Ontario has announced a new transit fare integration program for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that will allow commuters to travel across different transit agencies with a single fare. The program, called One Fare, will launch on Feb. 26 and will save the average commuter who uses two transit agencies about $1,600 per year.
How One Fare works
One Fare is a provincial subsidy program that will cover the cost of the second fare when a commuter transfers between any of the following transit agencies: GO Transit, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Brampton Transit, Durham Region Transit, MiWay and York Region Transit. For example, if a commuter takes a GO train from Brampton to Toronto and then transfers to a TTC subway, they will only pay the GO fare and the TTC fare will be waived. Similarly, if a commuter takes a TTC bus from Scarborough to Markham and then transfers to a York Region Transit bus, they will only pay the TTC fare and the York Region Transit fare will be waived.
One Fare will apply to both Presto card users and cash-paying customers. Presto card users will need to tap their card when they board and exit each transit vehicle, and the system will automatically deduct the correct fare. Cash-paying customers will need to show their proof of payment (such as a transfer or a receipt) when they board the second transit vehicle, and the driver will let them ride for free.
Why One Fare is needed
One Fare is a response to the long-standing issue of fare integration in the GTA, where commuters often have to pay multiple fares when they travel across different transit agencies. This creates a financial barrier and a disincentive for people to use public transit, especially for those who live or work in the suburban areas. According to the province, about 50,000 commuters per day pay two fares to travel within the GTA.
One Fare is also a part of the province’s plan to build a seamless and integrated regional transit network in the GTA, which includes the expansion of GO Transit, the construction of four new subway lines, and the improvement of bus rapid transit services. The province says that One Fare will make public transit more affordable, accessible, and convenient for commuters, and will also reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
What One Fare means for commuters
One Fare will bring significant savings and benefits for commuters who use two transit agencies to travel within the GTA. The province estimates that the average commuter will save about $1,600 per year, or about $30 per week, with One Fare. For some commuters, the savings could be even higher. For example, a commuter who travels from Oshawa to Toronto using Durham Region Transit and GO Transit will save about $2,500 per year, or about $48 per week, with One Fare.
One Fare will also make public transit more attractive and competitive for commuters, as it will reduce the travel time and cost compared to driving. For example, a commuter who drives from Brampton to Toronto during peak hours spends about 66 minutes and $16.50 per trip, while a commuter who takes GO Transit and TTC with One Fare spends about 54 minutes and $10.20 per trip. One Fare will also encourage commuters to explore more transit options and destinations within the GTA, as they will not have to worry about paying extra fares.
How One Fare is funded
One Fare is a fully funded provincial program that will cost $67 million in the first year to implement. The province says that it will cover the entire cost of the second fare for each commuter, and will reimburse the transit agencies for the lost revenue. The province says that it will monitor the program’s performance and ridership impact, and will adjust the funding accordingly in the future.
One Fare is a part of the province’s $28.5 billion transit plan for the GTA, which is the largest investment in public transit in the province’s history. The province says that it is committed to working with the federal government, the municipal governments, and the transit agencies to deliver the transit plan and to improve the transit service and experience for commuters.