Report suggests TTC customers pay more

A new report suggests that TTC riders pay a fare based on the distances they travel as one way of funding improvements to Toronto's public transit system.
The new report suggests, among other things, charging fares based on distance.

There's another report to consider when it comes to the never-ending debate over how to fund public transit in Toronto.

A new report by the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario suggests charging transit users based on how far they ride.

It's not a new idea — the TTC used to charge extra for riders who crossed old city boundaries — but the authors of the report say it's one idea that could help finance transit improvements.

"Drivers can't pick up all of the share.  Transit riders have to dig a little deeper into their pockets," said Andy Manahan, executive director of the alliance.

The report also outlines a number of other revenue tools that could be used: new parking charges, tolls and a regional fuel tax. 

Incoming Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Tuesday a change will be coming, at some point. 

"I have said it's not whether we are going to create a revenue stream, I have said it's which of those tools we will use."

But the subject of additional taxes of any kind to pay for Toronto's transit system is seldom a political vote-getter.

Both driver and transit users seemed united on Tuesday that increasing taxes, or fares, would be unpopular political moves.

Karen Stintz, chair of the TTC, says the commission will look at the idea of charging riders based on distances travelled, but only on future expansion projects.

"If there is any discussion of zoned fares it's separate and apart form funding transit.  Expansion needs to be funded by all three levels of government, not by the riders," she said.


Jamie Strashin is a native Torontonian whose latest stop is the CBC Sports department. Before, he spent 15 years covering everything from city hall to courts and breaking news as a reporter for CBC News. He has also worked in Brandon, Man., and Calgary. Follow him on Twitter @StrashinCBC