The TTC plans to recommend a 10-cent fare increase in its 2019 budget, and will reveal the transit agency requires $33 billion over the next 15 years to meet its capital needs, the Star has learned.
The transit agency is expected to release its proposed budget Friday ahead of a board meeting scheduled for next Thursday.
A source with knowledge of the documents confirmed the TTC intends recommend increasing the price of fares by about 3 per cent, which would mean tokens and adult Presto fare card taps would rise by 10 cents, to $3.10.
The cost of an adult monthly pass on Presto is also expected to rise.
However, the agency doesn’t plan to recommend a change to cash fares, which are set at $3.25.
But speaking Thursday morning before any details of the budget had been made public, Mayor John Tory said that, since he first took office four years ago, he’s consistently said it’s reasonable for riders to expect fares to gradually go up.
“I said, at that time, that people should expect, because it’s a healthier way to proceed, that you will examine, each year, the prospect of an inflationary-type increase, because the TTC, itself, faces expanded costs,” he said.
He cited rising costs such as the new collective bargaining agreement the transit agency reached with workers in October, and the new two-hour transfer policy, which is expected to cost $20 million this year.
The board will have to approve the budget, including any fare increases, before sending it to council for final approval in March.
If approved, the fare increase would be the eighth to hit TTC riders since 2009. Fares were frozen in 2018, but the year before, they also went up 10 cents.
According to the source, the fare increase is expected to raise $25 million to $27 million a year for the agency, which last year had an approved net operating budget of more than $700 million.
The price hike would likely go into effect in April.
On the capital side of the budget, the agency is expected to publish a detailed accounting of its infrastructure needs over the next decade and a half.
Those needs add up to about $33 billion and take into account investments required to keep the system functioning and cope with anticipated ridership growth, but not costs associated with expanding the network by adding new lines. Only about one third of the $33 billion is funded, according to sources.
Major costs include buying additional streetcars, buses, and subways, building new garages, and upgrading electrical systems, a source familiar with the plan said.
The agency will also seek to increase the budget for its automatic train control (ATC) signalling system by more than $90 million, which it would do by reallocating money from other projects.
The ATC system is currently being installed on Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) to improve train capacity, and had previously been budgeted at about $562 million.
In July, TTC CEO, Rick Leary, announced he was putting the program under review over concerns it might not deliver the planned capacity improvements without requiring additional work.
The installation of ATC on Line 1 was supposed to be complete by the end of 2019, but that deadline will be missed. Leary is expected to provide an update on the state of the program to the board in April.
Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation. Reach him by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr