Toronto launches discounts for low-income TTC riders

April 4, 2018
Article Source
Toronto Star

Living in Toronto is expensive, and the rising costs of basics like housing and groceries are making life in Canada's biggest city less affordable by the day. But for thousands of its most vulnerable residents, starting Wednesday the cost of riding transit will actually fall.

That's when the first phase of the city's Fair Fare Pass program will go into effect, offering cheaper TTC fares for eligible low-income residents.

At a press conference Tuesday to mark the start of the program, Mayor John Tory hailed the Fair Fare Pass as a key plank in the city's poverty reduction strategy.

"It is important that everyone in Toronto has access to public transit. It is transit that connects people to opportunity, and this initiative will help more Torontonians with opportunity and with affordability in our city," he said.

Council first approved the Fair Fare Pass in December 2016. The program is being administered and paid for through the city's employment and social services division, rather than the TTC.

During its first phase residents who receive welfare benefits through Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and who don't already receive transportation supports are eligible for discounts of $1 off single rides, and $30.75 off a monthly pass. The discounts will be programmed onto riders' Presto fare cards.

According to a December 2016 report, the city expects 36,000 residents will take advantage of the first phase of the program this year, at a cost to the city $4.6 million.

Although groups like students, seniors, and children already get breaks on TTC rides, the Fair Fare Pass represents a significant departure from the existing concession fares because it will be based on a resident's ability to pay, rather than on more arbitrary measures like age. 

Read more: Toronto launches discounts for low-income TTC riders