TTC Replies to Fare Zone and Subway Premium Proposals

An obvious question about the Metrolinx Fare Integration Strategy update is whether the TTC has quietly adopted a new fare policy to suit Metrolinx.

I asked:

The Metrolinx Regional Fare Integration report on their board’s agenda for Wednesday clearly leads the way for fare zones at least on the subway within the TTC system.

There have been rumblings of this from management comments at TTC, but nothing definitive. However, the installation of fare gates with tap out capability is a clear preparation for such a change. While this might be part of the TYSSE roll out, the wider application of zoned fares (or some equivalent) within the TTC has never been a matter for public debate or decision as far as I know.

Has this matter been presented to the Commission for discussion, or are there plans to do so in the near future?

What is the TTC’s position on the Metrolinx fare integration proposals?

The TTC’s Deputy CEO, Chris Upfold, replied:

The TTC[s] sit on the various Steering Working groups for regional fare integration and I feel our voice is well heard there.

As per our report to the Board on Fare Policy TTC staff are not undertaking any more work on fare by distance or by zone within the boundaries of Toronto on service operated by the TTC. We do not feel it is an appropriate or useful policy direction in those circumstances but are working with Metrolinx on how it could work from a regional basis.

Our board has passed a number of motions, over just the few years I’ve been here, that any regional integration must not come at the expense of the TTC or our customers.

Faregates are being rolled out at subway stations for a number of reasons but primarily:

  1. The integration with a legacy turnstile with a new reader wasn’t the best technical solution and caused lots of other potential problems.
  2. The legacy turnstile (especially high gates) are nearing the end of their life and we were likely to need a wholesale replacement in the next 10 years or so.
  3. Overall the whole life cost (over 20 years) was much lower for installing new faregates.
  4. New faregates are higher capacity (and far more flexible) and do things like real time fault reporting etc.

Tap in and out functionality is necessary for the TYSSE in order to manage regional integration on how fare policy sits today. Faregates (with readers on both sides) would help to enable any zonal/distance based system.

Now it is up to Metrolinx to explain how their proposal meshes with the TTC’s stated position.