City council voted Tuesday to approve plans to discount fares for those connecting to the TTC from GO Transit or the UP Express, and is now calling on Metrolinx to accelerate its fare integration plans within Toronto.
Mayor John Tory says the move is "essential" to creating regional transit, and it will be a key element of his SmartTrack plans as well. Tory told council any fare integration will have to be fair for transit riders in this city.
"There continues to be an inequity between how this city and its people are being treated relative to residents of other parts of the region," Tory said.
"That's not acceptable."
City transportation staff confirmed that modelling shows SmartTrack — which would add new stations along existing GO Transit lines — will attract the most riders if the fare matches the TTC's. Tory has vowed that will be the case.
Right now, people who take GO from Exhibition to Union station pay up to $5.30, then have to pay a separate fare to get onto the TTC. Coun. Mike Layton said that's completely unaffordable, and moved a motion to ask Metrolinx to accelerate its plans for full fare integration.
Layton urged city council to make it clear to Metrolinx that "our expectation is that it would be a single fare for the city of Toronto," he said.
That motion carried unanimously.
Metrolinx has been working on integrating fares across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Areas this fall, taking steps like discounting double fares (GO-TTC, or 905-TTC).
Coun. Janet Davis cautioned while the fare agreement is a step forward, it's a short-term agreement that could change after a two-year period. She also confirmed with staff that it will not stop the TTC's fare from increasing, should the transit agency choose to do that.