Fare increases are on the way for most TTC riders, though a new pilot program may help some commuters get downtown a bit faster – albeit for a price.
TTC Metropass holders hoping to get downtown a bit quicker will soon have another option – the GO train from Danforth station.
Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca, Metrolinx chair Bruce McCuaig, TTC head Andy Byford, TTC chair Josh Colle, and Beaches-East York MPP Arthur Potts brought a minor media circus to the East End station on Jan. 16 to introduce a $60 add-on sticker for TTC monthly pass users. The extra sticker will allow unlimited travel between Danforth, Union, and Exhibition stations for a one-year pilot project.
Del Duca said the price represents about a 65 per cent savings if a commuter were to use the same service at full price.
“I think that’s a reasonable bargain. Having said that, the reason we’re setting this up for the next year as a pilot is to see what kind of uptake there is,” he said.
As of Feb. 1, the cost of a one-way ride from Danforth to Union is $5.65, so regular commuters would be riding free after 11 rides.
However, it’s not known how many commuters with metropasses currently pay the additional fare to switch over. An estimate of the number of TTC users who might purchase the sticker was also unavailable, but Byford emphasized the pilot was about adding options for transit riders.
“I don’t think there’s any particular silver bullet here. It’s not a panacea, it’s progressively improving transit in the city with a number of steps,” he said.
McCuaig declined to offer solid numbers, saying part of the point of a pilot project is to gauge interest. He said the initiative is a sign of things to come from cooperation between the provincial and city-run transit agencies.
“This is a building block to how we can integrate our systems and our fare systems in the future,” he said.
The $60 sticker works out to just under $3 a day for those commuting downtown five days a week on the TTC. Switching to the GO at Danforth station would involve a walk of about a quarter of a kilometre and, according to Metrolinx, a trip about 15 minutes shorter.
The pilot goes into effect on Feb. 1, with stickers now available at Danforth, Union and Exhibition GO stations.
Meanwhile, a TTC fare increase of 10 cents for all non-cash fares is proposed as part of the city’s proposed budget. The exception is the fare for children 12 and under, who would ride free.
The hike would help pay for a list of proposed service enhancements, including increased bus service, additional subway trains, and “route management improvements” that are aimed at reducing short turns, bunching, and gaps on streetcar routes.