‘Ridiculously Effective’ Transit Discount Boosts Low-Income Access
Eighteen months after the City of Toronto dropped transit prices for low-income riders, the numbers are in, and they prove that cheaper transit enables people to transform their lives.
Described by the Toronto Star as “ridiculously effective,” Toronto’s Fair Pass Program was launched in April 2018, with its first phase of discounted Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) passes made available to anyone receiving welfare or disability support payments.
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“Where your average TTC rider using [the Presto fare card] currently pays C$3.10 for a single ride, or $151.15 for an unlimited-use monthly pass, Fair Pass holders pay $2.05 and $119.40, respectively,” explains the Star. In the wake of the lower fares, a consulting report to the city’s executive committee found 90% of eligible users reporting they could take transit as much as they’d like, up from 55% before the discount. “And the transit trips they’re able to make now are important ones,” observes the Star, with at least 35% more users finding they can now afford to get to work, training, or job interviews, to school and to medical appointments. Cheaper transit also means better access to groceries, children’s activities, and to family and friends who live across town.