Toronto City Council voted decisively to reaffirm its support for keeping ownership of the TTC on December 13 – rebuking Premier Ford and his scheme to break apart Toronto’s public transit system. The vote of 23 to 2 came as a coalition of transit advocates rallied outside City Hall demanding more transit funding from Queen’s Park to improve and expand service.

ATU Local 113 Sisters and Brothers rallied with TTCriders, Progress Toronto, Defend Toronto, the Canadian Federation of Students, the Toronto & York Region Labour Council and the Ontario NDP to make clear all that’s at stake for Toronto and its riders. Aleem Tharani, ATU Local 113 Executive Board Member, explained to the crowd, “Torontonians have funded the system for 100 years, it’s only fair we keep it!” Tharani’s concern adds to a growing list about Premier Ford’s hazy plan, including the implications of losing assets, the integrated system and accountable governance structures.

ATU Local 113 President-elect Carlos Santos, shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow transit advocates, demanding the City and Province keep transit public.

From left to right: Aleem Tharani (ATU Local 113 Executive Board Member – At Large Maintenance), Andrew Folatico (ATU Local 113 Health and Safety Representative), Jessica Bell (NDP MPP and Transit Critic) and Marvin Alfred (ATU Local 113 Executive Board – Transportation Arrow Road/Mt Dennis).

NDP MPP and Transit Critic Jessica Bell, standing beside Councillors Gord Perks and Mike Layton, called the so-called upload scheme for what it is, “Premier Ford’s grudge match against Toronto.” Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam added, “Torontonians say ‘no’ to Doug Ford stealing our subway!”

The vote in City Hall is a watershed moment for the fight to keep transit public. Mayor John Tory himself moved a motion to include an amendment affirming the City’s support for keeping ownership of the TTC, an indication he understands the value of Toronto’s 11,000 highly-skilled public transit workers.

Torontonians concerned about their public transit system are encouraged to sign the petition to Keep Transit Public here. ATU Local 113 members are urged to email to get involved.