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Free rides for a year for some Toronto condo buyers

“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”, but, thanks to Toronto City Council, some new condo buyers may get free TTC rides for a year.

At its meeting on Friday, December 4, Council approved a policy requiring the builders of new condominiums in some parts of the city to supply monthly TTC passes to each unit in their buildings for year.

The new policy means that developers must agree to buy Metropasses for any new building with more than 20 units in most of downtown Toronto and other areas — or Council won’t allow them to build.

Developers can buy passes in bulk from the TTC at a discount. They, in turn, can also receive a tax credit from the federal government for buying the passes. But they can’t add the cost of the passes to buyers of the new units.

More important, the new policy supports a major goal of the City’s official plan to encourage more people to travel by transit throughout the City. If the policy successfully lures more people to regularly using the TTC, the City may also expand it to other areas of the city or for longer terms.

The policy applies to all new condo developments with more than 20 units in several areas of Toronto:

  • the Downtown planning area: roughly bounded by the Toronto Terminal Railway tracks (just south of Front Street), Bathurst Street, the Canadian Pacific Railway’s North Toronto subdivision tracks (just north of Dupont Street), Yonge Street, Aylmer Avenue, the Rosedale Valley Road and the Don River.
  • the Central Waterfront planning area: roughly south of the Toronto Terminal Railway tracks between Dufferin Street and the Don, and the area south of Lake Shore Boulevard East, east of Leslie Street.
  • four “Centres” which the Official Plan targets for transit-oriented development: the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area in North Toronto; in North York, along Yonge Street between Cummer and Drewry Avenues and Highway 401, in Scarborough, roughly the area bounded by Ellesmere Road, Brimley Road, Highway 401 and Bellamy Road; and in Etobicoke, roughly the area bounded by Bloor and Dundas Streets West and Islington Avenue and an area along Dundas West between Kipling Avenue and Shorncliffe Road.
  • along various “Avenues” throughout the City where the official plan encourages growth, including streets such as Bloor Street, Danforth Avenue, Lake Shore Boulevard West, the Queensway and Kingston Road.

You can see a map of how the official plan identifies the Downtown and Central Waterfront areas, the four “centres” and the “Avenues” here. (1.6 MB .pdf)

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