Low income transit in Toronto and the struggle to make transit free

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The passing of a resolution to “develop a Policy Framework for Toronto Transit Fare Equity for consideration by the end of 2015” by Toronto City Council on July 8th, 2014 is a step forward. It reflects a series of struggles by low income people, social activists working in community movements, social agencies, transit activists, and allies in the trenches of the municipal government bureaucracy and government to address a particularly important issue of social justice – equal access to urban mobility – and a significant item in the cost of living. This victory, if small in itself, creates important openings and possibilities for addressing some of the inequalities built into the public transit system, particularly in the austerity-centred politics of Toronto.

The “Fare Equity” policy is the first time that the city government of Toronto has been forced to recognize that it has an obligation to lower fares for people on low incomes. For the low-income working-class, especially women, public transit plays a key role in their lives. Any material improvement in their lives, the largest users of public transit in the city, merits support.

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