A new policy recommendation going to Toronto’s city council tomorrow seeks to cut the student transit pass discount for part-time students as of July 31. The Toronto Transit Commission cites lost revenue as the major reason for reversing a decision that’s barely a year old.
In November 2009, the TTC voted to extend the high school student transit pass price ($99) to post-secondary students beginning September 2010. In December, private career college students raised a fuss about being excluded from the new discounted price.
The TTC’s solution: Allow them to receive the discounted price, and exclude part-time students instead. This is a case of a lack of support for part-time students yet again.
The Toronto Star reported on a review of the new pass program, which lead to the policy recommendation now on the table:
“That review says extending the post-secondary-school discount to private college students is too costly. It means $400,000 annually in lost revenues, bringing the total loss under the discount to $7.7 million — with “negligible” gains in ridership.
“So the report is recommending removing part-timers from the program, to mitigate the fare loss by $1.4 million. The move would also reduce the number of riders the TTC expected to gain through the post-secondary passes, from about 500,000 to 400,000.”
Sure, I can understand budget restraints, but taking something away from one group just to give to another is just plain cruel. If your budget is strained in the first place, I would suggest not including new groups in your discount programs until you can afford to do so.
In this case, it’s even more unfortunate as most part-time students study part-time for a reason. Many are supporting dependents, many can’t get enough funding to attend full-time and are therefore forced to work while going to school, and the list goes on.
There are so many pressures on students these days, and this is another example of how under-funding public transit is hurting everyone, including part time students who are doing things like raising dependents and trying to make their own life.