Students drive toward transit savings

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By Stephen Petrick

Plans to save student transit riders a few dollars could help the cash strapped Toronto Transit Commission, says RyeSAC president Odelia Bay.

“This is a way to increase ridership,” she said after meeting with student leaders from Toronto universities and colleges at Oakham House Monday.

The meeting – the second in a series planned this year – was held to work on proposals to reduce the $93.50 students currently pay for an adult monthly pass.

Last week, the federal government announced it wouldn’t match the $1.1 billion pledged by both the province government and the city to meet the commission’s $3.3-billion operating cost projected for the next 10 years.

“The people who attended from the TTC made it abundantly clear they would not look at anything where there’s a loss of revenue,” Bay said.

Ryerson has tried to get a discount for students several times in the past.

The latest attempt was in 1997, when then-mayor Barbara Hall promised $23 in student savings if she was elected mega-city mayor.

That plan would have been paid through a bank debit system and would not have included weekend travel.

One of the proposals suggested Monday was modeled after a discount card used by students at the University of Victoria.

Students pay a $44 levy to the transit system, which means they buy a four-month pass for the price of a one-month pass.

“If we were to look for a similar model here it’s unlikely we would get the same ratio,” said Joel Duff, Ontario chair of the Canadian Federation of Students.

“But I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to get a significantly reduced amount given that every student, regardless of usership, actually pays.”

He said student cards would be used as passes, reducing the TTC’s administrative costs.

Despite the optimism, Bay doesn’t expect a final proposal to be drafted and taken to the TTC this year.

She will focus on brainstorming proposals and researching student use of public transit during the term.

The next meeting is planned for Nov. 5 at the University of Toronto.


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