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TTC nixes discount for career-college students

by Tess Kalinowski
Transportation Reporter

TTC staff are standing by an earlier decision to exclude about 70,000 students attending private career colleges and Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology from participating in a special Metropass discount program.

Extending the discount given this fall to about 300,000 university and community college students would cost the TTC $2.5 million annually, without producing a significant boost in ridership, says a report before the transit commission on Wednesday.

The TTC introduced a $99 post-secondary student pass as a concession to the fare increases it imposed in the New Year. The projected cost of the pass program, $3.8 million, nearly doubled before it even came into effect, to about $7 million.

Most students from private career colleges and applied arts and technology schools are already using Metropasses, according to the report. The TTC stands to gain only about 100,000 rides a year if it extends the program. Also, the TTC doesn’t have the facilities to make all the special photo ID cards required.

The findings won’t stop the Ontario Association of Career Colleges from trying to persuade a new board of transit commissioners to include the 15,000 students it represents in the TTC’s service area, said executive director Paul Kitchin, who plans to appear before the commission when it meets for the first time.

“We are quite surprised,” he said, “by the lack of equity and fairness in what they’re proposing.”