TTC peak fare

TTC considers peak and off-peak fares

The TTC is in the midst of overhauling its fare system thanks to the gradual roll out of the PRESTO card. So far, implementation has been slow as new fare payment infrastructure is installed on streetcars and at subway stations. Once the entire system is PRESTO ready, however, customers are likely to see a host of changes, one of which could be peak and off-peak fares.

"Many transit agencies offer peak and off-peak pricing to reduce congestion during peak hours and encourage off-peak ridership," reads a new report. "There are two ways in which this policy is implemented; either the peak price is inflated to discourage travel during peak hours or the off-peak price is decreased to encourage new customers during off-peak hours."

While such a payment structure wouldn't be considered until the complete implementation of PRESTO (projected in 2017), come 2018 the TTC wants to include peak and off-peak pricing as part of its 2018 operating budget with the aim of increasing revenue.

That likely won't be good news if you're a rush hour transit user. "Factoring in ridership loss and switching rates, the revenue potential of a 15 cent increase in peak pricing alongside a five cent across the board off-peak discount could result in an overall $2M net revenue gain," the preliminary report notes.

There are a host of other new fare payment options on the table as part of a full roll out of the PRESTO card. This report also proposes a single cash fare across the board, though students and seniors would still gain a discount via PRESTO card usage.

Perhaps even more noteworthy, the TTC will consider a "tap out" system that would require riders to use their PRESTO card when exiting subway stations.

The justification for the latter is that it would provide the TTC with better customer/trip data and further ingrain the habit of PRESTO usage, but I suspect not everyone will like the idea. In any case, all of these possible changes are a few years away. By the time the Crosstown LRT opens, however, you can expect the TTC to have considerably modernized its fare payment system.

What do you think of these proposed changes? Do you like the idea of peak and off-peak fares? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Jason Cook in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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