Metrolinx Fare Integration: Get Ready to Pay More For Subway Trips

One of the great mysteries surrounding the roll out of Presto on the TTC has been the whole debate about “Regional Fare Integration”. Now and then, discussion papers surface at Metrolinx, but folks at the TTC, especially the politicians, are strangely silent on the subject. “Wait and see” is the order of the day.

Well, folks, we have waited and now we are beginning to see the direction Metrolinx is heading in for a consolidated GTHA-wide fare structure. The results will not please folks in suburban Toronto or the inner 905 for whom long subway trips are a routine part of their commutes.

The Metrolinx Board will consider an update on this subject at its meeting on February 10.

The presentation is in a sadly familiar Metrolinx format: lots of wonderful talk about consultation and fairness, and philosophical musings about what a fare system should look like. One big omission is any evaluation of the relative numbers of riders who would be affected by various schemes, and even worse of any sense of calibration of the fares to produce different results.

This comes at a time when we know from SmartTrack demand studies the importance of fare levels in attracting ridership. It is important here to remember that we are not talking the relatively small differences between types of TTC fares, or year-by-year increments, but the much larger deltas between TTC fares and those on GO Transit.

The problem begins with the arbitrary segmentation of the travel market into “local”, “rapid transit” and “regional transit”.


This is a wonderful theoretical view of the world that might find a home in a sophomoric academic paper, but it ignores the very real world in which (a) “rapid transit” today only exists within Toronto and (b) Toronto decided over 40 years ago that “local” trips paid one fare regardless of the mode they used. The entire system is designed on this principle, one that has consistently evaded Metrolinx planners.

If only the world were so simple. Why is Bus Rapid Transit omitted from this list? Why is a streetcar (aka LRT) on right of way “rapid transit”, but not a bus? How close must subway or LRT stops be to each other for the service to drop back to a lower tier? Conversely, if someone slaps a “19x” route number on a bus, should it become “rapid transit”?

The basic problem with this world view is that transit modes, especially bus and streetcar/LRT, have a wide range of overlapping implementations.

The Principles

Now comes a basic principle about trip length which, in the Metrolinx world, is the foundation for all fares.


If trips are possible by two forms of transit within their primary market, the fares should be equal. Hence a short bus and subway trip should cost the same, and at the medium range, regional and rapid transit fares should be equal.

This is a wonderful theory, but it fails on basic issues:

  • What do the terms “short”, “medium” and “long” represent? The only way the current TTC fare structure fits within this scheme would be to define all of Toronto as a “short trip”, but that is patent nonsense the moment we get into cross-border travel.
  • If specific distances are assigned to the screen lines in this model, what proportion of trips now taken on the TTC, and on GTHA systems in general fall into each category?
  • If “rapid transit” and “regional rail” are comparably priced, what happens to demand patterns? Indeed we often hear that there is no room on the regional system for more comparatively short-haul traffic.
  • If fares between modes are to be normalized, in which direction will they move? Will rapid transit trips become more expensive at “medium” or longer distances?
  • What are the implications for fares on the various long-haul subway extensions proposed or under construction? The TYSSE to Vaughan. The Scarborough Subway. The Richmond Hill subway.
  • Should a Richmond Hill subway fare cost the same as a GO fare, and if not, how does that fit into the model above? A challenge for anyone trying to pick the boundary values is that Toronto is rectangular, and a trip from northeastern Scarborough to downtown is actually longer than one from the inner 905 on Yonge Street.
  • How will this scheme fit into GO’s fare structure which is decidedly tilted in favour of its long-distance riders and discourages shorter trips?

It gets better as we delve into more “principles” behind this scheme.


Exactly what the avoidance of penalties for using multiple service types might translate to in practice is unclear. If we begin with the premise that “higher order” types of service should cost more because they provide greater speed (and implied value), then it is impossible for trips of comparable lengths using various mixtures of modes to cost the same. The need to use multiple modes is a fundamental result of the network design (especially in Toronto), and of GO’s abdication of responsibility for “local” transit. Now with the emergence of SmartTrack, will it be considered a regional service or (merely) rapid transit service? How does this fit together with Mayor Tory’s claim that SmartTrack would operate at TTC fares unless, of course, “TTC fares” change substantially to make “rapid transit” more expensive.


This chart is quite clear: if a mode gets you somewhere faster, you invest less time in the journey and should be prepared to pay more to “buy” that speed. On some TTC routes (the extra-fare Downtown Express lines), people pay for comfort and speed, but on other routes (the “rockets”), regular fares are used because it is actually cheaper for the TTC to carry people “express” between major nodes in the network. What is missing from this chart is any sense of the cost of providing a service, and we see only its imputed worth as a function of speed.


This chart is a general illustration of the problem with coarse fare zones such as the situation where the 416 is one big zone, and there is a major cost increment when crossing the 416/905 boundary including the one between GO and the TTC which is conveniently ignored in most discussions. This principle underpins the concept that “more zones are better than fewer zones”, and creates a catch-22 where zones within Toronto are almost inevitable in order to achieve the desired granularity at the boundary. The illustration below shows that Metrolinx is already thinking of zones on a scale considerably smaller than the City of Toronto.


Things start to get woolly when we dive into actual construction of possible fare policies.


Note that a flat fare scheme is “applicable” only to local service. Once again this gets us into the thorny question of just when a service ceases to be “local” using the Metrolinx definition.


A vital statement here is “Local … has the most trips”. That’s an intriguing concept considering the vast number of riders on the TTC subway network which, by definitions used here, is “rapid transit”, not local. Every so often, Metrolinx’ blinkered view of transit with “Toronto” and “everyone else” occupying a different space emerges, and this is a good example. The problem, of course, is that “Rapid Transit” is a very well used mode, on a par with all of the “local” travel in the entire network, and dwarfing “regional” travel by an order of magnitude or more. A fundamental assumption behind this process is, quite bluntly, wrong.

The details begin with a chart showing the general character of the existing fare structure. Following sections will use the same chart as a basis to diagram proposed changes.


Now we get a sense of what the new fare structures could look like.

Concept 1: Modified Status Quo


In this scheme, transfer fares between adjacent local transit systems would be low and standardized. This preserves agency boundaries as we know them, and offers only a small disincentive to cross-border travel. Another change would be to standardize transfer fares to and from GO, a change that benefits both inside-416 travel and cross-border trips. Those whose trips originate in the 905 would get a cheaper “distributor” service from the TTC system, and those travelling within Toronto would have a more attractive option for riding GO Transit as part of their journey (providing, of course, that capacity were available).

