TTC votes to outsource jobs, accepts 5-cent fare hike 'in principle'
The Toronto Transit Commission approved a five cent fare hike "in principle" on Thursday in an attempt to budget for a $28 million shortfall.
During the same meeting, the TTC also voted to outsource a number of cleaning jobs, a move that had union leaders threatening job action.
Members of Local 113 marched out of City Hall chanting “where’s the respect” after the TTC voted 4-3 to contract out approximately 150 cleaning jobs that would save an estimated $4.2 million.
“We may have lost the battle but we sure as hell won’t lose the war,” said union president Bob Kinnear.
Union members said they plan to send a clear message to TTC management.
“Conceivably, some of our operators may not notice that the fare box has been short changed,” Kinnear told reporters on Thursday. “There’s all sorts of things that we can do.”
The first commission meeting of the fall was a lengthy one as members debated and later approved, in principle, the fare hike.
The fare increase would cost metropass users about $30 extra per year and generate an estimated $18 million per year to help cover rising operating costs.
“We’re all being asked to do business a little differently,” said TTC Chair Karen Stintz during the meeting. “We’ve all got to figure out how we’re going to do it, because this is not the end.”
Councillor Peter Milczyn told CTV Toronto that the TTC shortfall would have to be made up either through a property tax increase or a fare increase.
“Choose your poison,” he said.
The final vote on the fare hike is expected to take place later this fall.
Initially, a 10-cent increase was proposed, which was later cut in half.
The TTC has already outsourced garbage collection and the cleaning of the subway stations, which has resulted in a 30 per cent savings on those jobs.
According to Stintz, any current vacancies will be outsourced while anyone currently employed by the TTC will keep their jobs, even if the commission votes to contract out their work.
TTCRiders, a transit advocacy group, derided the fare increase and said government should be covering more of the transit cost.
“The TTC Commission should be doing what’s best for all Torontonians. Raising fares by some $30 a year doesn’t help anybody, especially our most economically vulnerable,” spokesperson Jessica Bell said in a statement.
Some Toronto councillors have argued that the fare increase is not necessary since the TTC is running a surplus. However Stintz said the surplus cannot be used to manage next year’s budget.
Even with a shortfall, the TTC says it will aim not to cut service but rather extend service as ridership grows.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Naomi Parness