history ttc fares increase

This is how much TTC fares have increased in the last 30 years

These days it's more expensive to ride the TTC than it used to be. If you're an adult paying cash, a ride on the subway, bus or streetcar will set you back $3.25 while the cost of using PRESTO will save you a nickel.

Gone are the days when tickets and tokens were an actual thing.

If you go back to the birth of Toronto's subway system in 1954, TTC fares seem outrageously cheap.

Adult cash fares were 15 cents, five tickets cost 50 cents, and students paid 55 cents for 10 tickets. When you factor in the rate of inflation, the difference is less dramatic, but it's also clear that our transit fares have increased at a much quicker pace.

It's more interesting to go back about 30 years for an indication of how TTC fares have increased. Rewind to 1990, and this is what the TTC fare package looked like: adult cash fare was $1.20, eight tokens cost $8, a Metropass was $53, and students paid $4 for eight tickets.

In other words, from 1990 to 2020, the cost of a ride on the TTC increased from $1 to $3.20, which is more than 300 per cent, a rate that way outpaces that of inflation.

There are obviously many factors at play here, but the big one is the erosion of TTC subsidies, a process which began in 1996 with the termination of the provincial subsidy under Mike Harris.

In six years, fares had increased to $2 cash, $16 for 10 tickets, $83 for a Metropass, and $10.70 for 10 student tickets.

With no increase in service and raised fares, the initial effect was a drop in ridership, which typically a snowball effect: you need to raise fares to make up for lost revenue.

Ridership numbers eventually recovered through the 2000s and some fare relief came when the decision was made to make Metropasses transferrable (remember when you needed ID to use one?), but the glory days of cheap fares and superb rates of service relative to the city's population never returned.

By 2006, the adult cash fare was $2.75, 10 tokens cost $21, and a Metropass was $99.75. Almost 15 years later, those prices have continued to increase. While service may have improved, it certainly doesn't match the rate at which fares have risen.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez. With files from Derek Flack.


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