By Behdad Mahichi
A petition being signed by post-secondary students across Toronto is calling for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to revoke the required post-secondary photo identification card.
The card is a TTC-issued piece of photo ID that post-secondary students must purchase for $5.25 to accompany their monthly pass and needs to be presented to the operator upon request. If a student is unable to provide the card during fare inspection, fines can vary between $200-$400.
The petition calls the card “unfair to students already paying a generous amount of money for the metropass” and outdated for not allowing students to use the IDs issued by their post-secondary institution.
Jordana Schiralli — the creator of the petition and a student at the University of Toronto — said she decided to take action after being thrown off a bus right before an exam for not carrying her TTC photo ID.
“Instead of sympathizing, the driver sent me back outside into the cold to find another way to school. Given that my daily commute is approximately an hour and a half this encounter added unneeded stress and anxiety to my morning,” she said.
Schiralli launched the petition Feb. 24 on change.org and currently has just over 7,000 signatures.
Ryerson students are also found amongst the signees who oppose TTC’s enforcement of the photo ID.
Third-year retail management student Bilal Ali said he has also encountered issues when he couldn’t find his TTC ID card.
“They’ve asked for it and it was in another bag and they wouldn’t let me on so I had to pay change. At the end of the day that’s like paying double,” he said. “It’s a redundancy if you can just pull out your student card and show it.”
Signers of the petition also took to the comment section to share their experiences with the issue.
“When I was in college I got harassed by TTC drivers IN FRONT of my college. They threatened to confiscate my metropass,” wrote a commenter. “I’m signing because as a student who has to pay rent, tuition, and other necessities, I cannot afford silly extra fees,” wrote another.
Once the petition is sent, the TTC Board will review it and decide whether or not to revoke the post-secondary photo ID. If they do, it won’t be their first time.
As of September 2014, the TTC stopped issuing IDs for secondary students.
“We recognized that students 16 and older would already have other forms of government issued ID within their possession that could prove their age eligibility,” said TTC communications advisor Jessica Martin in an email.
But when it came to post-secondary students, Martin said that checking for eligibility is more complicated.
“Not all institutions/ colleges have photo IDs. And if they do have photo IDs, they do not specify if a student’s enrollment is full time.”
Currently, post-secondary students can buy their TTC Photo ID at Sherbourne Station, where they must present an enrollment letter along with picture identification. Once their picture is taken, the card is sent through the mail. Though Sherbourne Station is not an accessible station for people with mobility devices. Students are also able to purchase the card on their university campuses for a greater cost, but only on the first week of school.