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Extra quarter to ride TTC angers some, but not all commuters

Jul 20, 2007 04:30 AM
Iain Marlow
Staff Reporter

His hair wet and his shirt soaked from a sudden downpour outside, the man walking into the bowels of Union Station yesterday was primed for a Toronto transit question.

Told that TTC chair Adam Giambrone was suggesting the TTC might raise its fares by 25 cents, Bob Brent sighed.

“It hurts the poorest of the poor,” he said.

Brent is a former chief marketing officer at the TTC. Yesterday he reached into his briefcase and produced laminated pages with coloured graphs showing past TTC ridership and fare levels.

Tracing his finger across the decade he worked there until 2001, he said the fares went up, on average, five cents a year.

“To take a 25-cent increase all at once is undoubtedly going to hurt the people that can least afford it, who are most dependent on the TTC,” Brent said. “Clearly, this is a last resort.”

Other riders interviewed fell into three categories: those who loathed the idea of an increase, those who didn’t care, and those who viewed a fare hike as a civic necessity.

One of the latter is David Ranieri, 55, who grew up in Sault St. Marie, where he said his bus came every hour. Ranieri and his wife take the TTC daily.

“My wife is in a wheelchair. She can’t get in a car, but she can get in a bus,” he said. “I’m very happy with the service.”

John King, lunchbox in hand, was nonplussed. The 17-year-old near Kipling station and takes the GO train into Union. “If it’s going to a good cause, it wouldn’t bother me,” he said.

“No choice,” muttered Selva Antony, 42.

Others acted as if the red rocket had shot right through their heart.

Beverly Richmond, 40, takes the TTC to work. Her two daughters take it to school.

“That’s not good,” she said. “Right now we’re paying a lot.”

Asked if a fare hike would affect her, one woman, who declined to give her name, laughed out loud.

“My paycheque’s not going up. So yeah, it makes a difference.”