The Toronto Transit Commission board, on Nov. 20, approved the TTC's 2014 operating and Wheel-Trans budgets, and its 2014-2023 ten-year capital budget, as well as a five-cent fare increase effective Jan. 1, to the cost of a token. The Board also increased the cost of the adult Metropass by one trip. Cash fares remain unchanged.
City Council will now consider the operating and Wheel-Trans subsidy request of $428 million and $106 million respectively, as well as the 10-year capital budget need. Still, the TTC's operating budget remains $6 million short of being balanced and its 10-year capital budget of $9 billion has a shortfall of $2.7 billion, the bulk of which include projects set to begin in the latter five years of the 10-year plan. TTC staff is confident the $6 million operating budget shortfall can be made up through in-year efficiencies in 2014.
To address the capital budget challenge, as well as operating budget needs in years to come, the board approved a recommendation that will see the creation of a special task force made up of the TTC Chair, CEO, CFAO, and City Manager and City CFO to seek and secure long-term, sustainable and predictable funding from the provincial and federal governments. Many capital expenditures, for example, are mandated by provincial legislation, but without the necessary funding to meet those requirements.
"With ever-increasing ridership, it was important to pass a budget that allows us to add service to meet demand," said TTC CEO Andy Byford. "While I appreciate that fare increases are never popular, the increase is limited to the rate of inflation. At the same time, we successfully argued for an increase in subsidy from the City of Toronto. We can now continue in our efforts to increase service reliability and drive up customer satisfaction."