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TTC, Metrolinx discuss fare integration at joint meeting Wednesday

CityNews | posted Thursday, Apr 28th, 2016

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The new Yonge line platform at Union station is much larger than the old one, which is narrowest on the entire system. CITYNEWS/Diana Pereira.

For the first time, TTC and Metrolinx officials sat down in the same room for a historic meeting many hope will lead to integrated transit fares.

Currently, commuters who take public transit into or out of the city from neighbouring municipalities – such as Vaughan or Markham – have to pay two full fares.

According to Metrolinx, early estimates suggest that a discounted or free cross-boundary fare may result in three to six million new cross-boundary transit trips yearly.

The issue of pay double fares also exists for GO Transit users who, often times, have to jump on the TTC to get to work. Changing to a discounted or free transfer could generate an estimated 700,000 to two million new transit trips annually.

The implementation of fare integration is essential to the success of Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack plan, according to a city staff report from last month.

“The viability of SmartTrack as an urban transit service is highly dependent on the integration of fares between GO transit and TTC, and fares being priced competitively,” the report reads.

There are many issues both the TTC and Metrolinx will consider before implementing a new fare structure including customer impact, the practicality of implementing this system and the financial sustainability of fare integration.

A public consultation on fare integration is expected to take place in May and June.

The joint meeting will take place 6 p.m. at 97 Front Street West and will be live streamed.

PRESTO Implementation and LRT updates, including the Eglinton Crosstown and Finch West projects, were also on the meeting’s agenda.

Last year, TTC and GO transit started a fare integration pilot project where TTC Metropass holders coule purchase a GO monthly sticker for $60 that would allow unlimited travel on Lakeshore trains between Exhibition, Union and Danforth GO stations as well as the Stouffville train between Union and Danforth. The fare integration proposal being discussed Wednesday would expand to stations outside the GTA.

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