TTC Fare Hikes:
Why Not Just Tax Gasoline Instead?

Once every so many months the Toronto Transit Commission that governs over Toronto's subways, trains, street cars and transit buses has to balance its budget. In the past, the traditional method is to simply raise the cost of TTC fares. But there are other ways to be making up the short-fall.

And thus here is MY proposal, and I admit I've stolen it from other cities that have done the same thing (and its worked wonders).

Put a tax on every litre of gasoline sold in the city. For large cities, this is actually a lot of money.

FACT: The city of Toronto uses 32 million litres of gasoline/day. People in Toronto commute a lot, plus there is also the issue of truckers, tourists, people passing through on the 401, etc.

A 3 cent tax on every litre of that 32 million litres would raise: $960,000/day. Or roughly $350 million/year. And its only an extra 60 cents for every 20 litres, so its not a huge amount that would cause drivers to complain.

With an extra $350 million/year, the TTC could build more subways on a regular basis, keep trains/buses up to date and safe, and maintain the same fare prices.

Furthermore, even if people did complain about the price increase, their only solution would be to take the TTC themselves (at a cost of $1200 annually for unlimited travel), which means the TTC would still be making more money anyway.

In the future 90% of people will live in cities. There is no reason why those cities should be using cars most of the time. There should be subways within a 5 minute walk of anywhere you go. I've been to cities where that is already the norm (Seoul, South Korea) and people there normally never use a car. Almost everyone prefers the subway because its faster and convenient.

The problem with the TTC right now is that they are still in a growing/building stage. Eventually the plan is to have 90% of Torontonians using the subway all the time, at which point fares could actually go down because as a public service they are not allowed to make a profit.

And while we are talking about the TTC, here are some other issues I'd like to bring up:

  • Advertising Space: There is still a lot of UNUSED space on the subways (within stations usually) where they could be advertising. Perhaps one route would be to rent out such spaces to advertising companies and then regulate what can be shown.

  • Subway Line to Pearson Airport: Long overdue. We lost the Olympics because of that one.

  • Subway Line to York University: 15 years overdue. The cost of parking at York U is worse than downtown.

  • Extend the Bloor subway line further east and west in order to cover the length of the city.

  • Extend the Yonge subway line north to Richmond Hill.

  • Finish building the Sheppard line.

  • Complete the loop so the Downsview line goes up and over and connects with Finch station.

  • Imagine if every major intersection in Toronto had a subway entrance. Why not? Then people wouldn't have an excuse to take the car and waste gas.

  • More underground shopping areas: I can see a future where there is a Tim Hortons in every subway station, instead of just a couple of them. Certainly way better than only having the current snack kiosks we currently have.

  • Taxis in Toronto are too expensive when compared to other cities in North America. Unfortunately the TTC has no taxi service, but if they did it would likely be very profitable and still cheaper than regular taxis because they would be regulated by the city.

    Several years from now I intend to run for Toronto City Council. I intend to come up with as many "brilliant ideas" as I can so I help fix up this city and make it better. - Charles Moffat.