On the op­tion block TTC of­fi­cials grap­ple with what’s a fare deal

Toronto Star - - GREATER TORONTO - PETER ED­WARDS STAFF RE­PORTER

The Toronto Transit Com­mis­sion is mulling sev­eral sce­nar­ios that could jack up fares in 2016.

But be­fore you panic or buy a skate­board, note that all the cur­rent rates could stay the same if the city just gives the TTC the money it needs to cover next year’s es­ti­mated bud­get short­fall of $99 mil­lion on an op­er­at­ing bud­get of $1.8 bil­lion.

In a pre­lim­i­nary staff re­port sub­mit­ted Mon­day to the city’s bud­get com­mit­tee, the TTC laid out eight op­tions:

1. No fare in­crease

Cash fares haven’t risen since 2010, when the adult rate went from $2.75 to $3 and the se­nior/stu­dent rate rose to $2 from $1.85. There’s a cer­tain con­ve­nience in the cur­rent rates be­ing payable in toonies and loonies.

How­ever, no fare in­crease would mean the city has to give the TTC the money it needs to make up the bud­get short­fall. 2. In­crease all fare media (tick­ets, to­kens, Metropass) by five cents and cash fares by 25 cents

This move would hike an adult Metropass from $141.50 to $144 when the five-cent in­crease is ap­plied on a pro-rated ba­sis, through a for­mula that es­ti­mates the num­ber of trips taken times the price of a sin­gle ride. (This for­mula also ap­plies to hikes in sce­nar­ios No. 2 to No. 7.)

The TTC es­ti­mates this could in­crease rev­enues by more than $24 mil­lion — but could also re­sult in a loss of two mil­lion riders per year.

Any in­crease to to­ken or Metropass costs is likely to hit hard for those who need public transit the most, since cus­tomers with lower in­comes tend to use those meth­ods over cash. 3. In­crease all fare media by 10 cents and cash fares by 25 cents

This op­tion could gen­er­ate more than $36 mil­lion in ex­tra rev­enue, but it threat­ens to cut rid­er­ship by three mil­lion. 4. In­crease all fare media by five cents and cre­ate a sin­gle cash fare of $3.25 for adult and se­nior/stu­dent cat­e­gories

This could gen­er­ate more than $29 mil­lion in ex­tra rev­enue and sim­plify fare struc­ture. It could also cut rid­er­ship by three to four mil­lion. 5. In­crease all fare media by 10 cents and cre­ate a sin­gle cash fare of $3.25 for adult and se­nior/stu­dent cat­e­gories

This could bring in $36 mil­lion to $41 mil­lion in ex­tra rev­enue, but drop rid­er­ship by four to five mil­lion. 6. In­crease all fare media (ex­clud­ing Metropass) by five cents, and in­crease cash fares by 25 cents

This could in­crease rev­enues by more than $10 mil­lion. 7. In­crease cost of Metropass by five cents per ride

This could raise more than $10 mil­lion. 8. In­crease all cash fares by 25 cents

This could raise more than $6 mil­lion.

MAR­CUS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR

The Toronto Transit Com­mis­sion has re­leased a list of pos­si­ble fare in­creases it could use to off­set a pro­jected bud­get short­fall next year.

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