As far as I can tell, the idea of a near-term TTC fare increase quickly went from a mere suggestion to a genuine concern for a lot of people.
On Friday TTC chair Adam Giambrone flatly told me there would be no fare increase. Since he is closely allied with Mayor David Miller and both have committed to a freeze for 2009, I would be surprised if they risk the political damage of a reversal.
Of course this presumes the city and TTC budgets don’t happen to melt down as the economy contracts.
We’re trusting Miller and his supporters that the city budget is sound and can remain that way through the potentially tough year ahead. Even if Toronto’s finances do cope, I would expect huge pressure for a fare hike as soon as, oh, January 1, 2010.
As for the TTC’s books I remain wary of the commission’s ability to contain costs in a sustainable, responsible manner.
But, although job losses typically translate into an immediate drop in ridership, the big expansion of bus service last year may explain why more passengers are getting on board. In past years the agency cut back on schedules during economic downturns — doing the opposite might actually support
Torontonians through hard times.
If you’re broke, additional late evening service may be irrelevant. Let’s hope the city’s budget does remain seaworthy, and in the meantime go take advantage of the most extensive transit coverage we’ve had in more than a decade.