Commuters may pay more

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By Andrea Jezovit

Though TTC officials meet today to discuss a possible fare hike, Ryerson students won’t be paying more for their discount Metropasses –yet.

“If fares go up now, [discount Metropasses] may go up at the end of the year,” said TTC spokesperson Marilyn Bolton.

Since September, RyeSAC has been selling Metropasses to students and staff through the TTC’s VIP program, which sells discounted monthly passes to universities for $87. The discount saves students approximately $11.75 a month.

In addition to all Toronto university students, the VIP program is also offered to employees of the Royal York Hotel and Mount Sinai Hospital.

“Right now, anybody on the VIP program gets the current rate for the year and doesn’t have to pay for an increase –if there is one,” Bolton said.

With an operating budget shortfall of $48 million, the TTC is considering raising fares by as much as 25 cents, which would bring the standard fare to $2.50 and a regular Metropass to over $100. If passed, the new fares would take effect in late February or early March.

Since RyeSAC’s contract with the TTC expires in August, RyeSAC vice president finance and services Mike Verticchio said if fares do rise, students and staff can expect higher-priced Metropasses this September.

“Chances are our contract will most likely stay under $100, even in the low nineties,” said Verticchio.

Between September and January, RyeSAC sold 9,528 Metropasses and saved riders $133,104. That could grow to a total of $200,000 by the end of the school year, Verticchio said.

“We still have February, March and April, and we’re going to be selling them over the summer so students who live in the area can come by and pick one up,” said Verticchio.

He said he imagines the passes would sell after a price increase, as they would still be discounted compared to the regular pass.

But Verticchio said a lot of students would have a hard time getting to campus and Metropasses went over $100. “What everyone has to do is keep up the pressure on the provincial and federal governments to make sure the gas tax (for TTC funding) goes through,” he said.

RyeSAC members were present at the TTC’s discussion on fare hikes last month.

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