michael coteau liberal

The possible next leader of Ontario's Liberal Party wants to make the TTC totally free

Wouldn't it be nice if you never had to pay a TTC fare ever again? Well it might just happen, because that's what one MPP is promising, should he become the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party come March.

MPP Michael Coteau of Don Valley East is proposing that TTC fares be eliminated entirely within the next decade in order to encourage residents to take public transit to help combat climate change.

"Climate change is an urgent, existential threat. We need to act in ways that empower Ontarians to reduce their carbon footprint and save their hard-earned money," he said. 

"I believe, as a principle, that like other public services in Ontario, public transit should be free at the point of access. This initiative will involve all local, regional and provincial transit entities in all parts of Ontario and entail all modes of public transit."

Coteau said their plan is to conduct a cost/benefit analysis in order to determine whether fare-free transit is an effective way of achieving environmental, economic and social objectives. 

He said this will also help determine the return on the province’s investment in free transit.

"We will use the findings of this analysis to inform evidence-based decision-making on the role free transit can play in transitioning Ontario to a greater reliance on public transit to meet our transportation needs," he said. 

Coteau isn't the first to propose this idea, and it's by no means guaranteed. 

In order to officially introduce this plan, Coteau will have to become the Liberal leader on March 7 and then beat Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives in the 2022 provincial election. 

If he manages to accomplish both of those things, Coteau said the change will be introduced incrementally.

It'll begin with young people and seniors, as well as anyone whose switch from driving to public transit would provide the most significant impact toward achieving targeted environmental, economic and social objectives.

He added that the province will support the gradual adoption of free transit programs "by local, regional and provincial transit entities all across the province to facilitate the migration of their business models to a fare-free transit ecosystem."

"Our initiatives to encourage public transit use, including by providing fare-free transit, will be integrated with a province-wide plan to prioritize public transit improvement and expansion as the key component of new public infrastructure in Ontario," Coteau said.

Lead photo by

Akib


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