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TTC gets money for cleanup

Torstar tabloid chips in $167,000 to remove papers

By Hamida Ghafour
Toronto Star Staff Reporter

The publisher of GTA Today has handed over a cheque to the TTC to help clean up the free tabloids flying around subway stations across the city.

Andrew Go and Rupert Fry, executive director of circulation at Toronto Star, gave the first instalment of a $167,000 payment to TTC chief general manager Rick Ducharme on the Davisville subway platform yesterday following months of discussions.

“Since we first came out, the day we came out, we were willing to help,” Go said.

Ducharme said he was pleased with the amount of money and called it the right step in cleaning up subway stations, which have been inundated since June with three new commuter tabloids: the Swedish-owned Metro, Sun Media Corp.’s FYI, and GTA Today, owned by Torstar Media Group, which also owns The Star.

Ducharme said the tabloids have created a garbage problem and slowed down subway service because they fly on to the tracks, sometimes causing small fires.

It will cost the TTC $500,000 this year to keep the system free of the papers.

The other two tabloids have also committed money to the cleanup, but Ducharme wouldn’t say how much.

“It’s a start. With the three papers now contributing to the problem, it comes close to covering it. We’re hoping this (money) will at least control it.”

The funds from the tabloids will help pay for 11 full-time custodial staff who have recently been hired to pick up the litter, Ducharme said.

Go said the money will be paid in four instalments over the next year, then the paper and TTC will decide whether to continue the arrangement.

About 114 new recycling boxes provided by advertisers will be placed in stations next week, Ducharme said.

Go said the next step will be talking with TTC officials who have said they want to cut the number of people who hand out GTA Today near subway entrances. That issue will come up at a meeting on Thursday.

Ducharme said he wants all three newspapers to stop providing handouts.




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