TTC fare hike will hurt students financially: Affordable public transit and provincial funding the answer



    TORONTO, Sept. 13 /CNW/ - Students from across the city called on the
Toronto Transit Commission to stop the fare hike of $8.50 per month, scheduled
to impact the Volume Incentive Program (V.I.P.) Metropass in November 2007.
The V.I.P. metropass is highly accessed by college and university students who
will be hit hard by the fare hike. Students say that the City must keep
transit affordable and that Queen's Park must finally pay its fair share.
    "With recent hikes in tuition fees, parking fares, and Toronto's high
cost-of-living, students are already struggling to attend university or
college here in Toronto," said Ben Keen, Vice-President External at the York
Federation of Students. "More affordable metropasses leave room in a student's
budget for books and groceries and help students commute to class."
    "The TTC was in negotiations with students' unions to establish a more
affordable transit option for students when we were surprised with a metropass
hike to $96 a month," said Paul Brown, Commissioner of Academic Issues of the
Student Association of George Brown College. "This is frustrating news and
rattles students' confidence in the sincerity of the TTC's commitment to
affordable transit for students."
    "For over a decade, provincial government under-funding for education and
transit has driven up tuition fees and transit fares," said Dave Scrivener,
Vice-President External of the University of Toronto Students' Union. "Over
100,000 college and university students studying in Toronto planned their
finances this year based on the cost of the V.I.P. metropass. Announcing a
mid-year fare hike is unfair and will hit students hard."
    "Fare hikes are short-sighted because people who start using transit in
their youth go on to become life-long transit riders," added Nora Loreto,
President of the Ryerson Students' Union. "The TTC's decision to hike fares
will eliminate transit options for students, undermine eco-friendly choices,
and have a dramatic effect on the future of public transit in Toronto."
    Students' unions throughout the city, in co-ordination with the Canadian
Federation of Students-Ontario, plan to continue lobbying the TTC commission
to cancel the fare increase for the V.I.P. Metropass program. Students are
calling upon the provincial government to introduce new transit funding for a
dedicated post-secondary student pass and improved service.





For further information:

For further information: Nora Loreto, President, Ryerson Students'
Union: (416) 846-6672; Dave Scrivener, V.P. External, University of Toronto
Students' Union: (416) 518-7353; Paul Brown, Commissioner of Academic Issues,
Student Association of George Brown College: (416) 415-5000 x.6373 or (416)
258-9728; Ben Keen, VP External, York Federation of Students: (647) 219-8104;
Jen Hassum, Chairperson, CFS-Ontario: (416) 925-3825 or (416) 832-9073 (cell)


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