ttc fare evasion

Toronto's fare evasion fines far exceed every other city in Canada

Transit fare inspectors are notoriously unpopular in cities across Canada, but it seems Toronto in particular issues fare evasion fines that are drastically higher than all the rest.

The TTC recently reported that they lost more than $70 million to fare evasion in 2019, and they're in the process of implementing several measures to try and combat the pervasive issue. 

But beyond Toronto residents' frustration with pushy ad campaigns and aggressive transit officers, many are questioning why fines for fare evasion in Toronto are so exorbitant compared to other infractions and other cities. 

According to one researcher, Toronto's fines for fare evasion are the most expensive in the country and more than most big cities in the U.S.

Fare evasion fines in Toronto range between $235 and $425, while other major Canadian cities charge commuters way less for not paying a fare worth several dollars. 

According to the CBC, the fine for fare evasion is $150 at OC Transpo in Ottawa, $173 at TransLink in Greater Vancouver, $150 to $500 at STM in Montreal and $250 at Edmonton Transit Service.

And in New York City, the fine for fare evasion is just $100. 

In a video posted to Twitter by CityNews reporter Tina Yazdani, TTC CEO Rick Leary said the fines are that high so people know they can't commit the same offence time after time.

"You want to make sure that people know right away there's a significant ticket coming," he said. "It's important."

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green told the CBC fines have to be that high because fares account for the majority of the system's budget. 

He said the TTC is perhaps hit harder by fare evasion than other cities, and the money collected from fines goes to the city and not the TTC itself.

Still, many Toronto residents are speaking out against the fines and saying they're disporportionately issued to poor riders who could never pay such a high price in the first place. 

And others are pointing out how ridiculous it is that infractions that actually pose a threat to the safety of others — such as running a red light or a stop sign — merit lower fines than not paying a $3.25 fare.

Some are even saying if the TTC can issue such unreasonably high fines, riders should be compensated for all the money they've lost on days when transit service was down.

"How is it that the TTC can fine someone $400 for not paying their fare yet we have no recourse as customers receiving horrible service," one Twitter user wrote

"Would love to send the #TTC a bill for all of the Ubers/cabs I've had to waste my hard earned money on. Not to mention the stress."

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