The kicker is here: “Regional base fare and Rapid Transit fares more closely aligned to improve continuity for medium length trips”. If you think this means you will ride GO (or SmartTrack) for today’s subway fare, think again. This is a clear statement that subway fares would rise for “medium length trips”, whatever those are. This is directly contrary to decades of Toronto Council fare policy and a kick in the teeth to those who complain that suburban riders are penalized to use the TTC.

Concept 2: Local and Rapid Transit Zones


A zone structure would be implemented, likely with the same geography for both “local” and “rapid” transit. For the longest of trips via regional services, fares would continue to rise with distance travelled. A transfer charge between local and rapid transit services is a matter for a policy decision — does Toronto lose its long-standing free-transfer between subway and surface routes which is the heart of the network design?

Concept 3: Hybrid


A region wide flat fare would be implemented for “local” service. The obvious question here is “what is local”, and the underlying assumption that this embraces all service provided by city buses (highway coaches are an exception so that they can charge “regional” fares).

Rapid transit fares would match local fares for “short” trips (again, an undefined concept), but would rise on a distance basis once the “medium” tier was entered. The rate of increase would become even steeper for “long” trips on regional service.

Missing Pieces of the Puzzle

Many issues are not addressed in this report, and there is not even the basis for public consultation. The whole question of how this would work in practice is punted to the future. We could well see “public participation” sessions in which the logical first question anyone might ask is “what does this mean for my fares”, but Metrolinx won’t be able to answer. Won’t be able, or won’t want to confront the rage of Toronto-based riders whose fares may go up.

This ties in with the “three cities” map and basic questions of transit equity. Affluent people can afford to live downtown and have short transit trips as their standard, daily travel. Less affluent are forced into the suburbs either for economic reasons or to get housing big enough for a family. Meanwhile, the job market is concentrating in a few locations, notably downtown, and commutes generally are not half-hour jaunts within a community. A similar issue exists for students who have only a few post-secondary institutions to choose from, and who face long commutes to get to and from class on a transit network that is, generally, not oriented to their destinations.

Another vital point the report ignores is the question of implementation costs — not for the hardware, but for new fare structures. How much will Queen’s Park shell out to make this scheme work, or conversely how much will local municipalities have to pony up to participate in the great plan without hitting up their riders for greatly increased fares? If Toronto wants cheaper “rapid transit” fares, how much would Council have to pay for the privilege, one that would also benefit residents of the 905?

What Is Really Going On Here?

This is the point where I have to think about motive and the “behind the scenes” machinations at Metrolinx. It is no secret that provincial planners have been strong-arming the local agencies to accept their world view of “fare integration”, and that some form of distance-based fares was inevitable. That this has been going on for so long begs important questions:

  • How much do local politicians responsible for their transit agencies know about the direction this work is headed? Do they understand the implications for their fare structures, particularly in Toronto’s suburbs? Has their management bothered to tell them?
  • Do Metrolinx Board members understand the implications of what is put before them? They are usually a docile lot content to praise anything their management tables with only the most superficial of comment. Either they have done a lot of work in advance in private discussion (in which case the report reflects a Board view of policy), or they do not understand (or want to understand) the implications.
  • Why are Metrolinx management allowed to repeatedly bring a major policy issue like fare structure before the board with only superficial analysis and no specifics of what the proposed structures would actually look like, and how riders would benefit from or be hurt by the new schemes?

A good precept when considering the development of new policies is that Machiavellian plotting is rarely found, and sheer incompetence explains how things work so much better.

Work on fare integration policy has been underway for a long time. We have precious little to show for it, especially in the specifics of how it would work (an actual fare tariff), how it would affect riders, and what the subsidy requirements would be for each scheme. There isn’t a shred of Business Case Analysis (a methodology so beloved of Metrolinx) nor any sensitivity tests to determine the effect of “turning the knobs” on various plans. Most importantly, there is no sense of the broader political and social context in which transit operations and pricing exist.

Instead, we have a continuation of general statements and principles, warm fuzzy stuff that a Metrolinx Board might approve because it reads like motherhood until you look closely. Under the pretense of approving principles, the stage is set for a massive shift in fare policy notably within the City of Toronto where most transit riding occurs. It masks a revenue grab from “rapid transit” users (conveniently omitting the most common form of this mode outside of Toronto) and paves the way for an “integrated” SmartTrack fare that will most definitely not be at current TTC levels, the way the system was sold to voters in the first place.

My analysis may be totally out to lunch, but if that’s the case, then Metrolinx should pony up a much more detailed description of the plans to prove me wrong. The unmistakable odour of equine effluent is in the air.

The Metrolinx Board should reject this proposal and demand that it be reworked to better explain its implications beyond the level of “principles”, and state clearly how it will actually affect riders with dollars and cents examples. Anything less is an abdication of the Board’s responsibility.


36 thoughts on “Metrolinx Fare Integration: Get Ready to Pay More For Subway Trips

  1. I have said it before and I will say it again. For this to work we need ZONE fares. York, Peel, Halton, Durham and Toronto need to be separate zones.

    Outside Toronto persons should be required to pay more to ride the subway. This should also apply to cross-boundary travels.

    Fare by distance will NEVER work for local transit services. I would not be willing to pay 6 bucks or whatever it is to ride from Warden to Yorkdale Mall for example. I can however see paying more money to ride from Warden to VMC

    Sorry if you mentioned this in your post. It is rather long and I did not have time to read everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I generally agree the TTC should move towards a zone based system. Concept 2 seems like the only concept that fits the TTC. Paying more just because it’s rapid transit makes no sense. If we build the Finch West LRT to replace the 36 Finch West, anyone taking the bus from Highway 27 to Keele would pay a higher fare than previously. It wouldn’t be effective to keep a parallel bus running so the poorest residents can actually take the bus. The 97 Yonge doesn’t run into downtown except rush hour nor there is a bus along Bloor. If you live on those corridors, you’re automatically forced to pay more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We already have 2 zones in the local transit system. TTC and everyone else. Maintaining that structure within a system of so-called “integration” helps no one.

    The very least Metrolinx could do is find a way to make co-fares work for the thousands of people living in the 905 who have to use the TTC to get to their destinations. No need to overhaul the fare structure itself. Just keep it simple.

    Personally I’d be more interested in seeing a slightly different fare curve that was a bit more arch like. Instead of fares rising for longer regional and rapid transit trips, the fares should be slightly higher for the medium distance. After all, the goal of long distance transit is to give people the option to travel without driving. Having a slightly lower relative fare for long distances encourages transit use which means fewer cars on the road…especially if the relatively lower long distance transit fare is introduced at the same time as road pricing on the highways.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: The arch you describe is how GO fares actually work already. Despite Metrolinx claims, they do not go up proportionally to distance, but grow at a slower rate for longer journeys. The problem for shorter journeys is that they start at a high level relative to “local” fares.

