Council approves discounted TTC pass for low-income riders

Toronto transit riders living close to the poverty line could start paying about $1 less per ride starting in 2018 with council's approval of a low-income pass discount Wednesday.

Adults would save about $1 per single ride and about $30 off a monthly pass

Relief for low-income riders could be coming in 2018 after Toronto council approved its Fair Pass Program Wednesday.

Toronto transit riders living close to the poverty line could start paying about $1 less per ride starting in 2018 with council's approval of a low-income pass discount Wednesday. 

Council approved the recommendation as part of a review of the city's poverty reduction strategy. Several politicians noted that the TTC already offers discounts to seniors and students based on the likelihood of their limited incomes. 

At the 2017 fare levels announced by the TTC in November, a single adult fare with the discount applied would be about $2, while a monthly pass would drop to about $116.

The new program would work with Presto cards or monthly passes. (CBC)

Member of the TTC Riders association said they're pleased by the vote, but they were hoping for more relief. 

"This is a great first step, but what we do want is deeper discounts, because it's still not enough," the group's executive director Jessica Bell said. "And we want it to be rolled out really quickly ... Low-income people don't need to wait nearly five years for transit relief."

Eligibility

While the program would begin in 2018 — provided there's funding for it — it will take until 2020 for all low-income residents to be eligible.

Initially only those receiving social assistance from the province, but no transportation support, would qualify.

Most of those living below the low-income measure plus 15 per cent would qualify for the discounted pass. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Eventually, almost anyone living below the low-income measure plus 15 per cent could apply for the program. That means a family of four making less than $45,075 a year would be eligible, according to a municipal report.

Those on social assistance receiving transportation support from the province, however, would not qualify for the discount.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this article stated that the approximate discount for an adult monthly metro pass would be $15. In fact, the discount would be closer to $30.
    Dec 15, 2016 7:48 AM ET

With files from CBC's Adrian Cheung