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No fare hike in TTC’s proposed 2018 operating budget

Last Updated Nov 15, 2017 at 8:10 pm EDT

Welcome news for TTC riders. The transit body released its proposed 2018 operating budget Tuesday and it does not include a fare hike.

The TTC had increased cash fares every year for six consecutive years.

The TTC’s budget committee, which meets on Friday, will be looking for an additional $37-million subsidy on top of the more than half billion dollars it already receives from the city.

The TTC says the $37-million is actually less than the original $86-million request which was considered during the start of the budget process.

The TTC says the subsidy increase will enable them to maintain current service levels even without a fare increase. But don’t expect more buses on the roads, in fact, in some areas you can expect less as the Toronto York Spadina Subway extension starts to replace those routes once it begins operating in December.

Bombardier’s delay in delivering the Light Rail vehicles also means the TTC is saving cash on some jobs it can’t fill until the vehicles get there.

The TTC’s budget is $1.8-billion but its a budget that has a lot of optimism.

There’s $4-million budgeted for paid emergency days, a proposed measure from the Liberals that would give employees two paid days for personal crisis. However, that estimate is based on how many employees took unpaid days last year – a number that is likely to climb when they’ll be able to afford to take the time off.

The budget also hasn’t factored in any of the other proposed changes such as extended paternal leave and increased vacation times after years of service, changes that will increase labour costs.

The budget is also banking on passengers making the move to PRESTO slowly. So far, only 12 per cent of riders have made the switch. Every two per cent costs an additional $1.1-million in transitional costs so a sudden spike to 50 per cent would cost the TTC at least $20-million.

The budget also assumes Bombardier will deliver enough Light Rail vehicles to cover several routes completely. If that doesn’t happen, then costs will climb.