With the new Toronto-York Spadina subway extension to open on December 17, one advocacy group is concerned commuters won’t be changing their habits because they’ll be required to pay two fares – one to ride a York Regional transit bus, and a second fare to hop on the subway.
And that’s renewing calls for an integrated fare system between the TTC and local transit authorities.
“I’m not saying absolutely remove the wall. What I am saying is that there is a fair share that needs to be paid,” said Fred Winegust of the Congestion Relief Committee, South Central York Region.
“That fair share is not only for York region residents going to Toronto, but economic studies have shown that there are people from Toronto who are paying the double fare going into York region.”
TTC and GO Transit riders who use both services will enjoy discounted fares beginning in January. The chair of the TTC says extensive talks need to take place before the TTC could offer fare integration with other local transit agencies.
“We’re getting the PRESTO system in place. That will allow us technically to do fare integration,” said Coun. Josh Colle. “The negotiation will be between all these municipalities, the provincial government and the city to figure out what’s a fair fare integration model so that nobody is financially burdened in one way or another.”
The partnership between the TTC and GO Transit was made possible thanks to provincial funding. Metrolinx, which operates PRESTO and GO Transit, already has fare integration deals in place with several local transit systems — including Mississauga, Brampton, Durham and York region. The provincial transit agency is open to seeing the program expanded.
“If you ask me about integrated fares and when we should have reached a position on integrated fares across the region, I’d say we should have done this years and years and years ago,” said Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster.
“This is a very complicated topic though. It includes many decision-makers and we will continue to push this as quickly as possible.”