The Free and Accessible Transit Campaign is a committee of the Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly
What is Free and Accessible Transit?
Public transit should be a right for all people in the city. Using subways, buses and streetcars in Toronto should be free of fares. Transit users are not ‘customers’. Mobility is not a commodity to be bought and paid for by individual users.
It is an essential right, like public education, libraries, water, doctors and hospitals. It should be funded by government revenues. Transit should be accessible to everyone who needs it. That means regardless of their income, which part of the city they live or work in, or if they are living with disabilities and have particular physical challenges. All of us would be able to travel anywhere within our city when we need to.
Can you imagine how empowering it would be to go where you need to be, when you need to be there, not just on an overpriced ride to and from work or the occasional appointment or family event – but where you need to be and who you need to be with, any time of the day or evening?
What Do We Mean by Accessible Transit?
At $3 per fare, transit is becoming too expensive for poor and working people. For disabled workers, a ride that normally takes 1 hour takes 3-4 hours on Wheel-Trans. Wheel-Trans riders also get “demerit points” for missing the bus. Most buses and streetcars are not accessible for people with disabilities or for many seniors. Only half of TTC subway stations have elevators but they are often out of service.
How Could We Pay For It?
A fairer tax system would provide enough revenue to pay for fare-free transit. The provincial and federal governments would have to contribute their fair share of funding to Canada’s largest city. The amount of taxes that riders would have to pay would be
lower than the amount they spend each year on the cost of commuting today.
Right now, government subsidize roads and highways that cars use. With a fare-free transit system, we could save on the costs of environmental pollution and diseases caused by our current dependence on private cars. We need to make our tax dollars benefit the common good.
Publications from the committee: