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TTC votes for 5-cent fare hike

The TTC has voted unanimously in favour of a five-cent fare hike.

On Wednesday, all six commission members present approved the preliminary budget — including the increase which will go into effect next year.

Depending on what city council decides for the TTC’s subsidy, the fare hike could be more or less.

The commission says it’s trying to reduce $30 million worth of red ink on the books for the 2013 budget. The latest fare hike would generate about $18 million.

TTC CEO Andy Blyford said it was a better option that cutting service to save the money.

“Ultimately this is about getting the best value of money for the taxpayer and rider. I do not want to cut routes,” Byford said.

Earlier in the day, the transit advocacy group TTCriders slammed the proposed hike.

“The TTC Commission should be doing what’s best for all Torontonians. Raising fares by some $30 a year doesn’t help anybody, especially our most economically vulnerable,” spokesperson Jessica Bell said in a statement.

The bulk of the fare is paid by riders, not the municipal, provincial or federal governments. Bell argued that this must change.

“More funding for public transit must come from other sources,” Bell said.

TTCriders is calling on the three levels of governments to invest more in transit, so users will pay less.

CityNews’ Peter Kim and Cynthia Mulligan tweeted from the meeting. Read their posts below.

The commission also voted Thursday to contract out its bus cleaning positions, and the TTC’s union warned of possible job action.

Bob Kinnear, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, said he’s furious the TTC voted to contract out the 159 jobs and said he is considering a “slowdown.”

“We are most definitely going to react,” Kinnear said before the vote.

“We’ve heard very clearly from our membership, all 10,000 of them, that we are supportive of each other. We are going to support each group in whatever endeavour that we move forward with.”

The commission says privatizing the jobs will save $500,000 in the first year and wouldn’t result in job losses. Current workers will be transferred to other areas of the TTC.

Kinnear claims that money nearly equals a management pay increase discussed last month.

Click here to see the agenda for Thursday’s transit meeting.