    I agree that a co-fare arrangement with the TTC, GO and the 905 systems would correct much of the problem the current system has for riders. All that is needed is the will to subsidize this.

    The fundamental flaw at Metrolinx is that they don’t want to confront the issue of increasing subsidies for cross-border travel, of paying TTC (primarily) to carry riders from the 905 at a low marginal fare. The last time this issue was at the board, Rob Prichard observed that they originally hoped for a situation where they could just shuffle revenues around, but that proved impossible. This implies that Metrolinx has been looking at actual tariff structures and modelling them against actual travel patterns, but there is no hint of such work in the current report.

    The worst problem here is that if Metrolinx approves this, there will be an “official” sanction for higher subway fares that has had absolutely no public input or discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If “rapid transit” becomes a separate fare category, does that mean the concept of a monthly (or weekly) pass is obsolete? Or that you’ll have to buy a “rapid transit + local” pass if you have any expectation of having to ride the subway (or ride the subway for a distance greater than Metrolinx’s threshold)?

    It would be quite helpful if the presentation had included a slide documenting what exactly the problem is that they are trying to solve. My interpretation is that there are two things: (1) riders dislike having to pay two fares to cross a boundary on local transit (especially crossing Steeles Avenue), and (2) they are trying to figure out how to reconcile GO’s commuter-based fares with the desire to increase use of GO for different types of trips, or as a relief for the subway.

    For (1), implement a time-based fare with free transfers between agencies. There is an issue of how to make up the revenue that would be lost from those trips, but if the priority is supposed to be on rider convenience, then the “behind the scenes” policies are a secondary issue.

    For (2), allow me to propose something radical. Make GO travel a flat fare at the same level as local trips. Make up the revenue by charging for parking. If you charge for parking proportionally by distance, you mimic the fare zones while rewarding riders that travel to/from the station by bus and while allowing GO to serve a variety of roles, and eliminating the discrepancy between GO’s existing fare structure and Tory’s promise that SmartTrack will have the same fares as TTC. An example: Newmarket to Union is currently $17.60 round trip using PRESTO, with free parking. You could change that to $3 each way, plus $11.60 for parking.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Interesting the Metrolinx principles don’t consider the quality (comfort?) of the service provided in addition to speed of service (rapid or not). Should there be a fare premium or discount whether or not a seat is available? A deeper discount when riding as sardine-in-a-can?

    Should the fare structure require the transit provider to pay a penalty to the passenger when a vehicle is short turned, a subway is delayed, a connection is missed or route management is indifferent?
    Hmm . . .

    Steve: Once upon a time, GO had a passenger service target that involved most riders getting a seat most of the time. They never achieved this and didn’t even come close. The metric has disappeared from their goals with the result that, finally, they get a nice row of check marks all the way down the column.

    Why show your ongoing failure when you can just ignore it?


  6. It would seem to me that if Metrolinx wants to consider that the subway system should have a fare system similar to the GO system but the TTC surface system would operate at a lower fare system, many people would want to stay on the surface system and in order to give those people the opportunity to do so would require re-establishing surface routes on Yonge and Bloor. The could be so many people desiring to do this that the TTC would have to put streetcars back on these routes!

    I live near Royal York and Dundas and am able to see the large number of people from Mississauga who transfer to and from Mississauga Transit to the subway at Islington presumably because this a cheaper trip than riding GO. I suggest that a very great number of residences of Toronto would do likewise.


  7. Like all Metrolinx discussions, this can be subject to political pressure from Queen’s Park.

    There are two variables in that.

    1. Inner suburb MPP’s have shown they can be subject to and then apply pressure on transit issues – see the Scarborough MPP’s who banded together to shape the transit discussions for the last few years to the point where the City had to go to Brad Duguid first to create a plan.

    I can imagine what the swath of Liberal MPP’s from Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough would think when told that there constituents are going to have to pay extra to ride the subway, and that this is a provincial decision that they will own.

    2. There is little to no transit talk from the opposition. In particular, the NDP, who you would think would have the most to gain by stirring up trouble in Toronto for the Libs, seem focused, once again, on the esoteric morass of the electricity file. Where is the provincial discussion on this? Does Andrea Horwath even KNOW there is a transit discussion going on here? Would at least 1 of the parties actually get out there with a “This is wrong.” message? I don’t know if they care, to be honest.


    IF word of this were to get out via the media, I can tell you what most people in the inner suburbs would say, “This is Bullshit.” As you indicated Steve, most of us live in these inner suburbs because we can’t afford to live anywhere else in this city – can’t afford a home in the 905 or a condo downtown and priced out of the rental market in the core. In the Premier’s own riding, this is going to create social upheaval. Like, are they that thick?!

    As an employer, I’m even more worried. First of all, my pool of potential employees is going to shrink significantly. Secondly, the average commute for people coming to our work in the inner suburbs is over an hour via transit. If people have to take buses to go north south or east west depending upon where they come from, those employees are going to be more tired and thus less productive then they currently are.

    Lost productivity and less stable employees.

    Thanks Metrolinx.

    Thanks Liberal Government.

    Steve: An additional irony here is the number of people who think Metrolinx would do so much better a job of providing transit than the TTC. This is a taste of just what provincial “expertise” brings to the transit file.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I think that zone fares won’t work very well on surface LRT. In order to have zone fares, passengers have to tap their Presto card twice, but at a busy surface LRT stop there would be large crowds of people tapping off, and the platform is narrow. Would the Presto machines be on the platform or on the light rail vehicle? If they are are on the platform, there would need to be a large number of machines on the platform at a busy surface stop. It is easier to implement on the subway or the underground portion of the Eglinton LRT where there are turnstiles.

    On the other hand, it would be undesirable to apply zone fares to the subway but not to LRT. This would result in the LRT being cheaper than the subway (e.g. a trip to Kennedy would be cheaper on the Eglinton LRT than the subway) which would mean increased overcrowding on the LRT.

    Also I presume that “streetcars” and LRT are considered to be different by Metrolinx and zone fares will not apply on “streetcars”?

    Steve: Yes, “streetcars” are “local” transit, but try explaining to someone why an “LRT” running on a reserved lane is not a “streetcar”.


