TTC workers urge Mayor John Tory to 'keep transit public'
The mayor of Toronto got a message from transit workers on Monday, when he visited a downtown TTC facility.
"Keep transit public," the workers chanted, during a town hall with Mayor John Tory.
"Message received, message received," Tory said, prompting applause. "I have that message."
TTC CEO Andy Byford and TTC Chair Josh Colle joined Tory for the town hall at the Hillcrest complex on Bathurst Street.
Tory took questions from TTC workers.
He was asked about the still-unfolding Eglinton Crosstown LRT project, which will establish a 19-kilometre light-rail line along Eglinton Avenue.
TTC workers wanted an assurance that they will be the ones doing the maintenance work on the line. One man said they needed Tory to "step up to the plate" and lobby upper levels of government to "get us the work we deserve."
Again Tory said he heard the workers' message, but pointed out that it is not a decision that is in the city’s hands.
"You understand, obviously, by the statement you just put that it is their decision at the end of the day because they are paying for the project," said Tory.
But the mayor said he heard what the workers are asking — that the city "engage in advocacy" on their behalf.
Tory proud of early transit work
Tory is now barely two months into his tenure as the city's mayor. Elected in October, he was sworn in to office in December.
But the new mayor said he's proud of what he’s been able to do so far on the transit file.
"My record so far in 10 or 11 weeks is a proposed $100-million investment in public transportation to improve service, restore service, buy new buses and create more work for people that are in the system that you all serve," Tory told the workers.
The funding that Tory spoke of must be approved by council as part of the still-to-be-approved budget — something the mayor hopes will happen by mid-March.
Tory has also supported a proposed fare hike that would come alongside a move to eliminate fares for children aged 12 and under.
With a report from the CBC's Jamie Strashin
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