The Ontario Budget announced on March 23, 2023, includes a commitment, sort of, to reducing cross-border fares for trips into Toronto.
And we are making transit more affordable by eliminating double fares for most local transit services in the Greater Golden Horseshoe when commuters also use GO Transit services. Our government is working to expand this initiative to support more people commuting into Toronto. [emphasis added]
Ontario Budget 2023, Minister’s Forward
In more detail, the main part of the budget states:
Making It Easier and More Affordable to Take Transit
As Ontario families continue to look at managing costs, the government is helping put more money in their pockets with affordable transit options. The government has made it more affordable, easier and more convenient for families and workers to travel across the Greater Golden Horseshoe by eliminating double fares for most local transit when using GO Transit services. This means that after riders pay their fare for a GO bus or train, they do not pay again when accessing most local transit services in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The government has also increased PRESTO discounts for youth and postsecondary students and continues to provide more riders with more options and convenient ways to pay.
This GO Transit co‐fare discount applies to the following transit systems: Durham Region Transit, Milton Transit, Grand River Transit, Guelph Transit, Oakville Transit, MiWay (Mississauga Transit), Brampton Transit, Hamilton Street Railway, Burlington Transit, Bradford West Gwillimbury Transit, York Region Transit and Barrie Transit. The government is working to expand this initiative to support more people using public transit to come into Toronto. [emphasis added]Ontario Budget 2023, p 77
Two examples are given of fare savings, but both of these refer to transfers between local transit systems outside of Toronto, not to the TTC.
In the legislature, the Minister of Finance said:
“We have eliminated double fares when taking GO Transit and local transit throughout much of the Greater Golden Horseshoe — and we are expanding this initiative to include Toronto, so a commuter coming into the city only pays on one fare per trip, saving them money each way.” [emphasis added]As quoted in the Toronto Star
The operative words here are “for most local transit services” with the emphasis on “most”.
Eliminating double fares for most local transit services in the Greater Golden Horseshoe when commuters also use GO Transit services. The government is working to expand this initiative to support more people using public transit come in to Toronto. [emphasis added]Budget Highlights backgrounder
It is unclear whether the added discounts will apply to all TTC fares including those for GO-TTC trips, or only to 905-416 cross-boundary trips, or even to any TTC leg of a journey. Notable by its absence is any reference to GO-TTC trips within Toronto.
This has all the makings of an announcement that is a lot less in practice than it appears on the surface. I have written to the Ministry of Transportation seeking clarification. Stay tuned for updates.