  9. Thank you for your analysis. I’m a frequent reader but this is my first time commenting. What I’m taking away from this is:

    (a) Metrolinx’s primary objective is to lower the cost to GO train users who want to transfer to the TTC to complete their trips. For consistency, this also requires them them to arrange for a lowering of the cost of transferring between other municipalities and the TTC.

    (b) In accomplishing the above, Metrolinx wants to protect its revenue. They initially hoped that they could find a way to do this where the net revenue transfer between GO and TTC would be close to zero. But the number of people outside Toronto who would take advantage of the above reduced costs is much much larger than those in Toronto. So they would have to provide money to the TTC in compensation for serving all these new riders.

    (c) To make this work out, they need GTA wide fare structures rejigged such that “regional transit” is considered the highest value component of a trip with multiple transit modes (so they collect most of the money). Thus they would end up with most of the revenue with any trip involving both TTC and GO. This would prevent them from having to actually pay anything to the TTC to serve additional riders coming in from the ‘905’.

    (d) The fare structures being discussed are an attempt to justify such a re-alignment, as well as drive up TTC fares to get the additional revenues to serve 905 customers without any significant contribution from Metrolinx.

    (e) In such a re-alignment, the winners are 905 who get to use TTC for little extra money, TTC customers adding GO to their trip (those currently using both modes would see a fare reduction). Losers would be Torontonians making long trips inside the city using the subways and future LRTs. This also sets the stage for obtaining increased revenue from Smart Track customers. And as Metrolinx “owns” the LRTs, it may be able to squeeze out some revenue from them, despite their being operated by the TTC and part of the TTC network.

    (f) In general, the idea of lowering costs for GO transit users coming into Toronto is a good one – it increases transit usage by a population whose carbon emissions from driving would be the highest in the GTA. And all of these folks are not wealthy by any means and are paying higher costs for transit use than Torontonians. But it should not be done on the back of TTC users.

    Steve: That’s a fair summary of the situation. It’s a revenue grab by Metrolinx from Toronto riders who make up the bulk of GTHA travel.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. In Japan all fares are distance based … from local buses (charge increase by stop) all the way to Shinkansen bullet trains. They’ve had this for decades and seems to work well for them. Don’t see why something similar wouldn’t work here too, especially with mobile apps making it easier than ever to plan your route ahead of time.

    Steve: If this were the long-standing tradition of fares in Toronto, I would agree with you, but it is not. There was a big fight in the early seventies to get rid of zones so that suburban riders would travel for the same fare as “downtowners”. When I consider the vitriol that has been poured on anyone who isn’t a born-again believer in the Scarborough Subway, I cannot imagine the result if we told people “yes, you can get your subway, but it will cost you more to ride it than the folks downtown”. That is political suicide.

    A related issue is that as a matter of municipal policy, we are trying to use transit to improve access to jobs, education and other major parts of urban life without requiring that people spend a fortune to do this. Changing existing flat fares to some form of fare-by-distance works directly contrary to this principle.


  11. 1: I wish the examples used in the .pdf presentation were real. I wish we had actual trips under the current system and under the proposed changes. Something like…

    Ashley commutes from her home at Burnamthorpe and Hurontario to her office at King and University. Her current trip is A and takes her B amount of time and cost C dollars. Her alternate option is X and takes her Y amount of time and costs Z dollars.

    Under fare integration proposal 1, A trip would cost ___ and X trip would cost ___. Under proposal 2, A trip would cost ___ and X trip would cost ___.

    That way we could understand exactly what is being proposed. Instead we get “local” and “regional” and scenario so vague and reassuring that, without careful examination, they sound reasonable.

    2: The slide on page 20 seems to show that Metrolinx has decided to stick with its plan to price trips on rail higher than trips on buses the only difference seems to be that they are now refusing to say this out loud and are now substituting the word “local” for the word “bus” and the word “regional” for “train.”

    3: On page 21, the section on value stood out and “Minimizes fare underpayment” was the kicker. I wonder why getting transit user to pay as close to the full cost of the service they use is a fundamental principle of transit when it’s not a guiding principle for road users, healthcare users, library users, students in elementary or high schools. Why is user pay so more important than getting users on the system? Isn’t the goal to get people out of cars? I know cost recovery is important but I’ve never seen it pursued so zealously in a government service, with the possible exception of University tuitions, and even then, I don’t believe students pay +70% of the cost of their schooling.

    Steve: This is a basic problem with Metrolinx. Their doublespeak masks both their real intent and it completely avoids the issue of transit as a social good, not as a balance sheet where revenue should be maximized.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I doubt that any of the MPPs elected by the citzens of Toronto would risk their futures on a separate fare for the subway system in Toronto. It would be political suicide.

    What I earlier proposed a separate zone for the 905 and a separate zone for the 416. I am not talking individual zones for each region but one for the entire 905. This would streamline transit and make life easier.

    I take Miway to work everyday from Islington and it is preferable over GO transit simply because of the high fare. I cannot justify paying $6.00 each way when I can ride Miway for $2.90 each way.

    I wonder if the idea of separate fares for the subway has anything to do with SmartTrack? I am curious to know if they singled out rapid transit for a higher fare so that when SmartTrack is up and running they can charge a “TTC fare” albeit a higher one equivalent to GO trains in Toronto.

    Steve: I want to know how they got Andy Byford to buy into replacing all of the TTC’s subway fare gates to permit “tap out” and hence distance based fares without giving one more nickel of provincial subsidy to pay for them, and why Byford has been so disingenuous about explaining why we actually need this capability. The TTC board has never voted, at least not publicly, to support a change in fare structure.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. A key problem with the Metrolinx fare integration exercise is that it is, as you hint at, almost totally divorced from the design of the services that will be covered. (The potential Richmond Hill Subway / GO integration is probably the issue that could have been most useful as a exemplar of how an improved fare system would impact travel in the region.) Instead of being a fare and service integration study, it’s focused on the fares only. This is absurd, but appears to be typical among government agencies totally isolated from economic realities.

    While I think you’re overly pessimistic on the potential adverse effects of changes to the fare system, I totally understand your frustration with this process. That it’s also taken a decade to get to this, as you say, sophomoric report is a sign of the incredible lack of commitment or level of incompetence in Metrolinx on this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I hope City Council slaps this inane notion of premium fares for rapid transit right down. I’m sure I’m biased, as someone who lives on Bloor and takes the subway almost exclusively, but the idea of paying a premium for subway travel seems ridiculous to me. Firstly, as I understand it, subways in the denser part of the city are the cheapest (per rider) to operate. Secondly, as I travel mostly against peak demand, or at least on the lower demand segments of the subway, it seems ridiculous to pay extra for the privilege.

