When, why, and how you pay for public transit in Toronto may completely change in the next few years.
The TTC and York Region Transit (YRT) are working to develop a new five-year fare policy that may change how riders pay for public transit, as well as the cost.
Slated for completion at the end of 2021, the project will work to improve the customer experience and create a simple and consistent fare system across the TTC and YRT.
The transit operators highlighted several goals for the new system, including that it should be affordable, equitable, accessible, and intuitive.
“Public transit is a key part of a liveable city and should be the favoured mode for a variety of journeys,” the TTC said.
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There are six new fare systems being considered, and three “add-ons” that can be included in any new arrangement.
One option would see the current system unchanged, with just one or more of the add-ons included. Another would see different fare prices based on the time of day.
A third option would allow customers to pay a single fare to transfer between the TTC and the YRT. Another system would see no change to bus and streetcar fares, but an additional cost added to use the subway.
A different option would divide the whole Greater Toronto and Hamilton into zones, with fare prices based on how many zones a customer travels through.
The final consideration is a “fare capping” system, which would establish a maximum cost for a certain time period, such as a day or week. Each trip taken after the cap is reached — within the time period — would be free.
The add-ons that have been put forth include a reduced cost for certain groups, such as students and seniors, a loyalty program, and lower fares for large groups.
In addition to the new five-year fare policy, the TTC and YRT are working to develop a 10-year fare collection outlook.
The 10-year plan will be informed by several factors, including the five-year policy itself and the effectiveness of fare collection models in other agencies.
Public engagement is “central to the development” of the fare policy, the transit operators said, noting that customers will be able to deliver feedback at a later date.