TORONTO, Ont. – The TTC’s board approved a five-cent fare hike at a meeting Thursday to consider how the transit agency might confront its $28-million gap in its 2013 operating budget.

The board passed the proposed fare hike in principle to raise fares but the increase must be approved by city council.

The extra nickel would apply to tokens and Metropasses, adding about $30 per year to the monthly pass. The increase will not affect cash fare.

The fare hike would generate $18-million per year for the TTC, TTC chair Karen Stintz said. However, it would still be $10-million short of what the TTC needs to balance its budget.

“I think it’s only fair that we should look to some contribution from our customers but we’ll limit it to the absolute minimum,” TTC chief executive officer Andy Byford said.

The board also approved a proposal to outsource its bus cleaning jobs.

Despite the threat of a work-to-rule campaign from the transit workers’ union, the TTC will push ahead with contracting out its overnight bus cleaning jobs.

The TTC voted 4 to 3 to outsource. The move will affect 159 transit workers and rake in $4.3-million in savings.

Workers will be transferred to other work within the system.

“I ain’t on the gravy train,” said Carmen Miller, a transit worker affected by the outsourcing.

“It passed me, forgot to stop and let me on,” she said.

Miller appeared on an episode of Undercover Boss Canada when Stintz went undercover.

“It’s not going to be good for the people of Toronto,” she said. “If they’re unhappy now, they’re really going to be very unhappy when the contractors come in.”

Union president Bob Kinnear hinted if the cleaning jobs are contracted out that the workers would reduce the city’s transit to a crawl in a work-to-rule campaign.

“We’re not ruling anything right now,” he said. “Everything is on the table. We may have lost the battle but we sure as hell won’t lose the war,” he said to the cheers of transit workers.

On Tuesday, union members rallied outside the TTC’s Davisville headquarters.

The TTC is projecting record ridership of 528-million next year.

“We have increased ridership, we have record ridership,” Stintz said. “We’re just trying to balance a number of issues and make sure we can keep the system running in the face of a flat subsidy.”

The TTC also unveiled the names for the five subway stations in the extended Spadina line Sheppard West, Downsview Park, Finch West, York University and Black Creek Pioneer Village.