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TTC to raise fares starting in 2014

Posted by Chris Bateman / November 20, 2013

toronto ttc tokenGet ready to dig a little deeper at the Metropass office in 2014 - the TTC has decided to hike the cost of a monthly pass and pack of tokens by a nickel per ride. Under the budget approved this afternoon, cash fares will remain $3.00 while tokens and PRESTO rides climb to $2.70 each. A monthly Metropass will cost $133.75, an increase of $5.25.

Put another way, the price of a Metropass will represent the equivalent of 49.5 pre-paid trips, up from 48.5, a 5-cent increase per journey.

But why raise prices at all?

"It really comes down to service," says TTC spokesman Brad Ross. "We're looking at 540 million trips next year, which means we have to put the service on the street to meet that ridership demand, and that necessitates increased costs - more operators, more maintenance personnel, more fuel costs, increased energy costs."

"As ridership goes up so too do our costs, and that's essentially how we set our budget."

In other words, none of the extra money will be spent on new subway lines, trains, or other major expansions to the system.

94 per cent of TTC revenue comes from the fare box - the rest comes from advertising and fees for providing a limited amount of transit service outside city limits. Fare income covers about 78 per cent of day-to-day operating costs.

toronto ttc logoDespite a planned $17-19 million increase this year, which still needs council approval, the system remains the least subsidized in North America relative to the number of people it serves. The TTC receives receives no funding from the provincial or federal governments and just $411 million from the city, equal to 78 cents per rider.

For comparison, Montreal, the second least subsidized system by passenger numbers, gets $1.16 per rider. GO riders are propped up by a $1.28 contribution from the province. York Region transit, meanwhile, receives $4.49 per rider. The chart below from the TTC budget illustrates the current situation.

"One could argue our subsidy has been flatlined at $411 million, which really amounts to a cut because ridership has gone up but the subsidy has remained flat," Ross says.

"Even with the fare increase we're still facing a $6 million shortfall in our operating budget, but we feel that through efficiencies and other savings we can make that up."

ttc subsidyRoss says the TTC with Toronto's city manager and chief financial officer will begin lobbying the provincial and federal governments for "long-term, sustainable, predictable funding."

"This is not sustainable - you cannot sustain an operating budget of this magnitude for a transit system of this size with a subsidy that is this low."

The new prices will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Images: Mike Rotenberg/blogTO Flickr pool, TTC, Chris Bateman/blogTO

Discussion

50 Comments

Ryan / November 20, 2013 at 03:56 pm
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Can we just please, finally, build road tolls to get into the city to offset all these increased costs for services?

Yes, I'm aware that this would flood the TTC trains/buses/streetcars. Worth it, for the revenue from the tolls and increased ridership, which may push the TTC to bring our grid into this century (for a city this size).
Waytin Ferthabuz / November 20, 2013 at 04:06 pm
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Perhaps a review of employee salaries is in order. One has to question why any operator or station collector would make over $100k. Ridiculous. http://www.torontosun.com/2013/03/28/ttc-staff-making-100gs-hits-1395
Kris Baitmahn / November 20, 2013 at 04:07 pm
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Have we ever been given a reason why the provincial and federal government don't subsidize the transit system for Canada's biggest city and biggest tourist attraction?

Can someone direct me to a quote from the Premier or Finance Minister? Anything?