    This whole idea is also riddled with functional issues. Streetcars are local, but LRTs are rapid. So, do you charge a premium for the 509, 510, and 512, because they run on dedicated ROWs? What about the 511, which runs partially on a dedicated ROW? Do we charge suburban commuters a premium for their LRTs essentially because their lines are newer and run through areas with less density?

    What do we do about night buses on Bloor and Yonge? Are we in a situation where it is actually cheaper to travel after the subway shuts down? What happens when a line is out of service, and shuttle buses are used in place?

    This seems like an extreme over-complication of a simple problem. A reasonable co-fare system would, I think, satisfy most commuters. I think most people can understand why they should have to pay separately to ride different transit systems subsidized by different municipalities. This plan will encourage transit for a small minority, while discouraging it for the vast majority.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I agree that this is setting up the table to increase fares within Toronto I believe that this is in preparation for privatization of services.

    Local service meaning bus service means you can do like London where routes and sectors are given to private contractors. Typically on those contracts the private operator gets a percentage of fares. So to make the routes appealing fares have to go up.

    Subways: either maintenance only or maintenance and operations go together. And while it makes no sense from a public policy, I can see where someone interested only in giving the private sector juicy contracts would make subways a separate fare (read higher) to appeal to private operators.

    LRT? No different and deemed more comfortable than buses so they too will commend higher and separate fares.

    Then it becomes clear why you have to have Presto. And important for Presto to have access to your credit card or bank account. That’s why on GO there’s no tickets or passes. So you never know what you are paying unless you keep track. You never feel it because as your Presto is on auto-reload you don’t have to do anything it’s painless…

    Then yearly fare increases will happen but on different dates ( for the different types of services : regional, rapid and local) so you cannot clearly see that they pick your pockets.

    Of course I do not support those aims at all. I oppose it, but I can see where this falls all in place.

    Steve: And whatever the motivation or eventual goal, it is a plan by stealth that has no business in what is supposed to be a public, and largely Toronto enterprise.


  16. If I used Metrolinx’s crazy logic, I guess I should pay less to use GO transit, because my GO bus to work is really slow in the mornings? It takes nearly an hour from Yorkdale to Square One some days.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. A huge amount of implications could result from any of the above theories.

    1. Accessibility of transit without using all 3 nodes of transit, especially within old city of Toronto, could be absolutely disastrous for those with physical disabilities.

    There are vast parts of Toronto that have no bus routes covering either streetcar or subway services. 75% of people with disabilities live on fixed incomes, usually ODSP, who no longer have allowances for transit passes. 90% of those with multiple disabilities, cannot work, also with sheltered workshop closures in the imminent future, this would leave them even more destitute.

    2. 95% of soup kitchens and homelessness services are located in an area east of Dundas West station & west of Broadview, south of Davisville. With the continued push out to the suburbs of homeless shelters with no accompanied movement of accessible soup kitchens/meal programs, it’s even more important than ever to have accessible & even more importantly, affordable, public transit.

    3. Go Transit (Metrolinx) are not used to or even willing to service the poorest of people who live in cities.

    4. I on a regular basis (daily) travel from Markham/Lawrence to City Hall & surrounding area, for various reasons, including most importantly the ability to get a hot meal. It’s an average of 90/120 mins each way, with a lot of it trying to just get out of Scarborough (West of Vic Park).

    5. NONE of the Metrolinx board lives in poverty, none of them are physically disabled, nor do they really listen to the so called accessibility advisory committee (same with TTC). People with disabilities are an afterthought to most of society.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I remember only too well when the “Zone System” was eliminated. I lived in Northern Etobicoke and took the Islington 37 to the subway whereupon I “sometimes” paid another fair. Students did not have to pay for Zone 2, but only if the transfer to or from Zone 2 was before 4:30 and only on a weekday. On Saturdays – adult tickets for me – though the Zone Fare was mitigated because I bought combo tickets – Zone 1 on one side and Zone 2 on the other – at a discount. Boy, were we pleased when the Zone System was eliminated.

    I think what contributed to the feeling of unfairness at that times that the Zones were arbitrarily divided between the old City of Toronto and what is now called the inner suburbs. It wasn’t fare by distance – it was paying for the privilege of crossing City Limits. I have no recollection or knowledge about who paid for the Metropolitan Toronto portion of the TTC at that time or the distribution between tax support from the old City and Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, York and East York.

    What I do remember is that at that time the TTC had the highest per capita ridership of any transit system in North America and was the third largest behind MTA and CTA. We were pretty proud of that.

    It seems, that over the years, the underfunded TTC has still remained a pretty good transit system. In fact, in its cash starved existence it has been able to enhance service the inner suburbs, though not, I think, commensurate with the growth in those areas. I recently took the 37B to the Woodbine Racetrack and was favourably impressed by the service level. It easily eclipsed my memories of service in the 70’s.

    Where we went wrong was a regional problem coupled with a changing suburban demographic. Instead of building on the TTC’s relative success in our inner suburbs, when we built the outer suburbs we did not include transit at all. This may have been due to the fact that while our inner suburbs were populated by no car or one car families, the outer suburbs had one car for every person. Also, as you have pointed out the crescents, cut de sacs and obscure low density travel patterns did not help.

    Now Metrolinx is trying to overlay a pricing model that might be appropriate in an older city such as London or Paris. However, our “Zone 6” is not the same and transit usage is really low.

    When I envisage Fare by Distance (FBD) I like to think of a trip from Scarborough costing the same as today and a 2 km. trip on the King Car costing less. Mike Harris seemed to believe that when he amalgamated Toronto (against our wishes) that the employees would end up accepting the lowest level of wages from the former municipalities across the board. One of those beliefs has been shown to be naive and ill-informed. Probably both of them are.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Looking at the “Principle: Generalized Cost” slide, it’s clearly not based on actual numbers.

    The Regional line should be very choppy. If your source and destination are close to the stations, it’s better travel time. If not, you actually have a longer trip due to the need to double back a few kilometres.

    Looking at the “Principle: Large/Small Zones” slide, could they be more general? “Both large and small zones are widely used throughout the world”?!? All the possible types of fares are widely used throughout the world (except possibly ‘free local fares’).

    Looking at the “Fare by Distance Approaches” slide, you realise what the desired Fare Integration is: geographic zones. Is there any reason that a region-wide flat fare can’t have rapid transit?

    Steve said:

    The Metrolinx Board should reject this proposal and demand that it be reworked to better explain its implications beyond the level of “principles”, and state clearly how it will actually affect riders with dollars and cents examples. Anything less is an abdication of the Board’s responsibility.

