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TTC backs off on closing Sheppard line, fare hike

The TTC decided at an emergency meeting today to delay indefinitely a planned expansion in service, but backed off on threats of closing the Sheppard subway and hiking fares.

The board also turned down a motion from one commissioner that would have studied asking the TTC’s unionized workers to hold wage increases to a cost-of-living increase. The total savings the transit authority found at the meeting amounted to roughly $6-million in 2007 — far short of the $30-million that Shirley Hoy, the city manager, had asked the TTC to axe this year.

Councillor Michael Thompson, one of the TTC’s nine commissioners, said during the debate that the public and the province would view the TTC as “crying wolf” for yesterday threatening to shut down the Sheppard Line, cut 21 underused bus routes, and raise fares, then deferring those options today.

But Adam Giambrone, the TTC chair, pointed out that public consultations — which he said were legally required — will still take place on shuttering the Sheppard Line and the poor performing bus routes, meaning there is still a possibility those services could be shut down.

“I said yesterday that it would take at least four months to close the Sheppard subway line,” he said.

The emergency TTC meeting was called after council voted narrowly Monday night to defer until Oct. 22 a vote on implementing two new taxes which could have netted the city as much as $356-million.