Are Distance-Based Transit Fares Coming To Toronto?

Metrolinx is pondering the idea

Metrolinx, the Crown agency in charge of major public transportation and roads in Toronto and Hamilton area is pondering a new fare payment system in a Friday meeting. The proposal brings up the possibility of distance-based fares for all GO Transit, subways, streetcars, and buses.

The GTHA Regional Fare Integration Strategy is aimed to unite all the different transit systems in the GTHA by a fare based on distance traveled.

Currently, major transportation networks in Denmark, Netherlands, Beijing, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney utilize this distance-based fare. New York, Boston, and Toronto are currently a flat fare.

As reported by the Toronto Star, “The three original options are: a modified version of the status quo that would provide discounts for riders crossing between the TTC and GO; a zone-based system that would charge riders more for crossing defined boundaries; and a hybrid that would have a flat rate for local bus travel but charge by distance or zone for subways and regional rail.” Mayor Tory added that the current GO fare for people traveling within Toronto is unfair.

In the integration strategy report, it shows that low-income travelers are most affected by paying two fares at the Toronto/905 border. “About 75% of current cross-boundary trips by low-income travelers are not going downtown (shorter trips) compared to about half of trips by high income customers” it reveals.

Nothing has been finalized and the concept is still in development stages, but it’s good to know that Metrolinx are making steps to link up the transit systems between Toronto and Hamilton.

Photo by Abdulkadir A on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)