    I can definitely say that ‘third-party consultants’ aren’t given a free hand or a blank slate to work with. There is always policy direction that leads the reports (and the analysis is developed in such a way as to promote the preferred choice). When that policy direction isn’t clear, the analysis needs to be equally muddy to allow Metrolinx to make-up their minds later down the road.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. @Kevin Richardson,

    Specific examples do give a clearer picture, but the selection of specific examples allows for the glass to be tinted rosy. For example, if I wanted to make “local” distance-based transit look good, I give a short 1-2 stop example. If I want to make “regional” zonal-based transit look good, I give a long example that’s need the outer edges of each zone. Also, the largest lack is what proportion of riders would use each type. Does everyone just pay more, or do some riders subsidize others more? What is the actual intent? Making “inter-zonal” travel easier or increasing overall transit ridership?


  21. Can’t help thinking in terms of TfL, and that the intent here is a TfT. Keep in mind that TfL includes all transport including roads. TTC might break down eventually into a tendered subway, streetcar and several bus ‘franchises’ (groups of routes), combining MiWay and YRT etc,

    To integrate GO requires the separation of parking so users pay a zone (distance) based fare, plus parking if they wish. Making parking charges visible may well reduce parking demand, and encourage feeder bus development. Furthernore, separating parking would bring GO fares closer to current TTC.

    The idea of paying less for a slower service encourages riders onto a vehicle that, because of its slow speed, costs (vehicle, fuel and driver cost) more. Fast and slow should be same fare, incentivizing the rider to take the faster (and cheaper to the operator) option. That is why TTC’s express bus, at same fare, is an excellent but obvious service.

    As for GO service, I am reminded of a morning commute from St. Albans to London, a 20 minute non stop journey at mostly 100mph, crammed beyond anything on TTC, whereas GO aims to seat most riders. This is a luxury, and represents a significant hidden extra capacity which should be used, or we need higher standards on (TTC) buses and subways. Compare the night and day difference between GO and TTC buses!

    Zones should reflect distance, with Toronto zone 1 say Eglinton, Dufferin and Don, with zone 2 stretching to Sheppard. Zones need not reflect municipal boundaries. All services, including GO should charge the same zonal fares.

    Presto should charge the lowest possible fare based on the users’ actual route,

    Fare increases should be a Metrolinx task for entire GTHA, yearly. Increasing fares for crossing zones (that are currently free) should be spread over several years.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This presentation is so full of vague generalizations and contradictory statements that it’s hard to get a true sense of which way the wind is blowing. Faster service should demand higher fares — except “fares for different service types should be comparable when the services serve the same market.” And “travel Time based fares are variable and unpredictable and are not being investigated further” — except for the possibility of a region-wide “local” fare, which would presumably be implemented as some sort of a time-based transfer.

    If I may speculate: They’ll ultimately propose something as depicted in Concept 3. For a base fare of about $3, you’ll be able to go as far as you want on any local bus or streetcar (including TTC/YRT/MiWay connections). For the same base fare, you’ll also be able to go about 10 km on subway/RT/crosstown. A second fare tier of about $5 becomes the minimum fare for GO train/bus/RER/smarttrack, and gets you up to 20 km on any combination of services. Trips >20 km are tiered by zone or distance.

    I don’t believe GO will ever allow a $3 flat fare for travel on any of their trains within the 416, including SmartTrack. For SmartTrack to cost the same as the subway, subway fares will need to rise, at least for longer distance trips.

    Of course, this will not please those who take the position that there should continue to be a flat fare within the city of Toronto. Someone commuting from Malvern to the core pays more. Someone commuting from Mississauga to Etobicoke likely pays less. I empathize with many of the arguments in favour of a flat Toronto wide fare. However, I will also note that poverty does not stop at the 416/905 boundary, and that a fare concept like this would remedy some of the injustices around that line on the map.

    Steve: If Queen’s Park showed any sign of contributing money to transit operations, one might argue that the 416/905 boundary is meaningless as far as fares (and service) go. However, the TTC operating subsidy is paid almost entirely by the City of Toronto taxpayers. We don’t even want to help our own poor.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Given that this is exactly as bad as I predicted, I am finding it a challenge to come up with an adequately cynical response…

    But I think ultimately our excellent mayor will come out in support of this, as nothing else will make it possible for “SmartTrack” to operate at “TTC” fares.

    Steve: I think that is a major piece, unstated, of what is happening here. Finding a model that integrates SmartTrack with more revenue than just making it another TTC route. Tory will have a lot of explaining to do when folks in Scarborough discover that their ride downtown won’t be as cheap as they expected.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This idea of charging more for taking the subway or a rapid LRT line is a poor one, for all the reasons other people have stated. I guess one reason why Metrolinx might propose it is that it might divert people from taking subways and, therefore, reduce the need to build new subways, such as the relief line. But, forcing people to take longer to travel anywhere by persuading them to take buses instead is a losing proposition in the long-run as, as other people have stated, it will not create a more productive work force or bring better employees, jobs and businesses to Toronto.

    Hands-down it is unfair that people who simply cross a municipal border have to pay more for a transit fare. The solution is to have medium-sized zones and to allow people to travel anywhere within 2 zones for a regular fare but an additional half a fare for a third zone, and perhaps an additional 3/4 fare for 4 zones, and so on upwards. An extra dollar above the fare based on zones travelled should be charged for GO trains as they are obviously a premium service.

    The following zones would make sense:

    Central Toronto – south of Lawrence, east of Humber and generally west of Victoria Park or Don Valley Parkway
    North York – remainder of Toronto north of Lawrence, west of Vic Park and east of Humber
    Eastern Mississauga
    Western Mississauga
    Thornhill/Richmond Hill
    Pickering Ajax

    In this way, a person in Western Mississauga could travel to Etobicoke for just one fare, but would pay the extra 1/2 fare for a trip to the Central Toronto zone (downtown).

    A person in Richmond Hill could travel to North York could for a regular fare but an extra 1/2 fare would be needed to go the Central Toronto.

    The only fare within the present Toronto that would require the extra half fare would be to go from Etobicoke to Scarborough, or vice-versa. That seems fine to me as that is a long trip.

    Your Presto Card would automatically charge you for the regular fare trips within the home zone where you buy the Card (an address would be registered) and any adjacent zone. If you travel to a third zone that would be an additional charge on your “monthly” Presto card purchase, unless you bought a three-zone monthly card at the start of the month.

