The agreement between the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario is a step in the wrong direction. In fact, the agreement is a step backwards for Torontonians who deserve an integrated service they can rely on.
Torontonians have been crystal clear: we do not consent to Premier Ford stealing our subway. Toronto City Council has already voted twice to continue to own, operate and maintain transit service. Having efficient and reliable public transit can only come by properly funding the system, not breaking it apart and privatizing it.
A publicly owned TTC and its 11,500 public transit workers are best positioned to deliver transit in an efficient and effective manner. We serve the communities we live in, and we’ve been doing it “the better way” since the early days of the TTC.
Sadly, it’s the riders who will pay the consequences of the so-called TTC subway upload. It will lead to the privatization of our cherished public transit, similar to what is happening with Metrolinx’s GO system.
Privatization will mean higher fares and reduced service, while private companies stand to line their pockets from contracts, such as scandal-plagued SNC-Lavalin and Bombardier (currently unable to deliver streetcars on time). It’s time to deliver for Toronto’s public transit riders – and it’s not through Premier Ford’s disastrous plan.
Transit Advocacy Group TTCriders on what’s at Risk for Our Public Transit System
Following the agreement becoming publicly available, Toronto’s transit advocacy group TTCriders shared that the Terms of Reference released by the City and Province on subway upload negotiations is missing two crucial aspects: the City’s capacity to oppose it and the principle of affordability.
“Premier Ford hasn’t convinced anyone that stealing the subway will deliver better transit,” said Shelagh Pizey-Allen, their Executive Director. “This city’s transit riders deserve much better.”
“The best way to make transit affordable and fix overcrowding and delays is to fund operations,” said Pizey-Allen. “If the province steals the subway, riders will lose out with higher fares, a crumbling subway system, and less say. The only people who stand to benefit from the plan are developers, who will get handed public land on top of stations.”
The provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, is exploring charging higher fares for riding the subway. “People who can’t keep up with the increasing fares will get stuck on the bus, while others get premium service on the subway,” said Pizey-Allen. “They’ve also considered a fare-by-distance model, which would leave residents in Scarborough and Etobicoke paying more.”
“There’s nothing in the Terms of Reference about making sure transit is accessible for everyone in this city.”
TTCriders is also raising the alarm that the Terms of Reference scraps the City’s ability to refuse the upload plan. “We, residents of and riders in Toronto, have the right to say ‘No’,” said Pizey-Allen.