TORONTO, Ont. – The proposed 10 cent TTC fare hike is all but a bad dream, and was cancelled after officials at City Hall said they discovered $16 million extra dollars while raking the city’s finances.
“I said yesterday if there was a way to avoid this fare increase we would find it, and I’m pleased to say that we have found a way,” said TTC Chair Karen Stintz at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
As for the $8 million still needed, Stintz said “we do expect that as a result of not having this fare increase, that we will have increased ridership and that will make up the difference.”
The announcement comes only a day after Ford said he was doing all in his power to put the brakes on the increase. Bowing to pressure, the transit commission said they would find ways to go around raising prices.
“Everybody wanted to know how this money was going to be found, and it’s been found,” said Adrienne Batra, press secretary for Mayor Rob Ford. “The fact that there’s not going to a 10 cent fare increase is very good news.”
“This is a very good opportunity for everybody in the city of Toronto to know, mayor Ford can work with everybody,” she added, saying the “so called found money” will be easier to find when making up future budgets.
Meanwhile, the cancellation of the price increase has left some city councillors confused.
“To suggest that there’s going to be a fare hike, and then the next day shut it down – it doesn’t make sense to most people,” councillor Josh Matlow told 680News. “It certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”
“Something doesn’t add up here, and it’s not the money. It’s the process by which money suddenly materializes out of the mayor’s office,” said councillor Adam Vaughan.
“To drum up 16 million dollars at the blink of an eye tells me that there must be a huge cupboard of gravy hidden somewhere inside the mayor’s office.”
Some even said they smell a political stunt to make the mayor look like a hero – Batra said their suspicions were unfortunate.
Meanwhile, Ford had expressed his feelings on the proposed hike during a news conference on Monday.
“Having numerous meetings with my great colleague Karen Stintz – she’s not happy and I’m not happy. We’re going to have to find ways but if we can’t, unfortunately we’re in that position,” he said.
“I did not want to agree to this. I am not happy about this.”
Ford asked the TTC to take another route, and his wish was granted less than 24 hours later.
The hike would have required transit riders would pay $5 more for a Metropass each month.