Carried.
  • By Josh Colle: That the TTC examine ways to increase non-fare revenue and reduce office space costs through consolidation, and that staff report by 2Q16 on annual and long term revenue targets. Carried.
  • By Ron Lalonde as amended above: That the TTC adopt fare scenario 7 with no Metropass, student or senior fare increase ($0.25 more on adult cash fares, $0.10 more on adult token fares). Carried.

The combined effect of these decisions leaves the TTC with a $41-million gap between its proposed budget and the 2015 subsidy level. Considering that they are not even sure of getting that much when the first cut of the City’s 2016 budget is launched on December 15, 2015, this leaves Council facing an 8.7% increase in the main TTC operating subsidy request and a similar increase (although a smaller dollar amount) for Wheel-Trans.

When the final text of these motions is published by the TTC, I will update this article.

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