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Toronto Wrap: TTC fares go up, cyclists under fire and Mayor Rob Ford's big week

By: Metro Canada Published on Fri Nov 23 2012

I'm not one to rage against TTC fare increases. The cost of providing transit service invariably goes up every year. It makes sense that fares should increase to match that cost.

So that five-cent increase the TTC board approved this week? Not really a big deal.

At least it wouldn't be, if City Hall were actually willing to step in and increase their share of transit funding, too. Instead, every indication is that Mayor Rob Ford's 2013 budget will once again starve Toronto's transit system, keeping the city's subsidy at a level below where it was in 2009 even as system ridership continues to hit record highs.

I have a lot of good things to say about TTC chair Karen Stintz and the positive impact she's had, but she's been far too willing to accept budgets that offer nothing for transit. It's absurdly regressive to suggest that all the increased costs of providing transit should fall to riders, many of whom are barely scraping by. Meanwhile, Ford gets to crow about saving homeowners a few dollars a month on their property tax bills.

As bargains go, it's a lousy one. There's no need to reverse the fare increase, but here's hoping that Stintz takes a stand for the TTC and its customers through the 2013 budget process, and demands City Hall pay up.

Cyclists under fire as infrastructure fails

A few chunks of concrete fall off the Gardiner Expressway. One hits a car. Politicians spring into action, finding millions of new dollars to devote to emergency repair work and pledging to improve this piece of city infrastructure and ensure safety for all its users.

Meanwhile, stories about Toronto cyclists getting seriously injured or even killed riding on city streets — already way too common — provoke sympathy but little action from politicians. With few exceptions, nobody really talks about improving infrastructure in these cases to enhance safety.

A cyclist was killed this morning in an apparent hit-and-run at Lansdowne Ave. and Davenport Rd. These kinds of stories are too common to be waved off as freak accidents. Even a modest investment in a coordinated plan to improve on-street cycling routes across the city could help prevent further accidents.

Doing nothing should not be an option.

Highlights from the mayor's schedule next week: Sunday's Grey Cup game in which his beloved Toronto Argos could very well win the big game at home, and Tuesday's Metro Bowl in which his even-more-beloved Don Bosco Eagles could make Ford a championship-winning football coach.

Lowlights from the mayor's schedule next week: In between those two football games, a judge could decide Ford should lose his job as Mayor of Toronto.

It's going to be an exciting one.

This post was originally published at on 2012-11-23T00:00:00.000Z

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Matt Elliott

City Hall watcher, columnist and policy wonk in Toronto.
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