Briefing Note: TTC Operating Budget 2010: Fare Increase

Date: 11/16/09
To: Members of the Toronto Transit Commission
From: Toronto Environmental Alliance

RE: TTC Operating Budget 2010: Fare Increase

The Commission’s debate of fare increases to start January 2010 epitomizes just how untenable the current approach to funding transit is. In 2009, TTC fares were frozen as part of the Mayor’s commitment to provide relief to those hit by the recession. In 2010, the impacts of the recession are just now truly settling in for those who have lost their jobs, and the TTC operating budget is in crisis once again, threatening a fare increase that will erase the relief provided by 2009’s fare freeze. Yet the roots of this crisis are easily found.

This fall, the City’s Budget Committee directed the TTC to cut its operating subsidy request to 5% below 2009 levels despite City mandated expansion of service that results in expanding costs.

It is likely that the TTC will approve the biggest single fare increase since amalgamation before the City and residents get to look at and debate its operating budget as part of the 2010 budget cycle. It is nearly unfathomable how the TTC and the City can rationalize a fare increase that is double any Cost of Living increase riders may have received to their income over the last two years. Even with the fare increase, the TTC says that it will need to ask for an additional $50 million in operating subsidies.

The Province, who lists transit as a top priority, has remained silent on any possible one-time gifts or more sustained funding programs. The Province’s recent funding commitments focused on building transit, not running it.

The City, the TTC and the Province are all aware that the cost of operating transit is on the rise due to labour costs, fuel costs and plans to expand service, yet none have proposed a long-term funding solution that addresses these costs. It is time for this to change.


TEA calls on the City, the Province and the TTC to develop an operating funding plan for the fair and sustainable operation of Toronto’s transit system.

Recommended Motion: The Commission commit to working with the City and the Province on a long-term funding plan that achieves the following:

  • A return to a 50/50 cost share of the TTC operating subsidy between the Province and the City.
  • A fare box ratio of 60% by 2015. This target strives to move the fare box ratio closer to the North American average rather than North America’s highest ratio.
  • A detailed explanation of how a new funding plan will support the service improvements and standards established by the Official Plan, the Ridership Growth Strategy, and the Transit City plan.
  • A five year forecast of expected fare increases

Furthermore, we support the Canadian Federation of Student’s call to extend the Senior/Student discount fare schedule to post-secondary students. The City should also consider the possibility of extending this discounted fare to riders who are underemployed or on social assistance. This move would help to offset the general adult fare increase for our City’s most vulnerable.

Recommended Motion: Direct staff to consider and report back on possible options and costs for extending the discount fare program to riders that are underemployed and on social assistance for discussion during the 2010 Operating Budget process.


For more information:

Katrina Miller, Campaigns Director
[email protected]
work: 416-596-0660 cell: 647-272-5024

Jamie Kirkpatrick, Campaigner
[email protected]
work: 416-596-0660 cell: 416-895-3406