[URBAN NOTE] "Metrolinx ponders distance-based transit fares for all passengers in the Toronto regio
The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr describes a Metrolinx proposal I am strongly opposed to. What about people who have long commutes? What about people on low incomes? What happens to the ideal of an integrated city if cost is introduced as a disintegrating factor?
How much should it cost to ride the TTC? According to a new policy under consideration by the province’s regional transit agency, it should depend on how far you travel.
Metrolinx, the provincial organization that oversees transit for the GTHA, is considering a fare model for the area’s transit operators that would see all passengers on buses, streetcars, subways, and GO Transit pay by distance.
A report on the issue will be discussed at Friday’s Metrolinx board meeting, as part of its ongoing fare integration project that aims to standardize the pricing policies of GO and the region’s nine municipal transit agencies.
The fare-by-distance model was made public Tuesday, and joins three other proposals that were already under consideration.
“It would be system-wide and be a very major dramatic change,” said Leslie Woo, chief planning officer for Metrolinx, “but it would enable greater consistency in fares (across the region) and it would better reflect the cost of the length of the trip.”
Woo said more work needs to be done to determine which model is best.
The three original options are: a modified version of the status quo that would provide discounts for riders crossing between the TTC and GO; a zone-based system that would charge riders more for crossing defined boundaries; and a hybrid that would have a flat rate for local bus travel but charge by distance or zone for subways and regional rail.