The following text is taken from the budget announcement. You will have to scroll down to find this heading because the page is not indexed.
Public Transit Tax Credit
Budget 2006 proposed a non-refundable public transit tax credit for the cost of monthly public transit passes starting July 1, 2006. Budget 2007 proposes to strengthen this measure on two fronts.
Electronic Payment Cards
Since the introduction of this credit, several transit authorities have developed proposals for the introduction of cost-per-trip electronic payment cards. The requirements for the existing credit do not accommodate these proposed cards.
Budget 2007 proposes to extend the eligibility for the public transit tax credit to accommodate these electronic payment cards. Under this proposal, the cost of an electronic payment card will be eligible for the credit if:
- the cost relates to the use of public transit for at least 32 one-way trips during an uninterrupted period not exceeding 31 days, and
- that transit usage, and cost of those trips, are recorded and receipted to the purchaser by the relevant transit authority, in sufficient detail as to allow the Canada Revenue Agency to verify eligibility for the credit.
A one-way trip will consist of an uninterrupted trip between the place of origin of the trip and the destination.
This measure will apply to electronic payment cards issued after 2006.
There may be instances where low-income individuals are unable to afford the financial outlay associated with purchasing a monthly pass. Even though they are regular transit riders, they may purchase a series of weekly passes.
Budget 2007 proposes to extend eligibility for the public transit tax credit to accommodate weekly passes where an individual purchases at least four consecutive weekly passes. For the purposes of this measure, weekly passes will include passes that provide a passholder the right to unlimited public transit use within a period of between 5 and 7 days.
Individuals making claims will be required to retain their receipts or passes for verification purposes.
This measure will apply to weekly passes valid for use after 2006.
I am not quite sure how the first measure will actually be implemented because the most likely way a Smart Card will work will be to operate as a limited-time pass. In effect, you get to ride for some period of time within some bounded area. This is necessary because the computing and monitoring required to figure out when one “trip” ends and another “begins” is quite daunting in a free-transfer system like the TTC. Such a capability would significantly increase costs and raise concerns about trip monitoring as an invasion of privacy.
Making Weekly Passes part of this scheme is a welcome and overdue addition. Now, can we look forward to multiple-trip fare media such as GO’s 10-trip tickets?