Toronto exploring new distance-based transit fare model for GTA

Feb 15 2017, 11:01 pm

This Friday’s Metrolinx board meeting is introducing a new concept to its fare integration proposal.

The regional transportation agency of the Government of Ontario for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) has introduced ‘fare by distance’ to its proposal. The new idea surrounds a structure involving fare by distance on all transit service types that would charge a per kilometer rate.

In a report, prepared by Metrolinx Chief Planning Officer Leslie Woo, early analysis of the concept states that fare by distance would create the greatest consistency in fares across all services, and would possibly result in high ridership potential due to lower-cost fares for short trips.

The idea itself is one of four outlined in the fare integration proposal.

The first is ‘modified existing,’ which is modifying current fare environment to address the most significant issues with the status quo. The second concept introduces ‘zones,’ which would develop a new regional fare structure with fare by zone for “Local” and “Rapid Transit,” adding flexibility to pricing. And the third is what’s called a ‘hybrid,’ developing a new fare structure with region-wide flat fare for “Local,” with “Rapid Transit” and “Regional” using fare by distance.

A comparison of fares from around the world is added in the report, which shows Vancouver as using a hybrid transit fare structure that includes zones and flat fares.


There is no definitive outline as to how soon these concepts could roll out in the region. A schedule overview shows ‘additional investigations’ throughout 2017.

The GTHA Regional Fare Integration Strategy will increase customer mobility and transit ridership while maintaining the financial sustainability of GTHA’s transit services, according to the report. This strategy will remove barriers and enable transit to be perceived and experienced as one network composed of multiple systems/service providers.

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