TTC advocacy group TTCRiders wants the provincial government to account for a higher percentage of the transit system's operating subsidy. The group hopes that doing this, along with several other recommendations released in a new TTC funding report, will increase ridership on the TTC. An increase of funding and subsidies could mean transit riders would pay less.

TTCRiders released a report on Thursday titled "Better Transit Now" that deals with ridership and offers an alternative strategy to increase the number of people who ride the TTC. The group is calling for a better subsidy on fares from the provincial government.

"The solution really is to fund [the transit system] and not necessarily move it around or take over making our transit plans," Anna Lermer, project coordinator for TTCRiders, told Narcity.

In the last few months, the provincial government has stopped a funding subsidy to discount transit fares and introduced legislation to take responsibility of TTC subway expansions.

"Toronto is a very big city, we need a really good, robust transit system that is accessible to people and affordable for people," said Lermer.

The TTCRiders report states that in 2018, "the TTC operating subsidy was $1.14 per ride, with riders paying most of the remaining cost. [The provincial funding] equals 15 per cent of the TTC's operating subsidy, or $0.18 per ride."

The group is suggesting the province pay 50 per cent of a higher, $2.60 operating subsidy. They believe that funding is the root cause of issues facing riders.

"The reason that fares have been going up so quickly over the last 10 years is because of that lack of funding," said Lermer.

The report also offers other suggestions to increase ridership on the TTC like fare integration across transit systems, full accessibility, more frequent service, and deals with how the TTC can help impact climate change.

At a press conference about the release of the report, TTCRiders was joined by other groups like the David Suzuki Foundation and CodeRedTO, another transit advocacy group.

"The lack of predictable, dedicated revenues means that small changes in ridership can lead to rapid drops in service just to maintain budget balance," said Cameron MacLeod, executive director of CodeRedTO, in a press conference on Thursday. "It is vital that we break that cycle and ensure that transit is properly funded and can be seen as a dependable, effective and rapid option throughout our region."

TTCRiders touts their report as "a bolder version of the TTC's most recent Ridership Growth Strategy" and they will be bringing the findings to the TTC Board, Toronto City Council, and Toronto MPPs.

Narcity has reached out to Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, for comment.

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