Toronto has the worst punishments for fare evasion of all major Canadian cities
Though most of Toronto absolutely hated the fare evasion ads that the TTC rolled out in recent years — going as far as making spoofs of them to poke fun at the transit agency's unreliability — commuters really are best to heed the posted warnings, given what it could cost them if they get caught.
While the city's transit fare is actually the second-cheapest of all major Canadian metropolises, our fines for not paying are the second-highest, at a whopping 72.3 times (at least) the cost of a standard ride, according to numbers from Passage.
While the price to take the TTC is $3.25 and our fare evasion fine ranges anywhere from $235 to $425, in somewhere like Montreal, a transit ride costs $3.50 but comes with a $150 ticket if you try and get on for free — the latter being 42.9 times the former.
Ottawa is the only city that comes close to Toronto's levels, at $3.75 per ride and $260 per fine (69.3 times), while in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, the fines for dodging payment are far lesser not only in amount, but also in the difference from the fare price.
Overall, such fines across Canada in general are extremely high compared to other places, and exorbitantly more than a parking ticket, which in Toronto will run you an average of $75.
Even in New York City, the fine for jumping the turnstiles is only $100 while parking tickets are around $65 and up.
This is not the best incentive for more eco-friendly options such as transit in cities like Toronto that are inherently designed for cars, and as some writers have pointed out, there are far worse things you can do on the TTC that will cost you far less than not purchasing a fare, if anything at all.
To be fair, fare evasion cost the TTC $70.3 million in 2019, and it's been a long-standing problem that has in part necessitated fare hikes and ramped-up enforcement.
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