For Immediate Release
Toronto: Yesterday evening over 70 TTC Riders came to North York Civic Centre to make history by launching the city’s first-ever member-based transit advocacy group.
“We made history yesterday evening,” said Walied Khogali, Master of Ceremonies for the meeting. “Transit riders from all corners of the city came and pledged to work together to create a better public transit system for Toronto. Their first priority is opposing any new fare hikes as well as any cuts to TTC services.”
The evening started with a celebration of what those who originally started TTCriders in December 2009 have accomplished. From December 2010 to April 2011 TTCriders volunteers spoke with over 50,000 people (either in person or on the phone) about transit expansion, cuts to bus services and TTC fares. As well, TTCriders was responsible for the longest TTC meeting in history (February 2, 2011) when over 100 people spoke out against proposed cuts to TTC bus service. At the end of the evening, participants signed up and became members of TTCriders and volunteered to join new teams that will do most of the work.
“Yesterday evening was a wonderful evolutionary moment for TTCriders” noted Jamie Kirkpatrick, Transit Campaigner for the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA). “We began the transformation from a loose coalition of community groups towards becoming a full-fledged single member-based transit advocacy group.”
Within the next year, TTCriders will hold a members-only meeting and adopt a board of directors, a governance structure and strategic plan. TTCriders is loosely modeled after Straphangers, the highly successful transit users group in New York City.
“We have our work cut out for us this next year,” said Kirkpatrick. “Along with increasing our membership and finding sustainable funding for TTCriders, we will be working hard to make sure we reflect the wishes of our new members. They told us to make sure TTC riders issues are front and centre at City Hall and to begin by fighting any proposed fare hikes and service cuts; so that’s what we’re going to do.”