TTC to Allow As Many Transfers As You Want Within a Two-Hour Window

The TTC board has approved time-based transfers starting in August of 2018.

This means transit riders will have two hours to get from point A to point B on a single fare, regardless of how many transfers are required.

It’s a move that’s been deliberated seemingly forever and makes a lot of sense given that all of the GTA’s other transit agencies already allow for this.

There is a bit of a catch, however: time-based transfers will only be available to Metrolinx Presto card users, which has caused a bit of friction. Metrolinx says it will take until next August to implement the change, which comes at a cost of $5 million for the cash-strapped TTC (riders won’t have to cover the cost, and the TTC has announced its intention to implement a fare freeze for next year).

“Honestly, I can’t fathom why in the 21st century it would take as long as Metrolinx claims it does,” said Councillor Mary Fragedakis, a TTC board member.

Another board member, Rick Byers, questioned the cost of the operation. “Is this like a change order on a construction project and the contractor knows they have you?” said Byers. “$5 million does seem like a ton of dough to make a tweak on the program.”

While it seems unlikely to shorten implementation, outgoing TTC CEO Andy Byford is hopefuly that Metrolinx will be able to reduce the cost.

“We challenged them on the timeframe and to be fair, they said that’s the time it takes to calibrate various things,” said Byford. “We are pushing to get the cost reduced and I think they can get the cost reduced.”

Mayor John Tory, meanwhile, got his wish.

The TTC is seeking a subsidy for the expense, which is subject to City Council approval. The time-based transfer policy, which is estimated to contribute to $20.9 million a year in lost revenue, has already been considered in next year’s budget. It now requires a final approval from City Council.

Now, let’s get to work on expanding that network, shall we?