Re: Front page cartoon (Nov. 18)

Your front page cartoon (Nov. 18) of a TTC streetcar operator reaching into the pocket of a pedestrian who is reading about the fare increase might be slightly amusing were it not for three facts your readers should be aware of.

1. Fare increases are always accompanied by a large spike in verbal and physical assaults on vehicle operators and collectors. Angry passengers take out their frustration on the front-line workers, not on the TTC managers and commissioners who recommend and approve the fare hikes.

2. While wages paid to ATU Local 113 members are obviously part of the cost of operating the TTC, they do not account for the magnitude of fare increases over the past decade. In fact, as of the latest increase, TTC cash fares will have risen 64 per cent faster than the wages paid to operators and collectors, and 127 per cent faster than the rate of inflation.

3. The real culprit here is the utter failure of governments at all levels to adequately fund Toronto’s public transit system. The TTC is the least-subsidized transit system in North America. If the TTC received proportionately (per rider) as much public funding as Montreal, Vancouver or Edmonton, our fares would be much, much lower.

Toronto transit users should complain about being shortchanged by governments instead of being whipped up by cartoons into unfairly blaming transit workers.

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