go presto fare

It's about to get a whole lot cheaper to take public transit in Ontario

Just in time for an election, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is suddenly doling out all kinds of savings, benefits, and pay hikes. After making life easier for drivers with the February announcement that certain highway tolls and licence sticker fees would be eliminated, the Ford government revealed on Tuesday that transit riders will also be getting a break.

Starting March 14, the province will be scrapping local transit fares for most riders connecting to GO Transit (known as double fares), while also giving youth and post-secondary students added discounts on Presto card fares and launching a new affordability pilot program for low-income riders.

"As we cut costs for drivers, including by eliminating licence sticker renewal fees and removing tolls on Highways 412 and 418, we're also slashing fares to keep more money in the pockets of families and young people when they need it most, and making it easier to get from point A to B," said Stan Cho, Associate Minister of Transportation, in a release.

The new deal means that riders connecting to or from GO routes will travel on their local transit system free of charge before paying the regular GO fare. This might not seem like much on the surface, but for regional commuters who use their local services twice a day in addition to GO, the costs can really add up quickly.

Even just using a service like Mississauga's MiWay two ways, three days a week with this deal would save a rider $250 per year on transit expenses.

This will apply to most local transit systems in the region, including Durham Region Transit, Milton Transit, Grand River Transit, Guelph Transit, Oakville Transit, MiWay, Brampton Transit, Hamilton Street Railway, Burlington Transit, Bradford West Gwillimbury Transit, York Region Transit, and Barrie Transit.

So basically, everything but the TTC.

But some in Toronto will benefit, with the March 14 rollout of new Presto discounts for GO Transit and UP Express customers who are 13 to 19 years old or anyone enrolled in full-time post-secondary education, the discount doubling to 40 per cent of the full adult fare.

A third program will also begin on the 14th, with the launch of an affordability pilot for low-income riders, reimbursing them for 50 per cent of Presto fare when using GO Transit. In a phased approach, the pilot program will kick off with residents of Peel Region who are enrolled in Peel's Affordable Transit Program.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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