I don't think it is conceited or vain to state that the infrastructure and prosperity of this city is a national concern.
Welshgrrl / November 20, 2013 at 04:14 pm
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More money for less service! Awesome!! Thanks TTC!!!
Candice / November 20, 2013 at 04:16 pm
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The city NEEDS relief line please!
tell me about it replying to a comment from Waytin Ferthabuz / November 20, 2013 at 04:17 pm
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It is pretty ridiculous.
Why cant these over paid transit collectors be replaced by a machine like everywhere else in the world?
Yes Toronto is a city made up of many languages, but that is an easy fix on a self serve ticket machine. The upfront cost would be huge but pay off big time in the long run.
With presto on the way, even less reason to keep these collectors around.
Itll_Never_Change / November 20, 2013 at 04:19 pm
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The fares will keep rising and the service will either be status quo (lousy) or will keep bottoming out.
Many factors here, the size of the city, the lack of a cohesive fare system (fare zones, transfer options),operating subsidy, and the fact that there are many employees making way too much money for what they do. This is "not a race to the bottom" comment, I'm not advocating gutting salaries here, however I lived across from a TTC yard for over 5 years and I've seen bunches of 8 (!) workers standing around for hours while 1 or 2 work.
I worked from home so I was able to document this quite easily. I've also heard some of them openly admit how they "fuck the dog" and get double time for basically driving around. Now to be fair, management is also to blame for not cracking down and firing these lowlifes, but keep in mind that it's almost impossible to fire someone in a heavily unionized environment like that. As long as we have people in power who are driven by ideology (and I'm pointing the finger at Miller then and Ford now), we'll never get out of this mess. Either they want to spend their way out of things or cut their way out of things...neither one works.
nb replying to a comment from Kris Baitmahn / November 20, 2013 at 04:21 pm
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Kris, it's because Mike Harris cut the subsidy in the 90s. At the time, that amounted to $ 150 million. It's been impossible to get back ever since.
Kris Baitmahn replying to a comment from nb / November 20, 2013 at 04:23 pm
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Why's that? I'm sure people have lobbied for it before - does anyone know off the top of their heads? (save me the trouble of researching)
Jake replying to a comment from Welshgrrl / November 20, 2013 at 04:27 pm
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You get what you pay for. This is what the current level of transit service costs. Everyone wants better service, no one wants to pay the fares or the taxes it would take to actually get it.
You're Getting Hosed / November 20, 2013 at 04:27 pm
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The fare hike ought to make sure Toronto retains the crown of "most expensive big-city transit"...

http://www.blogto.com/city/2013/02/is_the_ttc_still_the_most_expensive_transit_system_in_north_america/
nb replying to a comment from Kris Baitmahn / November 20, 2013 at 04:34 pm
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Because in the 21st century, for a government to commit to voluntarily spending $150 million+ a year on transit is political suicide. That's the dystopia we live in.
Keith replying to a comment from Jake / November 20, 2013 at 04:38 pm
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I generally wouldn't mind a small price hike if it's really needed, but TTC are fat greedy cats, that waste the money we pay them. There are plenty examples of their wastefulness. So before increasing prices, they should really get their sh*t together.
Jordan / November 20, 2013 at 04:49 pm
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I love the people parroting the Sun talking point about overpaid station collectors, which even if it were true, would be a drop in the bucket when it comes to TTC operating costs. Just ignore the fact that the TTC is hands down far and away the least subsidized transit system in North America so you can drag us all down in the race to the bottom, you grumpy old coots.
W. K. Lis / November 20, 2013 at 04:53 pm
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The federal government in Ottawa is the only western democracy that ignores urban public transit's operating budget. It does contribute towards the capital budget, but on a one time basis or to buy votes.
Marc / November 20, 2013 at 04:53 pm
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Remember this when Stintz and Ford run for mayor in 2014.

Useless.
Rob / November 20, 2013 at 04:54 pm
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I find the 'ttc workers are overpaid' crowd the same as those who criticize big contracts handed to athletes. No player would refuse the money given and no worker would give back part of their salary. You wouldn't do it. I wouldn't do it. So, let's be fair here.

I would imagine no worker goes to the TTC thinking 'I'm going to make $100K' right off-the-bat. Their contracts are collectively bargained, which will increases thanks to their essential service status. More importantly, I think, it's just a matter of these guys being at the TTC so long that their increases, plus any overtime and service, make it easy to get within reach of the magical $100K target. That's normal in a unionized environment. I don't begrudge someone making a living wage. Can they be used in another fashion and not as ticket collectors? Probably. But even in other cities, there's typically one person at a station, even if the rest is automated.

