TTC chair will avoid increase as transit ridership, costs swell

Toronto’s transit system is doing so well it’s losing more money than ever.

A combination of more riders and high sales of transferable transit passes are putting the system in a $6.7-million-a-year squeeze, chief general manager Gary Webster told the city’s budget committee yesterday. And Councillor Adam Giambrone, who chairs the TTC, says far worse problems loom for next year.

Higher labour and fuel costs, plus planned service increases to cope with the rising passenger volume, in fact, mean the TTC needs a $100-million operating budget increase next year, Giambrone said in an interview. That would push up the operating budget nine per cent, to about $1.2 billion.


Despite the looming problems, Giambrone said he’s not advocating a fare increase.

At the time, last year’s 10 cent per ticket fare hike was expected to net the TTC $9 million.

“We’ve been told not to consider a fare increase, which is good from a transit perspective,” Giambrone said. “We don’t want to consider a fare increase. Until we hear otherwise we’ll make the assumption that there is no fare increase.”

The TTC carried 445 million riders in 2006; it’s projecting 462 million riders this year, and up to 476 million riders next year.

Webster said the TTC also needs to hire 54 more drivers to ease overcrowding.

Popular passes

  • Gary Webster said weekly and monthly passes are more popular than the TTC anticipated. Because the extra rides are generated by flat-rate passes, revenue hasn’t kept up.