Medical Officer of Health: Transit too expensive for low-income earners
Toronto's Medical of Health says more need to be done to make riding the TTC more affordable for the city's lowest-income earners.
The Chair of Toronto's board of health agrees.
Joe Mihevc tells Ryan Doyle & John Downs on Newstalk 1010's Friendly Fire, though the TTC is "the best deal in town", many Torontonians are left on the sidewalk because they can't afford to ride the rocket.
A report from city staff finds Toronto has one of the least affordable transit passes in the country when lined up with an income earned on minimum wage. After paying for rent & groceries though, Mihevc says many people can't scrounge up enough change to pay for a single ride, let alone a Metropass.
Staff says access to public transportation can play an important role in nailing down a well-paying job, giving workers some stability & a sense of identity. Health can suffer if would-be riders can't easily get to parks, arenas or pools. Low-income Torontonians may skip doctor's visits because they can't pay to get there, parents may put off having their children vaccinated.
Dr David McKeown is short on concrete solutions to making riding the bus, subway & streetcar more affordable.
He suggests the province, Metrolinx & TTC make sure part of any new funding for transit growth be used to improve affordability for low-income earners.
Mihevc says it will be ultimately be up to taxpayers to help out. Right now, the TTC is 80% funded by the money they take at the fare box. Mihevc would like to see that come down & new discounts for riders on social assistance.