Toronto mayoral candidate David Soknacki estimates his plan to offer free TTC rides to early risers would cost $20-million dollars a year.
Soknacki introduced the idea on Friday, but with no dollar figure attached. He revealed the pricetag Sunday as a guest on Newstalk 1010's Mark Towhey Show.
"We've calculated 20 million dollars maximum for that free one hour," explained Soknacki. "That doesn't include the revenue coming back or new revenue from new riders to the system."
Soknacki's proposal would allow riders to bypass the fare box on buses, streetcars, and before boarding a subway between 6 am and 7 am. He believes the free ride will be an incentive to people who already ride the TTC to re-jig the hours of their commute, providing some relief for the morning rush. The hope is the freebies will also encourage people who do not typically take the TTC to use it at other times of day too.
The cost of free rides for early-risers would come out of the TTC budget. Soknacki says he will have a fully-costed platform by the end of the campaign period and that he is "committed to a balanced budget for the city."
The mayoral hopeful wants to move from free rides in the 6 am hour, to discounted ones once the Presto fare system is up and running in Toronto Soknacki would also like to use existing GPS technology to stop the "bunching" of empty buses and streetcars and to test out rear-door entry on them city-wide in an effort to speed up the boarding process.
Lumped together, Soknacki says those moves represent part one of his three-part plan to tackle gridlock. Parts two and three will be detailed this week.
Last month, Soknacki proposed banning street parking in downtown Toronto to keep cars moving and to free up space for cyclists. He figures new lots and garages would be built to accommodate the cars left with no place to park in the core.