How We Move Is How We Survive

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2178 ... August 27, 2020
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How We Move Is How We Survive:
A Statement for Free and Just Transit

Free Transit Toronto, Free Transit Ottawa, Courage, Climate Justice Toronto, and others

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected public transit in cities and towns across Canada. There are fewer riders as people who are able to stay home avoid public transit to physically distance. For those who rely on it, however, transit remains a necessity as it was pre-pandemic. Our governments’ responses have been to threaten massive transit budget cuts.

We write this letter to underline the necessity for further public investment in public transit, not a move away from it – and certainly not a move back toward transit fare enforcement. We write as organizations and individuals committed to a future for transit that is public, free, expanded, and just.

We embrace mobility as a human right and understand that for many, public transit is a necessity people rely on to get to work and move within our city. Public transit must therefore be a priority for federal... and provincial budgets and should not be funded by passenger fares. Transit decisions in Toronto illustrate an opposite reality: the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) depends on fares for 67% of its operating budget – the highest ratio in North America. As ridership has decreased during the pandemic, costs of operation have increased, and more riders cannot afford this essential service, the TTC is now in a financial crisis losing $18-million per week.

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