As for why other levels of gov't don't fund the TTC - as mentioned before, it's political suicide to be seen supporting Toronto, even though we, in the city, generate a lot of tax dollars and revenue for the remainder of the province and country. Plus, throw in the province ending its 50% subsidy and you get the TTC in its current state today.
Chester / November 20, 2013 at 05:04 pm
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Ladies and Gents only people to blame for this is the TTC Union. They prop up their workers like gods. No one should get paid to make change in 2013. Every major city in the world has kiosks but they will never be implemented with the unions CBA. Also it wouldn't hurt if the province and federal government actually gave a shit about the system but they are also scared of the union.

No offense to the majority of hardworking ttc workers. I'm serious in saying most of you are great, responsible people but your organization is run like its 1982.
Al / November 20, 2013 at 05:14 pm
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Just wait until the Spadina extension and the Scarborough gravy train come on line. Neither one will bring in enough revenue to justify their operating expenses.
Tim / November 20, 2013 at 05:21 pm
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Karen Stintz for Mayor!!!
Donm / November 20, 2013 at 05:36 pm
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We need to increase BIXI fares asap to subsidize the TTC. Get on it , ride a bixi $15/hr.
Case / November 20, 2013 at 05:39 pm
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In March 2009, Stintz came under some scrutiny when it was revealed that she spent $4,500 of her councillor's office budget on voice lessons. She defended her expenditure by saying that it improved her speaking during council meetings.
bm replying to a comment from nb / November 20, 2013 at 05:42 pm
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Ugh! Are we still blaming Mike Harris for everything? Move on. Please.
nb / November 20, 2013 at 05:56 pm
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Why move on when we are still feeling the effects of what he did and people can't figure it out?

Mr. Banana / November 20, 2013 at 06:00 pm
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Once again the suits upstairs have no shame in taking more money away from those that don't have much of it to start with.

Even if the government decided to properly subsidize the TTC, some idiots in the sticks will complain about how everyone is always catering to Toronto. Fucking pig farmers.
Dave / November 20, 2013 at 06:12 pm
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Blame Rob Ford
Adrian / November 20, 2013 at 06:12 pm
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Ttc should adopt a zone system. The further you travel the more you pay
Don / November 20, 2013 at 06:29 pm
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First World Problem. NIMBY.
NICE GUY / November 20, 2013 at 06:31 pm
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more operators, more maintenance personnel, more fuel costs, MORE DELAY, MORE SIGNAL PROBLEMS WHILE IT'S BEEN UPDATED DURING THE WEEKEND~
Ttc should be free / November 20, 2013 at 06:38 pm
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You know how economists say, that cutting taxes and user fees ultimately stimulates an economy? So then make the TTC free, and the number of people rushing to live in Toronto because of that will have a huge financial impact for Toronto in a positive way. If tax money pays for it then why should there be a fee associated with using it it's a stupid excuse. Now I'm sure people will coming in defense of the ttc on this suggestion because everyone is so happy to "pay their fair share" in Toronto. But it's a suggestion, and people should be thinking differently about how government brainwashed and screws with your wallet
Bobo / November 20, 2013 at 06:47 pm
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Yet, I still can't get on a northbound train at Wellesley between 5pm and 6pm because the people are packed in so tightly. The doors open and the patrons on the platform stare helplessly.

I just walk to Bloor and get on there, but it's evident the system is over capacity.
nb replying to a comment from Ttc should be free / November 20, 2013 at 07:03 pm
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Perhaps you have been misled by these "economists".
Dave / November 20, 2013 at 08:03 pm
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Hi Dave, it's me Dave. Dave, hi. Dave, are you one of those tax payers. You know the ones. The kind that love to love right wing liars who say they're saving tax money when they're not? The kind that sound like they'd actually pay more taxes, just to feel more superior than they already do. Like a self appointed tax debutant if you will, from Etobicoke. Anyway Dave, just some thoughts, Cheerio, and best of luck trying to hold on to Don Boscos dress. I'm sure you look great in that number, looking at yourself in a mirror in the basement. Oh Dave.
David replying to a comment from Adrian / November 20, 2013 at 08:47 pm
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Used to have a zone system. TTC underwater since it was abolished.
Too expensive / November 20, 2013 at 08:53 pm
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How are prices going up so fast? I first bought a Metropass 8 years ago for $100. In 2014 the cost will be $133. 75. This is a 33% increase in 8 years. Yet the TTC has been around for decades. How can the cost be going up so quickly?

