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TTC board approves operating budget that freezes fares at 2023 rates

The TTC’s board has approved a 2024 operating budget for the transit service that freezes fares at this year’s rates, the transit agency said on Wednesday.

In a news release, the TTC board said the budget represents a 7.5 per cent increase over the budget approved last year. The $2.6-billion budget covers both conventional and Wheel-Trans services.

According to the board, the budget will enable the TTC to increase service and invest in system safety and cleanliness.

The fares are frozen at 2023 rates in recognition of the impact of current economic conditions on customers, the board said in the release.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said the transit agency needs to be properly funded to serve the needs of the city’s residents.

“Frequent, safe and affordable transit is something I have committed to supporting for the people of Toronto, and this budget makes improvements in all of those areas,” Chow said in the release.

TTC CEO Rick Leary said customers are returning faster than expected and the transit agency needs to be prepared for next year. 

“This budget balances our need to deliver safe and reliable service while addressing the increased operating costs associated with inflation and new transit lines that we need to manage,” Leary said in the release.

TTC chair Jamaal Myers said the budget will ensure customers and employees are protected.

“I’m confident that with this budget we can start to return transit service to where it was before the pandemic while laying the groundwork for further improvements,” Myers said in the release.

The budget also does the following:

  • Funds “unplanned in-year service increases” made in 2023, to 95 per cent from 91 per cent, in response to increased demand.
  • Funds a service increase to 97 per cent by September 2024.
  • Increases Wheel-Trans service hours to meet the demand, estimated to reach 84 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024.
  • Invests more than $28 million in the TTC’s community safety, security and well-being program.
  • Provides for inflation to cover the costs of such things as vehicle parts, service contracts, and employee benefit-related expenses.
  • Invests in increased maintenance capacity for Line 2 and for new and existing streetcars to be delivered in 2024.
  • Funds operating and maintenance costs for the opening of Lines 5 and 6 in 2024 and full-year operations on the Line 3 SRT bus replacement service.
  • Estimates that 2024 fare revenues will be based on 80 per cent of pre-pandemic ridership levels by the end of the year.

The TTC board said it also approved a $12.4-billion 2024-2033 capital budget plan for the transit service.

The capital budget plan does the following:

  • Covers the city/TTC’s one-third share for the subway car procurement to ensure the agency can proceed with the procurement of 55 subway trains if the federal government matches the funds.
  • Provides for accessibility projects at Warden and Islington stations, and capacity improvement projects.
  • Provides funding for 60 new streetcars and associated infrastructure projects at Hillcrest and Russell, and 336 Hybrid Buses, 340 eBuses and charging infrastructure based on new delivery schedules.
  • Improves cybersecurity measures.

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