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Stintz, Ford at odds over need to hike TTC fares in 2013

TTC chair Karen Stintz.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

TTC chair Karen Stintz and Mayor Rob Ford appear to be headed for a collision over the issue of whether the commission should freeze or further increase fares for 2013 to keep up with inflation.

On his radio show Sunday, Mr. Ford said he doesn't foresee the need for 2013 fare hike, and repeatedly praised the proposal to outsource the TTC's cleaning duties, at an estimated savings of $4.2-million. "They realize the savings can help keep fares low," he said.

But in an interview, Ms. Stintz said she expects TTC staff to bring forward a proposal to increase fares by no more than the rate of inflation, as part of a budget package that will see no service reductions for the coming year. "Unless our subsidy [from city council] increases, there's a likely chance we'll have to raise fares by rate of inflation," she said, noting that the budget discussions are still at an early stage and no decisions have been made.

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Asked if she's expecting a fight at council, she said, "It's too soon to say. We've just started the budget process."

A rate-of-inflation increase would add about $30 a year to the cost of a Metropass, Ms. Stintz said, but would not affect the price of a single adult fare.

The TTC last raised fares in December 2011, with the commission voting to impose a 10-per- cent increase for 2012 and also endorsing increases for 2013, 2014 and 2015 "in principle." Commission spokesperson Brad Ross said the TTC isn't bound by that decision and must vote each year on any proposed fare hike.

The increase was expected to generate $30-million in fiscal 2012 and help balance the TTC's budget. The price of an adult Metropass rose from $121 to $126 per month, while a token went up from $2.50 to $2.60.

The TTC didn't hike fares in fiscal 2011, the first year of Mr. Ford's mandate. He came into office pledging to freeze transit fares.

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