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GTHA Transit Fare Integration

ok this is short term gain, but who and how will we be able to afford what is essentially mass rebates to riders. are TAs running at such a high profit margin that ML can afford to just dole out these rebates at no cost to us on the backend?
sure it looks all good from the outside but our taxes will be used to pay for the shortfall in revenue and the upkeep. ML is not a secret oil producer.
 
^ excuse my if ignorance and I haven't had a chance to look through in detail but didn't the IBC talk about several variants? Which one did they go with?

My post on this is just up the page:


Option A
 
ok this is short term gain, but who and how will we be able to afford what is essentially mass rebates to riders. are TAs running at such a high profit margin that ML can afford to just dole out these rebates at no cost to us on the backend?
sure it looks all good from the outside but our taxes will be used to pay for the shortfall in revenue and the upkeep. ML is not a secret oil producer.
The cost isn't that much for the province in the grand scheme of things. We also subsidize roads. More people will be able to use transit.
 
ok this is short term gain, but who and how will we be able to afford what is essentially mass rebates to riders. are TAs running at such a high profit margin that ML can afford to just dole out these rebates at no cost to us on the backend?
sure it looks all good from the outside but our taxes will be used to pay for the shortfall in revenue and the upkeep. ML is not a secret oil producer.

The cost is shown in my post above as ~90M per year.

On a provincial budget of ~200B we're talking less than 0.05% of spending. Its a rounding error.
 
The cost is shown in my post above as ~90M per year.

On a provincial budget of ~200B we're talking less than 0.05% of spending. Its a rounding error.
if anything they are risking it on hypothetical growth that may or may not happen. how often do the growth predictions actually happen or exceed expectations? nobody predicted the pandemic to happen and we are still feeling the effects
 
if anything they are risking it on hypothetical growth that may or may not happen. how often do the growth predictions actually happen or exceed expectations? nobody predicted the pandemic to happen and we are still feeling the effects

What risk? The sum in question is small.
 
So….. if I understand (trying to simplify…) where there is a transfer between agencies other than GO transit, the second agency waives the fare….. and where there is a transfer that involves GO transit, the GO fare is collected (likely the highest single fare) and any other agency waives their fare…. And the Province tops up the waived fares as subsidy?

Which in aggregate is revenue neutral to the agencies, but less of that revenue is collected at the fare box and the difference made up theough additional subsidy?

- Paul
 
So….. if I understand (trying to simplify…) where there is a transfer between agencies other than GO transit, the second agency waives the fare….. and where there is a transfer that involves GO transit, the GO fare is collected (likely the highest single fare) and any other agency waives the fare…. And the Province tops up the waived fares as subsidy?

Which in aggregate is revenue neutral to the agencies, but less of that revenue is collected at the fare ox and the difference made up theough additional subsidy?

- Paul

Correct.
 
The cost is shown in my post above as ~90M per year.

On a provincial budget of ~200B we're talking less than 0.05% of spending. Its a rounding error.
Just to add on to your comment...remember cplchanb that Ontario local transit has very high farebox recovery than most other jurisdictions...both across Canada and certainly in the US. If TTC is relying ~70% on the farebox, NYC is down at 53%, Chicago at 41% and LA at 15%. We should celebrate ALL infusions of higher-order operating subsidy into local transit, of which this is one.
 
So….. if I understand (trying to simplify…) where there is a transfer between agencies other than GO transit, the second agency waives the fare….. and where there is a transfer that involves GO transit, the GO fare is collected (likely the highest single fare) and any other agency waives their fare…. And the Province tops up the waived fares as subsidy?

Which in aggregate is revenue neutral to the agencies, but less of that revenue is collected at the fare box and the difference made up theough additional subsidy?

- Paul
This fare integration is basically what it is currently with GO and all the other local 905 agencies, just now with TTC in the mix so it seems like the entire GTHA is connected now. If you go from local agency to local agency (Miway-Brampton or HSR-Burlington for example), then the transfer will carry over from
your initial tap on your first route and it will be free as long as you’re still within the 2 hour mark.

As for GO Transit, it doesn’t matter where you start/end and what local agency you end up using for a last mile towards your destination, GO will always have the priority over anything.

If you start your trip at for example Dundas/Dixie on MiWay, then transfer to GO at Long Branch, you will have a new 3 hour transfer to use which will override the current 2 hour one. If you then head to let’s say Clarkson, then free transfer onto a MiWay bus there, the transfer from GO will be used instead and not the MiWay one that you initially had from before tapping on at Long Branch.

