Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A New Mayor, Another TTC Fare Hike: Part II

Yesterday Toronto Mayor Rob Ford announced a TTC fare hike and said:

“I am not happy about this.”

Still, in the true tradition of previous Mayors, he didn’t ixnay the proposed TTC fare hike or the bus route cuts.

That was yesterday.

Today, TTC Chair Karen Stintz miraculously found $16 million in extra moolah, and so we don’t need a fare hike after all. Don’t you love found cash?

“Staff won’t say where the millions will come from,” reported Mark McAllister on Toronto’s Global News.

But who cares, for as Hiz Honour’s spokeswoman said:

“The mayor’s very happy there will not be a 10-cent fare hike for TTC riders.”

Tis a feel-good story. The big, bad staff propose the inevitable fare hike. Ford huffs and puffs his disapproval. His trusty Chair finds millions. The hike is off. And we can all smile thankfully at Ford for saving us, something that’s never happened before.

But did he?

No.

For the fundamental problem remains. The service is desperately underfunded.

As I wrote yesterday, fares can never make up for the loss of consistent, committed provincial funding. And the TTC will never be able to serve the needs of Torontonians, get people out of their cars and onto mass transit, reduce air pollution, reduce commute times, make Toronto work as well as it did in the 70s without hefty capital investments from both the Ontario and Federal governments.

The real miracle will be if Ford, with his zeal for subways driving him, can convince our Premier and our Prime Minister that it’s worth it to spend billions on Toronto’s TTC.

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