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No extra fare needed for privately-run LRT, Metrolinx says

Metrolinx ended speculation Thursday of a possible two-fare system, in which TTC riders would have to pay more money to transfer onto an LRT (light rail transit) line.

The provincial transit agency told CityNews an “integrated” and “seamless” one-fare system will be in place when the new LRT vehicles start running about eight years from now.

Metrolinx plans to bring in a private operator to run the LRT expansion.

“We have been in discussions regarding how the operations will be performed by the TTC and the mix of responsibilities between the TTC and the AFP (alternative financing and procurement) contractor,” the agency said in a statement Thursday.

Metrolinx says the move will save taxpayers money. It would be the private sector, and not taxpayers, that would be responsible for any cost overruns on the project. It also limits the TTC’s say in the project to the planning of interchange stations.

“Under the AFP model, we protect taxpayers by building in strict penalties for any cost and schedule overruns,” Metrolinx said. “If the project is late, the private sector pays. If project is over budget, the private sector pays.”

The province is funding the $8.4-billion transit expansion. Provincial Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli gave the TTC’s LRT plan the green light in late June.

Metrolinx estimates LRT lines on Eglinton and Finch Avenue West will be up and running by 2020.

The Sheppard Avenue East line, between Don Mills station and Morningside Avenue, is slated to be completed by 2021, the TTC says. Mayor Rob Ford had wanted a subway on that stretch.

Click here for more information on the LRT plan.