TORONTO — The Toronto Transit Commission’s budget committee is debating a possible fare hike for transit riders.

The fare increase would be used to make up a $95 million shortfall in the 2016 budget.

“The shortfall – basically put in simple terms – is the difference between what we know the cost would look like going forward as we add more service to accommodate evermore rising customer numbers and the amount of subsidy we think we are going to get,” said TTC CEO Andy Byford.

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“The key point to note is that that gap does not factor in –right now- any subsidy  or any fare increase.”

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The report lists various fare scenarios, one of which would see a possible 25-cent increase on cash fares.

“No one wants fare increases. I would love to present a budget that doesn’t require a fare increase,” Byford said.

“But realistically, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Councillor Shelley Carroll says fare hikes should be a multi-year approach, as suggested by commissioners.

“It’s safe to say that we are going to have a fare increase…it should be a minimum amount of an increase but it should happen every year for a few years.”

“People often think that if you add riders to the system that you get more money, but in fact, the city puts in more money into each ride than the rider does, despite what they are putting in the fare box,” she added

The TTC last hiked fares in 2010,  going to from $3 per ride from $2.75.

“We have added the services that the mayor thought it would be important to put back and we now have to pay for them in this year,” Carroll said.

TTC Riders, an advocacy group for Toronto commuters released a statement today saying “riders are sick of paying even more for sardine-level overcrowding, breakdowns, and spotty service.”

“We need fair funding from all levels of government so we can get great service and lower fares,” the statement said.