If you are a commuter from Brampton who regularly relies on GO Transit, you may want to hang onto your seat because commuting could get a lot more expensive soon.
The Ford Government announced last week that it’s cutting a subsidy that allows discounted fares for GO Transit when users are transferring from the TTC in the same trip.
The discounted double fares were created in 2017 by the previous Liberal Government which allowed riders transferring from the TTC to the GO or Union Pearson Express a $1.50 discount for a single trip on their PRESTO Card. Riders transferring to the TTC from the GO and UP Express paid a discounted fare of $1.60 instead of the regular $3.10 fare.
Since it was implemented, the province has paid approximately $18.5 million a year to help both transit agencies. But the Ford government says they don’t plan to renew the initial three year agreement which expires in March 2020.
Metrolinx, the regional transit agency that operates GO Trains and buses through the Toronto and Hamilton regions, has indicated that it plans to try and work with the TTC to keep the program up and running.
“Metrolinx proposes a sustainable strategy for the continuation of this fare integration initiative, one that does not use a subsidy from the provincial government,” said Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster in a letter to the TTC. “A new agreement and strategy is needed for next year and beyond.”
Verster also indicated that GO Transit and UP Express will continue to offer discounts regardless. “Metrolinx intends to adopt the aforementioned discount to GO fares even if the City of Toronto and TTC decide not to match the transfer discount on the TTC fare.” continued Verster.
But if the TTC decides not to continue with the program, Brampton residents who transfer to and from the GO for their daily commutes will be saddled with the costs.
“Forcing commuters to dig into their pockets for an extra $1.50 per round-trip is going to hurt the monthly bottom-line for already-squeezed working
The changes could also add unanticipated budget pressures to the TTC for the rest of 2019 and 2020. CEO Rick Leary pointed out that the agency is at the table with Metrolinx but before making any decisions it plans to outline a detailed cost-benefit analysis, with hopes of making a decision by September.