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Students say commuting woes are making it harder to achieve their goals – 25% of first-year U of T students spending 16 hours a week commuting

April 7, 2014, TORONTO – Youth need to be vocal champions of change if they want to see that change happen any time soon. That’s the message from last week’s youth forum on transportation co-hosted by CivicAction and the University of Toronto with youth leaders from across the political spectrum (Young Liberals, PCs, NDP and Greens).


“We are at a generational moment to shape the future of transportation in our region,” said CivicAction CEO Sevaun Palvetzian “Although there are diverse perspectives on how to do this, there is wide-spread support for investment to get us moving.”


“From the Boardroom to the Dorm Room” is the latest event in CivicAction’s Your32 transportation investment campaign. CivicAction is looking to each of Ontario’s party leaders to have an answer on how they will fund the next wave of transportation improvements for the Toronto region, through the spring budget and in party platforms.


Palvetzian and U of T President Meric Gertler set the stage for the discussion by presenting the cost of congestion and its impact on quality of life, especially for students.


“The University has a social obligation to collaborate with local partners in addressing the most compelling urban issues of the day,” said Meric Gertler, President, U of T. “Tonight’s gathering is a perfect example. We bring to it many viewpoints, but one goal – to unite in calling for decisive, evidence-based public investments in transportation infrastructure for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.”


CBC Radio’s Mary Wiens moderated the discussion, pulling out tales of hours-long commutes from youth panellists and audience members, and ideas on how to channel young people’s experiences into a call for change.


Quick Facts:


  • More than half of first year U of T students commute each day – 68% *
  • More than 1 in 4 first year U of T students spend an average 16 hours a week* commuting to and from campus. That’s well above the 16% average at other Ontario universities*, and well above the average of 6.8 hours a week** spent by commuters generally in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
  • The average person in the GTHA spends 82 minutes commuting every day – 6.8 hours a week.**
  • There are 32 minutes a day at stake as we decide whether to invest more in how we get around. It is the difference between the average commute time if the regional transportation plan The Big Move is funded and built over the next 25 years (77 minutes), versus the commute time if no comprehensive system is in place over the same time (109 minutes). **


*Source: National Survey of Student Engagement






About CivicAction’s Your32 campaign – CivicAction and its 50+ team of civic Champions and Regional Co-Captains aim to build support for a better regional transportation system and the need for new sustainable ways to pay for it. For more information, visit


About CivicAction

For the past 10 years, the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance (CivicAction) has brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle some of our region’s toughest social, economic and environmental challenges. CivicAction sets a non-partisan agenda, builds strategic partnerships with organizations, and launches campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region. For more information, visit:, @CivicActionGTA


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Keesha Bell

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Office: 416-309-4480 x508

Mobile: 647-267-4997 

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