    I think this plan would make a lot of sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Bottom line, I really believe that the issue with charging more of longer trips, is that you are at the margin encouraging more car use, and increasing the disadvantage of those who are stretched to meet this cost. While I appreciate the concept of marginal costs associated with longer trips, on the subway it only really applies if the trip involves an area where the system is capacity constrained. So would it not make more sense to charge for trips that required a transit through say Yonge/Bloor? During the morning rush the marginal costs of extra riders from Keele to Kipling is trivial, as is the cost from say Eglinton to FInch. However from Rosedale to Wellesley at say 8:10, well that is a different story, the cost of one more rider, is very high, even though it is a very short trip, you must displace or delay another rider to make that trip (whereas the same trip the other way well is nearly free for the system). The distance is not the real issue.

    I would say, if you are using multiple systems, then yes, there needs to be care taken, so that tax payers from one municipality are not carrying the freight for another, however, this is also what Provincial transfers are about. Creating a complex fare system within Toronto, will likely increase costs, and have many unforeseen effects, many of which will not be positive.


  26. Transit fares should be set up like no fault insurance, where your vehicle’s insurance company pays for the damage to your vehicle no matter who was at fault. Translated to transit, that means that the municipality where the fare originates should collect the proceeds of all local fares (Subway, LRT, buses, SmartTrack) through all jurisdictions.

    For example, if a “local” trip begins in York Region and ends in up Toronto, then York Region will the initial fare. On the return trip, the reverse will be true where Toronto will collect the initial fare. This will eliminate the need to double charge a commuter for travelling across municipal boundaries.

    For trips on GO buses and GO trains, the existing fares will remain. Therefore, when a trip is a blend of GO and local service, the the revenue will be split between the province (GO) and the “first” municipality where the local service was boarded.

    It is futile to try to collect the revenues for “each trip” to a every municipality. Since most people use transit for round trips, the municipalities will be fairly compensated at the end of each day since the fare box credits and debits will offset each other.

    This approach will work for most situations. We shouldn’t worry about the exceptions where a commuter travels via local service between 3 municipalities. The second municipality will not get their cut of the proceeds, but that should be very rare.

    Finally, a modest price adjustment may be needed to make up for loss in overall revenues since commuters will no longer be double charged. This can be achieved by paying a “premium” for trips that occur in whole, or in part, during rush hour periods (7 am to 9 am, 4 pm to 6 pm)


  27. We really need to somehow boost transit; and I’m thinking this might be far more of a shift and shaft move than actually setting the stages for increased use. Going beyond merely the fares to overall mobility costs should occur – specifically how well cars are subsidized and otherwise avoid their full costs. An older Vancouver study reference Jan. 10, 1996 Globe found these car costs/subsidies were a full SEVEN times higher than what was given to transit, which is often a fairly easily found target/line item. So if we actually had more user pay for the vehicles, including say a 4 cent a litre health care tax, and maybe a drainage tax for the asphalt, maybe we’d have less worry about what fares were devolving to. Except of course, the less-dense areas of the GTA are not only subsidized, but they tend to outvote the denser areas so at least the Liberals will be tilted to the votorists, and we see the same issues within Toronto with the older suburbs keeping the denser core in a prone and paying position, along with ‘caronic’ denial of subsidies to cars.


  28. This fundamental assumption that service costs are directly proportional to distance are just plain wrong. An additional rider on the king streetcar in peak hours between Spadina and Yonge has a far greater marginal cost than an additional subway rider on the Sheppard line. It essentially costs “nothing” to allow one extra person on an empty bus. Why is there such insistence on distance based fares rather than congestion pricing if we are aiming or “fairness”?

    Secondly how can you blur the municipal boundaries when the funding sources of the different agencies come mostly from the local residents? Toronto property tax funds the TTC so why should a non Toronto resident pay the same fare as a Toronto resident who additionally pays for the TTC through taxes? Especially if that extra passenger pushes the service to capacity. I’m not against fare integration but there cannot be a disparity between funding sources of the different agencies unless the separate municipalities can somehow accurately balance out the service and availability costs.

    Thirdly without an equivalent change in road pricing a change in fare structure will be a disincentive to take transit. It’s still unclear what problems Metrolinx are trying to solve with these changes. It’s skipping the first steps of any fundamental decision making process: root cause analysis, defining the problem, defining metrics to measure the problem, generate alternatives and evaluate their effectiveness bases on those metrics. Metrolinx seems to be blindly chasing a solution without any exploration of the actual “problem”.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I think a simple zoned system with relatively large zones could work well to address the actual problems (penalizing short cross-border trips). However, the base fare would buy you travel across two zones. Toronto would be set up with the greater core area as one zone, and then a series of zones radiating around it. Maybe 3 big ones, or perhaps 4. But there would be one full zone between the 416/905 border and the greater core area.

    Commuters from 416 would still get downtown with one fare, with the added benefit that they could now also get to the first zone in their neighbouring 905 municipality for one fare as well, effectively opening up the job market a little bit more.

    Core-bound trips originating in the 905 would have to touch at least 3 zones, so would still have to pay a premium for a longer trip.

    Does this make sense? I think I’ve seen it in practice, but I’m not much of a fare policy expert.


  30. Steve writes

    … as a matter of municipal policy, we are trying to use transit to improve access to jobs, education and other major parts of urban life without requiring that people spend a fortune to do this.

    Not to mention to do something about crippling gridlock. Have any of these provincial experts realized that convoluted high prices are not going to attract people to transit? I was originally mildly in favor of fare by mode if the implementation was as simple as other cities (Boston, Philly etc) but this is fare by mode _and_ distance. Stupid. It’s worth noting that in the cities the price difference is not extreme for rapid/local service and since all rapid service is flat fare it’s easy to know what your fare is and inner burb riders are not gouged. I thought fare by mode could be a lesser evil, since it would levy the price increase on short and long haul riders. Clearly Metrolinx has certain prices in mind for certain trips and has made up some after-the-fact nice sounding descriptions of how their mystics came to these prices.

    It would be one thing if all the new money was going to new vehicles new lines and better service (sooner than 2025), but it’s paying more for the same. The price hike will occur years before the improved service, if it ever occurs at all. This will definitely keep people in their cars.


  31. It looks like the people at Metrolinx don’t know the history of local transit in and around Toronto. For over 100 years there have been zones of one sort or another. Within the zone you could travel on a single fare regardless of distance. What has changed is where the boundaries are. Have they never seen the pictures with the vast number of streetcars on Yonge Street before the subway was built? That indicates that the Yonge subway was built in part to solve problems with local transit.(The northernmost stop was at Eglinton, not Glen Echo, the city’s northern boundary.)


