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TTC Board member Jim Karygiannis insists he knows cost of fare, but says he rarely takes TTC

Last Updated Dec 16, 2019 at 11:51 pm EST

TTC Board member Jim Karygiannis insists that he knows how much TTC fares cost, but admits that he rarely takes public transit because it’s too inconvenient and time consuming for himself and his constituents in Ward 22, Scarborough-Agincourt.

Coun. Karygiannis came under fire after CityNews posted a video clip of him talking to a deputant at Monday’s board meeting where a 10-cent fare hike was being discussed.

While debating with the deputant about cost differences between the TTC and taxis, Karygiannis seemed to struggle to recall the cost of a TTC fare.

“My question is, what’s the cost of a TTC fare?” Karygiannis asked. “Three dollars, something like that?”

Reached by CityNews reporter Tina Yazdani on the telephone, Karygiannis initially downplayed his inability to recall how much it costs to ride a bus, streetcar or subway in Toronto.

“Listen, I said three dollars something, OK? Versus saying $3.25.”

He later offered a more detailed explanation, saying he knew all along the cost of a fare and was merely trying to elicit a response from the deputant he was sparring with.

“My comment was ‘it’s three something.’ It was a question,” he said. “I was trying to get an answer. Presto is $3.10, cash is $3.25 … It’s not that I don’t know what the TTC fare is.”

Karygiannis did admit that he rarely takes the TTC because it’s incompatible with his work schedule and obligations, but said that would change if subway service was expanded.

“I’d love nothing else but to take the TTC,” he insisted, “I’d love nothing else but a Sheppard subway to be built across Sheppard in my ward. Unfortunately that’s been by the wayside.”

“In my job, and where I come from at the edge of the city, taking the TTC to come down here an hour-and-a-half — it’s not something that I frequently do … the point is that I, as well as the rest of my residents, would like to use the TTC more often.”

“Build the Sheppard subway (and) I’ll be on the TTC more than I would normally.”

Karygiannis’ initial uncertainty on fare prices led to backlash online from those who saw it as evidence of an out-of-touch politician.

“This is exactly the problem,” tweeted Andew Lockett. “A collection of municipal councillors and MPPs who don’t even use public transit are making all the transit decisions.”

“These councillors should have to ride transit at least once per week to join the real world and see what it’s like,” JC added.