Getting around the Greater Toronto Area with ease is often an impossibility. I’ve existed as both a public transit commuter and a driver over the decade I’ve lived in Toronto, and when it comes to deciding which I prefer, I honestly can’t say. Traffic and congestion stalled me as a driver, and despite doing my part to conserve energy and diminish pollution, now as a public transit user, delays and technical issues stall me just the same. Yet, costs for using the regions transit system seem steadily on the increase.
Today, however, Kathleen Wynne has given me new hope, by announcing the ways that Ontario is seeking to lower the cost of transit in the province and moving towards regional fare integrations to make the linked systems, easier and more convenient to use.
In 2019, the province is slated to reduce the cost of the GO Transit trips to only $3, when a commuter uses a PRESTO card and travels less than 10 kilometres, meaning that all GO Transit trips and those on Union-Pearson Express, within the City of Toronto, will be reduced to $3.
Proceeds gained from Ontario’s cap on pollution will allow fare integration discounts of up to $1.50, for those who travel beyond the city of Toronto, to regions such as York, Durham, Bramptom and Mississauga.
In addition, adult fares for GO Transit trips that are between 10 km and 20 km, will be reduced to between $3 and $6.
Ontario is reportedly investing $21.3 billion to overhaul GO Transit from a commuter system servicing the GTA to a regional rapid transit system.
The decision by the province to make transit more affordable is directly linked to the government’s Climate Change Action Plan, which caps pollution and reinvests the proceeds into those programs that fight climate change.
Previous proceeds from the initiative have gone towards the Line 1 Extension/Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE). The TYSSE is the largest expansion of Toronto’s subway system in nearly 40 years, and will add an estimated 36 million transit trips, as well as eliminate 30 million car trips per year, helping to ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and fight climate change.
Thanks to lower fares, and potentially increased rapid transit in the near future, the hope is that more drivers will opt to cut down on driving time and pollution by jumping on the GO.