GO Transit refunds

GO Transit to offer refunds for delays. Should the TTC follow suit?

Good news for GO Transit passengers was revealed today. Starting in 2012, commuters will be refunded a one-way fare in the event that their train is delayed 15 minutes or more. Premier Dalton McGuinty had initially floated the idea of refunds for 20 minute or more delays last week, but decided to go "one step better" with this new plan.

There is, however, one huge caveat: refunds will only be issued when a delay is caused by something within the control of the transit authority. In other words, occurrences like extreme weather, passenger emergencies or police investigations will not be deemed refund worthy. All the same, Metrolinx President and CEO Bruce McCuaig estimates that the refunds will cost GO in the neighbourhood of $6- to $7 million a year — this despite the fact that it reports a on-time rate of 94%.

So should the TTC adopt a similar plan? While it would certainly be a good customer service move, one suspects it would be too costly, even if it was reduced only to subway passengers. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MTBA) used to offer service-delay refunds, but recently abandoned the program as a cost saving measure. And given the budgetary problems facing the City and the TTC, it's terribly unlikely that a policy like this will be put in place in the foreseeable future. Still, there's nothing like a monetary penalty to drive service standards up. What do you think? Total pipe dream or something the Commission should work towards?

Photo by bukharov in the blogTO Flickr pool


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