The Toronto Transit Commission has approved a controversial 10 cent fare hike after hours of debate at city hall on Wednesday.
The increase will take effect on Jan. 1, and will be repeated yearly through 2015.
The hike will only apply to tokens and passes, not cash fares, and is expected to generate around $30 million a year.
Tokens will increase from $2.50 to $2.60, the weekly pass will increase from $36 to $37.50, and the monthly metropass will increase from $121 to $126. Senior/student tickets will increase from $1.65 to $1.75.
Cash fares will remain steady at $3.
Members of the public spent most of the day voicing their displeasure with the prospect of spending more for less service, but failed to sway the commission, which unanimously voted to implement the hike. Only Coun.Maria Augimeri voted against it.
“It’s a very dangerous road, because we have people in charge of the city who either don’t understand the importance of public transit or don’t care. Either one is dangerous,” Augimeri said.
“I think it’s disrespectful to raise fares while cutting service, creating a negative effect on the lives of hundreds of thousands of transit users, in order to save a relatively small amount of money,” said rider Joleen.
“You guys really suck at your job,” rider Jennifer Foulds bluntly told the commission. “When it comes to making sure the TTC is prepared for the future I think we need innovative, clever, visionary thinking. We even need some leadership…Study after study shows raising the fare cuts transit ridership.”
Coun. Peter Milczyn had previously asked the TTC to consider a 15-cent hike instead, arguing the extra money would prevent service cuts.
Reduced services have been proposed on 56 bus and six streetcar routes as part of the mayor’s requirement to cut each departmental budget by 10 per cent. The commission has already cancelled 108 new buses that were ordered to meet growing ridership demands.
The cuts to routes, which would mean a reduction in service to pre-2004 standards, would take effect on Jan. 8, 2012.
But earlier Wednesday, TTC chair Karen Stintz said officials came up with a plan to save or delay service cuts to some of the city’s busiest routes like Dufferin, Don Mills and Finch.
“So we found about $5 million, so that means we can keep the service the same for January, and then starting in February, we’ll be able to keep the service on the busiest routes intact,” she said.