  32. So I’ve read the Board presentation in detail and a few more things became clear.

    There are three ‘fare structure concepts’ that will be carried forward:

    1. Local flat-fares + distance-based non-local
    2. Zone-based long-distance/rapid fares
    3. “Hybrid”

    Refining the ‘fare structures’ by service categories, zone size and design, price structure, and transfer policies.

    • Time-based transfers were thrown out as ‘variable and unpredictable’ along with time-based fares.
    • Region-wide flat fares are thrown out as they ‘do not reflect value of longer trips’.

    Steve: There is a bit of sophistry in the Metrolinx argument about “time based” fares. They say that time-based transfers could be implemented (as they already are in much of the 905), but somehow this is different from a time based fare which they seem to be interpreting as a metered trip value based on elapsed time. This deliberate misrepresentation means that an important component of a “flat” fare structure is not part of their discussion.

    Some of their basic “principles” are contradictory:

    • “For customer convenience and efficient use of the available network, fares for different service types should be comparable when the services serve the same market.”
    • But “Where there is a significant difference in travel time, fares should be lower for slower service types than for faster service types”.
    • Also, “To provide integrated use of the network, fares should not penalise trips that require the use of multiple service types”.

    Steve: This piece of double-speak (or is it triple-speak?) is a good example of the woolly thinking at Metrolinx. Each statement by itself is reasonable, but in combination they don’t work and serve only to provide a reference point for just about any fare scheme they might come up with.

    Smart Track is grouped with RER as “Regional Transit”, so it’s assumed at GO fares, not TTC ‘local’.

    Note: GO “long distance” fares aren’t being changed.

    Base Case: GO ‘flat’ fare for short and medium and increases for long distance; TTC et al. flat plus a high inter-system transfer* (TTC and everyone else).

    • Option 1: Lower GO ‘flat’ fare for short trips, increasing, but cheaper price by distance for medium fares; Lower inter-system transfer cost; higher base fare for all local trips.
    • Option 2: Lower short for local; GO fares at local levels for short and medium trips; long distance lower than current TTC+inter-system. Note: this option is operationally impossible unless all the price reductions are underwritten with new subsidy as no prices are higher than current.
    • Option 3: Compared to Option 1 the definition of GO ‘short’ fares is expanded to middle of ‘medium’, but the increase in costs of medium distances is faster to meet normal long-distance fares; ‘rapid’ transit is priced at the same as local transit for short trips, and same rate of increase as GO ‘medium’ trips for anything longer.

    From the introductory text and the general arrangement of options provided, it’s clear that Option 3 will be the recommendation. Using their Chart from slide 6, a ‘short’ trip would be under 6km; and a medium trip would be 6-16km.

    This ‘hybrid’ system seems like it will create new barriers, namely at price inflection point distances. Smart Track would be at “GO prices”, which would match “TTC Rapid prices” for distances around 10km to 16km (equal to a double TTC fare at 10km, and “TTC prices” increasing from double to the 16km point).

    For comparison, to the East:

    • From Union on the TTC, 6km is between Chester & Pape (on Bloor-Danforth); 10km is Main; 16km is Kennedy Rd (not the actual station at 16.2km).
    • From Union on GO Stouffville, 6km is between Greenwood (5.6km) and Coxwell (6.4km); 10km is between Victoria Park (9.4km) and Warden (10.6km); and 16km is Kennedy.
    • From Union on GO Lakeshore East, 6km is between Greenwood (5.6km) and Coxwell (6.4km); 10km is between Victoria Park (9.4km) and Warden (10.6km); and 16km is east of McCowan (16.2km).

    To the North-East:

    • From Union on the TTC, 6km is short of Davisville Station; 10km is between Lawrence and Wilson; 16km is to Finch (15.5km) or west of Bessarion (16.2km).

    To the North-West:

    • From Union on the TTC, 6km is St. Clair; 10km is south of Lawrence (10.6km); 16km is east of Downsview Park Station (16.4km).
    • From Union on GO Barrie, 6km is between Dundas (5.4km) and Bloor (6.3km); 10km is south of Eglinton (10.4km); and Wilson (14.6km) and Sheppard (17.5km).
    • From Union on GO Kitchener, 6km is south of Bloor Station (6.6km); 10km is south of Eglinton (10.4km); and 16km is Kennedy.

    To the West:

    • From Union on the TTC, 6km is east of Dufferin (6.4km); 10km is west of Runnymede (9.9km); 16km is west of Kipling (15.3km).
    • From Union on GO Milton, 6km is south of Bloor Station (6.6km); 10km is east of Jane (10.2km); and 16km is west of Kipling (15.5km).
    • From Union on GO Kitchener, 6km is south of Bloor Station (6.6km); 10km is at Rogers Rd / south of Eglinton (11.0km); and 16km is east of Islington (16.7km).
    • From Union on GO Lakeshore West, 6km is east of Parkside (6.2km); 10km is east of Royal York (10.8km); and 16km is east of Dixie (16.4km).

    Steve: This is precisely the sort of sample calculation Metrolinx should have provided in their report as an example of what happens when specific values are plugged into their formulae. The implications for TTC riders are horrendous.

    Either they don’t understand what they are doing, or they are deliberately hiding the effects.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I understand why Metrolinx should have it’s own fare policy, but I don’t understand why it would apply to the TTC (except for SmartTrack), unless Metrolinx was planning to meaningfully subsidize TTC service. Am I missing something? What could Metrolinx do to make the TTC adopt a regional fare policy?


  34. @Jonathan,

    Metrolinx has a lot of leverage with the TTC directly and indirectly. They hold the purse strings for many major capital projects. They can have the TTC subsidy from Queen’s Park adjusted. They can make the TTC ‘look bad’ by advertising how they are the only regional transit system that doesn’t play well with others. They can unilaterally shut down SmartTrack plans.


  35. Hopefully there will finally be a Co-fare with GO and TTC so I don’t have to pay the full TTC fare before or after using GO train.

    Steve: This is long overdue, but GO has always resisted the extra subsidy this would require.


  36. Flat fare systemwide is unmanageable, as it provides too much subsidy for sprawl. Charging more for GO than for TTC in the same area is highly undesirable. There will have to be a different system. So far a lot of proposals seem poor.

    Zones would be a viable method. They don’t seem to have proposed a zone system (which is what Denver uses now and is similar to what London uses). It would be perhaps most obvious to go with one zone for each municipality (sorry, Halton to Mississaugua customers); it would certainly make it easier to assign the revenues and costs to municipalities, and make it easier to avoid Toronto cross-subsidizing the other municipalities.


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