ttc fares

The TTC is losing more money to Uber and Lyft than to fare evasion

According to a new report, Uber and Lyft cost the TTC roughly $74 million in 2019. 

The report, published by RideFair Coalition, estimated that the TTC lost about 31 million rides to the ride-hailing companies that year, which translated into at whopping $74 million revenue loss.

That's a sum greater than estimated $70 million loss to fare evasion in 2019. 

"There was a huge outcry [about fare evasion losses] and it really spurred some action," JJ Fueser, a researcher with the coalition and one of the authors of the report, told CBC.

The TTC employed some pretty aggressive awareness campaigns that the public wasn't a huge fan of, as well as undercover inspectors and hefty fines for fare evasion. 

But Fueser told CBC that fare evasion isn't really the most worrisome issue. Rather, she said, the rising popularity of ride-hailing companies should be taken more seriously. 

"We think this is an even bigger deal because it's a structural issue. It's a growing issue," she said. 

The report mentions that the regulatory changes made to accommodate the companies undermine key policy objectives such as reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions in the city, as well as improving air quality and creating safer streets. 

"Rather than making more efficient use of private vehicles, Uber and Lyft have added to the overall vehicle kilometers travelled in Toronto," the report states. 

"If we have large numbers of people moving off more sustainable, efficient modes of transportation into individual cars, it'll have impacts on congestion, air quality, road safety," said Fueser. 

While both Uber and Lyft told CBC they aren't trying to compete with the TTC, previous research says differently.

"Research by Schaller Consulting into ride-hailing's impact on American cities shows ride-hailing companies are replacing transit use far more than they are replacing individual car use," reads RideFair the report.

The ride-hailing companies' popularity is also impacting the city's ability to provide equitable, affordable and efficient public transit.

And if you combine that with the fact that the TTC is facing a massive budget shortage, $865 million to be exact, and the pandemic hurting ridership even more the problem is more urgent than ever. 

"In light of existing budget problems, reductions in services, discussions around fare increases, and a post -pandemic recovery, it is essential to fully understand the impact that ride - hailing companies like Uber and Lyft have on TTC fare revenue," the report concludes. 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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