Maybe it is the 1800+ people working there making $100k+.
Bitcoin / November 20, 2013 at 09:08 pm
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hope to see them start accepting bitcoin soon
Zone / November 20, 2013 at 09:09 pm
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For those of you who've travelled and been exposed to subway systems and transit in other cities around the globe, you'll know that, the TTT is tiny! It's puny in comparison to many other systems around the world. I don't see how you could have a zone system without really ripping people off in such a limited system. You'd have to have subways all over to the airport, a really extensive system with several lines which would be used to start justifying zones. The TTC is a joke, for all the chatter about it it's great that it's there but it's very limited in it's reach and service
Rip off / November 20, 2013 at 09:13 pm
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Transit and commenting is a ripoff in the GTA. There should be one system. Forget Mississauga and Durham systems and Go Transit and the TTC and having to pay so much just to get to work. It's insane. It should all be one system. The point should be to start actually helping the public who pay so much just to get in and out of the city to do it at a reasonable cost
Rip off / November 20, 2013 at 09:13 pm
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Commuting
Politicalinsider / November 20, 2013 at 09:56 pm
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The taxi lobby in Toronto is incredibly strong and keeps the government from further developing our public transit infrastructure. After all, taxis benefit from the inability of people to get around Toronto without a car.
PoliticalOutsider / November 21, 2013 at 12:06 am
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Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Motherf'r him and John Wayne
Meg / November 21, 2013 at 06:33 am
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We can stop blaming Mike Harris when his quote unquote common sense revolution stops affecting us negatively. Downloading costs to the lowest level of government that can handle it is in theory a reasonable thing - except in this case, the city can't handle it. A city is not a money making enterprise, it is not a private corporation. Government is designed to improve civic life, to help redistribute a percentage of the people's money for projects and services that make their cities, countries, etc., livable. This country and more recently this city seem to have taken a turn to the US-style me-me-me capitalism. Money is not the only way of measuring success, and that view ignores so much of what's actually rewarding, but people seem to have started thinking that way.
Mr. Banana / November 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm
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Sadly much of the population doesn't have a good memory so they don't remember how much of a craphole the city became during Mike Harris' tenure.

With the antics of Mcguinty still fresh in their minds I am afraid that some Mike Harris version 2.0 will get elected some day soon.
Alex / November 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm
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Incredible, tycoon provides such dismal shitty service as it stands right now and they expect us to pay more ? Well then... Go fuck yourself ttc why doesn't Toronto scrap all of fords money he would probably spend on crack anyway to fix this, why should we pay more?
Dan / November 21, 2013 at 02:50 pm
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Mike Harris was a great Premier he brought this provinces finaces into order. My hope is Tim Hudak who worked in his cabinet, will be the same kind of leader.

Ben Smith replying to a comment from Dan / November 21, 2013 at 07:34 pm
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If you think he was so great, you should get your bottled water from Walkerton then.
Tina / November 23, 2013 at 01:00 pm
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I find it interesting that the sentiment is: "As ridership goes up so too do our costs, and that's essentially how we set our budget."
However with more people using the TTC, this also means as ridership goes up so too does "our revenues." They are making more money and this should off set the costs that are needed to meet the needs of the increased ridership. Why does it cost more to receive the same or more often then not a decreased level of service?
S / November 23, 2013 at 05:45 pm
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It's a SMALL increase. An extra almost $6 a month? It's not that bad. It's UNLIMITED transit. It's a LOT cheaper than driving. It's a LOT cheaper than cabs. A small increase in price each year is not that bad.
Moneesha replying to a comment from S / November 23, 2013 at 07:23 pm
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It also sucks to use. At least drivers don't have to be travelling with the average TTC user.
Sarah / December 13, 2013 at 11:33 am
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And I have to wait 20min in the cold for the fcking ttc bus at highway 7 and maccowan!! No idea why they removed the cover and didnt replace it.
Public transport here is so much worse than in my country(developing). The bus comes every 5min DUH.

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