Toronto transit users will likely pay more to ride the Red Rocket next year after the TTC approved a fare hike in principle to help address a $28-million budget shortfall.

The fare hike, which must still be approved by council, would mean the price of a TTC token will jump by a nickel, up to $2.65, as of January 2013.

The price of weekly passes will increase $1 to $38.50, and the cost of a Metropass will go up $2.50 to $128.50.

Cash fares will not be affected by the price hike.

The TTC has estimated the fare hike will bring in $18 million a year.

Also Thursday, the TTC commissioners voted to contract out bus cleaning services at some of its garages, a move the Amalgamated Transit Union opposes.

"Is it coincidental that we’re talking about contacting out at the same time we’re talking about a fare increase, so it creates the perception that somehow there’s a correlation between having to decrease the wages of the lowest-paid workers at the TTC?" asked ATU Local 113 president Rob Kinnear, when speaking to the commissioners on Thursday.

However TTC CEO Andy Byford said the TTC offered the workers an $18 hourly wage, down from the $27 they currently earn.

"It's obvious the union aren't happy," he said Thursday. "It's about getting best value for money and the taxpayer. I have to look at efficiencies."

Kinnear hinted that TTC operators may react by looking the other way when the fare box is shortchanged. Byford said he expects all TTC workers do their jobs properly.

The TTC gets more of its operating funding from its farebox revenue than any other North American city. There is permanent, sustainable funding from senior governments, unlike many other North American jurisdictions.

High farebox revenue

As of 2010, farebox revenues covered 72 per cent of TTC operating costs.

Here's how that compares to some other major cities:

  • New York City: 40 per cent
  • Boston: 44 per cent
  • Edmonton: 40 per cent
  • Halifax: 53 per cent
  • Chicago: 55 per cent
  • Vancouver: 55 per cent
  • Washington, D.C.,: 62 per cent

Note: All the cities, with the exceptions of Vancouver and Washington, D.C., are flat rate fares. The latter two are have fares that are calculated by distance.

With a report from the CBC's Aarti Pole