Following the Ontario Government’s 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, read TTCriders’ response.
“Millions of transit riders across Ontario are counting on Premier Ford to deliver better transit starting in 2019,” said TTCriders Executive Director Shelagh Pizey-Allen. “Premier Ford must increase transit funding to cities and towns so transit riders see better, more affordable commutes.”
More than 100 municipalities expect increased transit funding in 2019 from the provincial government, with the TTC set to receive approximately $170 million in new funding per year, beginning with $40 million in 2019. The provincial contribution to the TTC is allocated to operating and capital costs, including accessibility upgrades.
“Transit cuts have left York students stranded. The province needs to step up and increase funding so we can get to class without paying double or triple fares,” said Sébastien Lalonde, executive member of the York Federation of Students. More than 15,000 people have signed a YFS petition (www.YURide.ca) opposing Metrolinx’s cancellation of GO bus service and YRT’s departure from York University’’s Keele campus.
The Economic Statement did not mention the $3 GO and Union Pearson Express fares proposed in the 2018 provincial budget, a key component of Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack plan. The 2018 budget proposed $3 GO fares within Toronto or for trips under 10 kilometres.
The City of Toronto subsidizes the TTC at a rate of $1.07 per rider, which represents one of the lowest per-rider subsidies in North America. The TTC approved a Ridership Growth Strategy and an expanded Express Bus Network Plan, but both plans lack full funding. TTC ridership has stagnated for the last four years. The TTC intends to raise fares in 2019.
The provincial government reaffirmed its plan to take the TTC’s heavy rail assets. “The TTC belongs to us. Transit riders and taxpayers paid for the subway and we’re not about to let Doug Ford steal away the TTC’s most valuable asset,” said TTCriders member Vincent Puhakka. “We don’t want a two-tiered transit system where low income riders are stuck taking slow, overcrowded buses, while subway and rapid transit fares go through the roof.”