Ontario to launch consolidated transit fares for Toronto-area commuters

Ontario to launch consolidated transit fares for Toronto-area commuters © Provided by The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Ontario will subsidize public transit trips so riders can avoid paying double fares when transferring between transit agencies in Toronto and the surrounding area, Premier Doug Ford said Monday.

Ford said the move will save the average commuter who uses two transit agencies about $1,600 per year.

“This program will be a game changer for transit riders,” Ford said. “It will provide people with more transit options and more convenience.”

The “One Fare” program applies to transfers between GO Transit, the Toronto Transit Commission, Brampton Transit, Durham Region Transit, MiWay and York Region Transit, the province said.

The program was first implemented two years ago between GO Transit and a number of municipal transit agencies. The TTC is the latest agency to be brought into the program.

The fare integration on the TTC will begin Feb. 26.

“That means someone living in Barrie can take a Barrie Transit bus to the GO Station, ride the GO Train to here, Downsview Park Station, and take the subway to the TMU campus, all with one fare,” Ford said.

Commuters will pay the highest fare in their journey, but not the additional transfers.

The province says it will fully fund the program, which will cost $67 million in the first year to implement.

The entire program will cost about $117 million annually, said Vijay Thanigasalam, the associate transportation minister.

Thanigasalam said the province isn’t done with fare consolidation.

“Our goal is to go to the next phase, to talk to and have dialogue with other municipalities beyond the GTA corridor so that we can bring the one-fare program into other regions,” he said.

Toronto’s Mayor Olivia Chow backed the plans.

“It’s a Godsend,” Chow said, adding that it will help save her money when commuting to her favourite Chinese restaurant in the east-end region of Scarborough.

“It’s more convenient and it’s more affordable.”

Last year, Ford had promised to bring the one-fare system to the TTC.

Ontario’s Liberals are “pleased” with the fare consolidation, but they will be watching to ensure the TTC is made whole by the province, said transit critic, Andrea Hazell.

“This announcement does not change one startling reality: the TTC and other municipal transit agencies are underfunded and at risk of hiking fares and reducing service in our affordability crisis,” she said in a statement.

Source: Liam Casey, The Canadian Press