Although Michael Coteau, the ambitious Don Valley East Liberal MPP is calling for the phasing out of TTC fares, he is not billing it as a way to help hardworking, Torontonians save some money. He is linking this proposal to something far loftier- saving the planet.
Coteau says by encouraging residents to take public transit, they will inadvertently do their bit to combat climate change.
“Climate change is an urgent, existential threat. We need to act in ways that empower Ontarians to reduce their carbon footprint and save their hard-earned money,” he said.
“I believe, as a principle, that like other public services in Ontario, public transit should be free at the point of access. This initiative will involve all local, regional and provincial transit entities in all parts of Ontario and entail all modes of public transit.”
Coteau said their plan is to conduct a cost/benefit analysis in order to determine whether fare-free transit is an effective way of achieving environmental, economic and social objectives.
He said this will also help determine the return on the province’s investment in free transit.
“We will use the findings of this analysis to inform evidence-based decision-making on the role free transit can play in transitioning Ontario to a greater reliance on public transit to meet our transportation needs,” he said.
But in order to officially introduce this plan, Coteau will have to become the Liberal leader on March 7 and then beat Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives in the 2022 provincial election.
It’ll begin with young people and seniors, as well as anyone whose switch from driving to public transit would provide the most significant impact toward achieving targeted environmental, economic and social objectives.
He added that the province will support the gradual adoption of free transit programs “by local, regional and provincial transit entities all across the province to facilitate the migration of their business models to a fare-free transit ecosystem.”
Of course, it will all come down to how much this plan will end up costing taxpayers. Don’t be surprised if politicians decide to make car owners pay a small tax to offset the cost of free public transit. After all it is only fair that we make polluters pay the price for their actions. -CINEWS