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Fair Fare Coalition
The Fair Fare Coalition is committed to working together to make public transit more accessible, now and in the long-term, for all community members, especially people who do not have other travel options. One of the coalition’s actions is the deputation:

Good afternoon Executive Committee

My name is Tina Shapiro, and I am from Sistering, a social service agency that serves marginalized, homeless and precariously housed women, as well as from the Fair Fare Coalition. Thank you for the opportunity to address Ex20.2, which we support as a first step towards transit affordability and equity for low-income Torontonians. Sistering also strongly supports the full implementation of the Poverty Reduction strategy, which includes affordable transit.

What’s in the fair fare report?

Today, City Executive will vote on a staff report that recommends:

  • The introduction of a 'Fair Pass' program that would include a $117 monthly pass and $2.10 for a single ride if going by 2017 rates
  • Phase in of the program over three years, starting in 2018
  • That phase 1 apply to people on OW and ODSP (except those already in receipt of the transit allowance); phases 2 (to be rolled in 2019) and 3 (to be rolled in 2021) will see the Fair Pass extended to all low income riders
  • That everyone living below the Low Income Measure, plus a 15% margin, will be eligible (e.g., single Torontonians are eligible if they earn less than $22,000 a year; a single parent with one kid is eligible if they earn below $31,000 a year; a two parent household with two kids earning less than $45,000 is eligible)
  • The program once fully rolled out will cost $50M and will help up to 200,000 people.
  • The report has a good analysis based on equity and inclusion, includes important arguments based on health inequities, as well as the difficulty accessing what the City has to offer due to unaffordability of transit. However, the bottom line of the discounts to transit being offered to low-income Torontonians is not commensurate with the equity analysis in the report.
  • Based on the City’s Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Equity Lens, Sistering would like to add a gender lens to the analysis in the Fair Fare Report. There are safety concerns for low-income women who can’t afford transit. A woman may be in an unsafe situation on the street, or fleeing domestic violence, but not be able to afford TTC to get somewhere that is safe for her and perhaps her children. Affordable transit would help alleviate this barrier and gender inequity.

What is the Fair Fare Coalition asking for?

  • For the fair pass plan to be approved.
  • We are also calling on City Council to make the changes necessary to the Fair Fare pass to make it truly affordable, which means giving people on social assistance a free pass, and $50 a month metropass and $1 token for low income riders.
  • There's nothing in this plan for low income seniors or students, and we are calling for them to be included in this program.
  • The proposed timeline is way too long, and we are calling for it be sped up.
  • Low income workers have the longest wait, and we are asking City Council to not make low income riders wait five years for a transit discount.
  • We want the elimination of the $13-$15 cost to replace a lost card.

Why are we supporting this motion?

  • It will make the 'Fair Pass' real; once we get it, we can use it to continue our fight for more affordable transit
  • It will put money back in the pockets of the majority of people on Social Assistance
  • If the plan gets fully implemented, the discount will apply to a huge segment of the TTC ridership

In Addition:

Many cities across Canada have a low income pass or are introducing a low income pass.  Calgary and Edmonton now offer $5 monthly passes to low income riders.  Vancouver, Halifax, Ottawa, Peel, Kingston and more have a low income pass program. In contrast, Toronto has one of the most expensive monthly passes in Canada, and has hiked fares six times in six years.   If these cities can do it then Toronto can too.

Presto can already process discount tickets for seniors and students so there is no good reason why low income riders have to wait up to five years to get fare relief.

The Mayor has said he’s considering eliminating fare discounts for seniors and students to pay for the fair pass program. Drastically hiking fares on students and seniors to help low income riders will only make the TTC’s stagnating ridership problem even worse.  There are fairer ways to pay for affordable fares for riders on low income than eliminating the senior and student fare discount, such as paying for the program through property tax. The city has programs in place to reduce the property tax burden on low income property owners.