TTC to resume ticketing fare evasion after pandemic pause

After a pandemic pause, the TTC is getting set to crack down on fare evasion once again. Laura Carney with where inspectors will be focusing their efforts.

The TTC says they plan to get serious about fare evasion again with an aim to start cracking down on free rides in the fall.

Fare evasion enforcement was mostly paused throughout the pandemic, but the transit agency is planning to resume ticketing of offenders with an advertising campaign and the return of transit fare inspectors.

The move comes as the number of people not paying to ride the TTC increases — with streetcars being the worst for fare evaders. TTC spokesperson Stuart Green says approximately 3 per cent of rides across the system are not paid for, with that number being closer to 5 per cent on streetcars.

Inspectors returned to the streetcar network in late 2020 to issue reminders to customers on paying when they ride. Green says many of the agency’s fare inspectors were redeployed into customer service positions when the pandemic hit in March of 2020.

Now he says the agency is ready to “phase-in full inspection and ticketing activities this Fall.”

“We’ve been developing new fare inspection protocols for training, ticketing, and cautions,” Green says. ‘Ensuring the practice is equitable for all customers while allowing us to collect important demographic information.”


The fines for fare evasion on the TTC ranged between $235 to $425 before the pandemic. The high fines and the alleged violent behaviour of some transit fare inspectors made headlines in early 2020, with concerns being raised about the agency’s fare evasion enforcement policies.

Around the sametime, the TTC launched an advertisement campaign aimed at making riders aware that they must always pay their fare. Transit advocates and several riders were critical of the campaign, calling it a waste of money, as well as privileged and exclusionary.

Green says the new ticketing crack down this fall will begin with a focus on the streetcar network and see the deployment of inspectors concentrated in the downtown core. A marketing campaign will be rolled out soon and customers will be given a heads up for when ticketing will resume.

Fare evasion has proven to be costly for the TTC, the city’s auditor found in 2019 that people not paying cost the agency $61 million for the previous year. Green says around 65 per cent of the TTC’s funding is from fares.

“Our expectation is that everyone pays their full fare when riding,” Green says. “Particularly given the high reliance we have on fare revenue to keep the system moving.”

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