Heat Toronto

Morning Brew: TTC faces huge budget shortfall, Fair Fare Coalition still wants free transit on hot days, new Ontario I.D. unveiled, Nasty storm hits GTA, and G8/G20 reports released today

TTC board chair Karen Stintz says the commission faces a funding gap next year that could swell to $100-million, due in part to the city's tightening measures thanks to its own anticipated shortfall. With that in mind, apparently everything is on the table, including fare increases, service reductions and staff cuts. Stintz hopes to have a firm number in September when budget decisions will be officially made.

And as if the TTC didn't already have enough on its plate, the Fair Fare Coalition appealed for free transit on smog and heat alert days in Toronto. The group claims making transit more accessible will "save lives", helping those less fortunate escape from the intense humidity. It seems ultimately, the Coalition wants a subsidized transit pass for low-income Torontonians. Karen Stintz said offering free rides would cost the TTC $3-million a day, and given the mess they are already in, I'm thinking that's a no.

No driver's license? No problem. The province is set to unveil a new secure identification card today, which can be used in place of a driver's license. Ontarians can even apply for the upgraded version that can also be used as a passport alternative to gain entry into the United States. And to make it easier for blind citizens to identify it, the card will have one corner cut.

Maybe it was a real-life case of "Lars & The Real Girl." A 51-year-old Burlington allegedly used an inflatable doll to try sneak into the QEW's high-occupancy lanes.Cops pulled him over Wednesday morning and found the doll dressed up to look like a female passenger--in a baseball hat and jacket. The doll was strapped in with her seatbelt, so at least her safety was considered. The driver was charged. Unfortunately, the doll was confiscated as evidence.

That was one hell of a storm last night for residents in Scarborough, North York and other parts of the GTA. And it looks like it doesn't matter who you are when it comes to calling the city to report damage. Mayor Rob Ford's policy chief, Mark Towhey, tweeted the city's 311 information services, complaining he had been on hold for over 35 minutes to report a city tree had crashed onto his house and wires. About 150,000 Hydro One customers throughout the province were left without power and many may not get their electricity back until Sunday. So I guess the humidity's not that bad, right?


Photo by min_photography in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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