While 2020 came with its own share of unpleasantries, one thing that Toronto residents can look forward to in the new year is a fare freeze for all TTC services.
Mayor John Tory shared the positive news during an interview with Breakfast Television on Thursday morning, where he said he believes the transit fare freeze will be good news for TTC riders.
"The TTC fares will be frozen for 2021. This is a reflection of the hard work TTC staff have done. In a year like this, that's very hard for us to do but they will have maintained service without a fare increase for 2021," Tory said.
Tory added that he hopes people come back to ride the TTC in the new year "because it's safe."
Mayor Tory said he will be revealing more details about the fare freeze during a media briefing on Thursday afternoon.
According to TTC Riders, a public transit advocacy group, in the last ten years, fares have only been frozen once -- during Mayor Tory's re-election year in 2018.
This past March, a $0.10 fare increase took effect, after initially being revealed in the 2020 operating budget. The increase applied to all fares, except for the adult cash fare which remained the same at $3.25.
The increase also applied to PRESTO pay-as-you-go payment and the cost of monthly passes -- which increased across all fare types.
It now costs $3.20 for an adult Presto fare, up from $3.10, and $2.25 for a youth or senior Presto fare. A youth or senior cash fare is now $2.30.
The cost of monthly passes also increased across all fare types, with an adult monthly pass now sitting at $156.
At the time, according to staff estimates, the fare hikes would create an extra $31.4 million in passenger revenues as the TTC dealt with lost revenues from mass fare evasion, which cost the agency over $70 million in 2019 alone.
However, in the weeks to follow, stay-at-home orders were enacted to slow the curb of COVID-19, which had a huge impact on ridership. As a result, it was estimated that the pandemic would have a gross financial impact of $744.4 million on the TTC by the end of the year.
Mayor Tory's fare freeze announcement comes days after the Ford government announced Toronto will receive additional funding that will serve several different areas, including transit and housing, and help offset the costs it has incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new funding will total $1.2 billion and is on top of $669 million already provided in previous transfers from the province.