Candidates to go head-to-head on top election issue at the Big Transit Mayoral Debate

TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - TTCriders and the Ryerson Students' Union are hosting the Big Transit Mayoral Debate on today, from 5pm - 6.30pm at the Sears Atrium, Engineering Building, 245 Church Street, Toronto.

The debate will be moderated by NOW Magazine's senior news editor, Enzo Di Matteo. Candidates will be asked to speak to their vision for transit and how they will increase service, make fares more affordable, and pay for their respective transit plans.

To liven up the debate format, the audience will be able to respond to polling questions via their cell phones, and the answers will be projected on a screen for all to see.

This debate will also project a live Twitter feed so audience members can respond to the candidates' presentations in real time. Metro News columnist, Matt Elliot, will act as Truth Tweeter and provide facts on the candidates' transit platforms throughout the debate.

"Students spend hours travelling to and from school, and buying two and sometimes three costly passes because they have to travel across different transit systems," said Jesse Root, Vice-President Education at the Ryerson Students' Union. "Students want to know what our future mayor is going to do to make fares more affordable and improve service to campuses and where they stand on issuing a GTA wide transit pass at a discounted rate for students."

"With the cost of transit being so high, some riders are left making difficult choices between eating less, remaining isolated at home, or walking to shopping or community centres," said TTCriders member, Herman Rosenfeld. "We want to know what the candidates are planning on doing to make fares more affordable, especially for those in need.

"Transit is this election's hot-button issue, and that's because riders are sick of feeling like sardines when they travel on the TTC," said TTCriders executive director, Jessica Bell. "Transit users want to vote for a mayor that will improve public transit now."

Student organizations and TTCriders are calling on governments to increase funding to the TTC so service can be increased and fares reduced, especially for those in need.

A $700 million yearly investment in the TTC would mean the subsidy per ride (the TTC gets about 79 cents) would move up to the North American average. Currently, the TTC gets the least amount of funding per ride compared to other large transit systems across North America.

Media are invited to RSVP at info@ttcriders.ca.

The Ryerson Students' Union (RSU) represents over 30,000 students and fights for free, publicly funded post secondary education. RSU is educating students to vote for candidates that stand up for living wages, affordable child care and housing, better transit, and improving city services. More information at www.generationvote.ca.

Founded in 2011, TTCriders is a membership based group of transit users that campaigns for better public transit and lower fares. More information at www.ttcriders.ca.

SOURCE: Ryerson Students' Union

For further information:

Jessica Bell, Executive Director, TTCriders
647 772 8770, jess@ttcriders.ca

Jesse Root, Vice President, Education, Ryerson Students' Union
647 782 5519, vp.education@rsuonline.ca

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