A fare hike, a massive subway shutdown and the snoozing ticket collectors scandal: After months of awful service, the TTC is throwing fed-up riders a bone.

People with unused paper tickets can exchange or refund them until the end of March.

The tickets were an emergency measure, printed late last year after a fare hike announcement spurred token hoarding that caught the transit system off guard.

Penny-pinching riders have always stocked up on tokens before a price increase, but since tickets were discontinued in 2008, last year’s run on tokens left the TTC empty handed. Hence the temporary tickets. Since the Jan. 3 increase, riders using the slips of paper have had to make up the 25-cent fare difference. After Jan. 31, the tickets won’t be valid on the TTC anymore.

Although leftover student, senior and children’s tickets could be returned or exchanged after that date, paper adult tickets were originally set to become worthless Feb. 1.

Instead, riders are being given a two-month grace period to get their money back or exchange the tickets for higher-priced tokens.

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