If you start your trip on GO Transit then transfer to the local agencies, the transfer won’t reset the time but it will give you a free transfer for them so that means you have 3 hours only to complete your trip, even if you transfer onto another GO Train or Bus right after being on the local agency. The reset on the transfer time practically happens if GO Transit is anything but your first route.

Basically the TTC will most likely have all of this going on. So it is completely possible to have a maximum of 5 hours on a single transfer if you do a TTC-GO-TTC (or any other local agency) trip.
 
So….. if I understand (trying to simplify…) where there is a transfer between agencies other than GO transit, the second agency waives the fare….. and where there is a transfer that involves GO transit, the GO fare is collected (likely the highest single fare) and any other agency waives their fare…. And the Province tops up the waived fares as subsidy?

Which in aggregate is revenue neutral to the agencies, but less of that revenue is collected at the fare box and the difference made up theough additional subsidy?

- Paul
Shouldn't it be accretive to transit agencies, as they will see more people producing two fares for the same trip? So, I would imagine transit agencies will get paid a lot of very productive short trips that cost the end user nothing.
 
Shouldn't it be accretive to transit agencies, as they will see more people producing two fares for the same trip? So, I would imagine transit agencies will get paid a lot of very productive short trips that cost the end user nothing.

The reality is that transit use is growing (why else would we be investing so heavily in it?) but I am a bit cautious about using that growth to justify these changes.
As a first test, the change needs to protect the current earnings of each agency, for the simple reason that they need eveey penny to run today’s service.
In terms of building ridership and adding service, we need to be careful not to assume anything beyond one-operator trips. If I use the TTC only, and do not transfer to a second operator, the change has no effect. So growth in one-operator ridership is something not to factor into this.
The change only matters if there is an increase in two(+)-operator trips. This is certainly going to happen more as the transit network evolves - and there is a presumption that present and future multi-operator riders pay an unfairly high total fare. But we need to make conservative and defensible decisions about this. And we need to preserve the basic intent of “fare by distance” - we should not let the total price of a longer journey fall to an inappropriate level.
Lastly, lett’s not fall victim to optics. If some riders are getting a break, other riders are paying more, indirectly - as are taxpayers from afar who don’t use transit (or live far away). Possibly as fares rise in the future, the farebox revenue will be raised and the subsidy will reduce. I’m not arguing against the change, but let’s not let anyone (eg DoFo) pretend that this is a free lunch.

- Paul
 
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The reality is that transit use is growing (why else would we be investing so heavily in it?) but I am a bit cautious about using that growth to justify these changes.
Transit use is still below pre-pandemic levels. Investments like this is to grow ridership, not maintain levels. That's why we invest in it when ridership is down.
And we need to preserve the basic intent of “fare by distance” - we should not let the total price of a longer journey fall to an inappropriate level.
Fare by distance isn't the intent for most of the GTA's transit operators.
as are taxpayers from afar who don’t use transit (or live far away)
They benefit directly through increased economic activity in the provinces heart.
 
Transit use is still below pre-pandemic levels. Investments like this is to grow ridership, not maintain levels. That's why we invest in it when ridership is down.

To be fair, this is true for the TTC and GO; but Durham, Brampton and Mississauga are all at or above pre-pandemic ridership. I would argue that this is a function of reduced commuting to downtown, mostly on Mondays and Fridays, and of lower levels of service by both agencies than pre-pandemic. particularly GO.

Fare by distance isn't the intent for most of the GTA's transit operators.

Fare by distance exists with GO, and by default existed where inter-agency/border-crossing trips cost more money. I agree it was not the pricing model for any agency except GO and effects/effected a comparatively small portion of trips, in terms of those that will now see a lower price point.

But I think @crs1026 point was simply that we don't want to encourage people to live very long distances from work or subsidize sprawl. I think that's a fair point, while noting that I don't expect this level of fare integration to really do either.

I think the more substantial shifts may occur if, as I expect, there is a move to consolidate GO fare zones at lower price points, in line with the BoT idea. For example, where GO treats the entire City of Toronto as one Zone, for which you only pay the base fare; does the same roughly in line w/regional boundaries, with that and a slightly lower base fare, having the effect of lower long-distance commute prices.

I happen to think this is a good thing, up to a point, particularly if we get travel times down. It allows people to access a greater range of jobs, housing, schools, hospitals etc at a more affordable price. But we don't want to see a $4 fare from Kitchener to Toronto, where this ends up not only inducing sprawl, but seeing more people with 60 minute plus commutes.
 

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