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TTC and YRT review fare policies, survey passengers

Page-Banner_TTC-and-YRT-Fare-Policy-Review.jpgThe TTC and York Region Transit are working to develop a new 5-Year Fare Policy and 10-Year Fare Collection Outlook.

As part of this process, the two transit agencies are reviewing opportunities to change and improve the way passengers pay their fares, including fare options, pricing and cross-boundary travel. The TTC and YRT intend to “improve the overall passenger experience” and create a simple and consistent fare system for both agencies.

The TTC and YRT want to hear from their passengers. You can provide your feedback by participating in a five-to-ten-minute survey by:

  • completing the survey on-line; or
  • telephoning 1-833-949-3273.

5-Year Fare Policy

The key objective is to develop a complete fare policy that considers all fare options, including zero-fare to full-cost recovery. The work will identify policy goals such as equity, affordability, revenue and ridership. It will also identify limits and opportunities in the current fare structure that effect fare policy decision-making.

10-Year Fare Collection Outlook

The key objective is to develop a fare-collection outlook over a 10-year period that will achieve policy goals and objectives. Creating the 10-Year Fare Collection Outlook will follow whatever direction the 5-Year Fare Policy provides. While reviewing the current fare-collection model, the two transit agencies or their contractors will also research industry trends and best practices. They will also look how they can improve their practices, procedures and policies.

Next steps

The TTC is developing the 5-Year Fare Policy and 10-Year Fare Collection Outlook in three phases over the course of a year. It expects to complete the work by the end of 2021.

Phase 1: Situation Analysis

The situation snalysis involves researching fare policies around the world. This research will help to inform future fare products, structure and pricing.

Phase 2: Future Direction

The second phase involves creating a fare-policy statement, resulting from the Situation Analysis. A range of policy goals will aim to address important factors such as affordability, equity, fare integration (cross-boundary travel), revenue and ridership.

Phase 3: Implementation

This final phase will outline the preferred fare structure, fare products and pricing. The 5-Year Fare Policy will also include an implementation plan with action steps for the next five years. This includes forecasting revenue and ridership impacts and a plan for monitoring and evaluating the changes to make sure they are acheiving goals.


Phase 1:

  • Ongoing until February 2021.
  • Includes the on-line and telephone survey.
  • Includes focus groups which begin in February 2021.

Phases 2 and 3:

  • From April until September 2021.
  • Surveys and focus groups throughout 2021.
  • Virtual town halls April until May and July 2021, providing another opportunity for passengers to provide feedback.


TTC staff, with the support of external consultants with extensive expertise and background in the developing multi-year fare policies and fare-collection models will complete the two plans.

With a farebox recovery ratio of 67 percent, fare revenue is particularly important to the TTC. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of TTC riders has decreased significantly, impacting revenue with a deficit of about $90 million per month. The 5-Year Fare Policy and 10-Year Fare Collection outlook will help the TTC adapt to these changing circumstances and make sure fares appropriately reflect passengers needs and encourage more riders in the future. This work is timely as it addresses the gaps in the current fare structure and the potential lasting impacts of COVID-19 on overall ridership.

The 5-Year Fare Policy also supports the agency;s goal of switching to multi-year financial planning by providing a longer-term view of fare changes and guiding the annual budget process.

According to a TTC staff report, since 2012, the TTC has had an agreement with Metrolinx for the PRESTO fare-card system, with the contract ending in 2027. The agreement also has an option to extend for one more year at Metrolinx’s discretion and an additional four more years by mutual agreement. The agencies implemented this system by considering fare structures and fare-collection models that were operating before they started using PRESTO. The TTC did not have a comprehensive fare strategy that clearly defined goals, which, over time, has shown some limitations in addressing passenger needs. Delays in implementing critical functions, including open payments, have further limited passengers fare choices and new fare policies.

The TTC says it’s continuing to work with PRESTO in the interim on upgrading and modernizing the TTC’s fare-collection system, including open payments. However, the 5-Year Fare Policy and 10-Year Fare Collection Outlook must inform any major proposals to change the way it collects fares.

According to the TTC, it’s committed to collaborating with its Greater Toronto Area transit partners as a part of the fare-policy and -collection strategy. It already operates a number of cross-boundary services, including the Line 1 subway extension into York Region. The TTC continues to discuss with neighbouring transit agencies and Metrolinx to integrating fares.

YRT is working with the TTC with a goal of achieving fare- and service-integration between both agencies. The TTC will also continue to engage with other neighbouring transit partners, including Brampton Transit, MiWay, Durham Region Transit and GO Transit. This collaboration will inform the development of fare policy goals and objectives, and will help take a step towards achieving broader fare and service integration across the region.

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