Dec. 8, 2014
By Sean Wetselaar
Your commute could be getting more expensive - Metrolinx has proposed a fare hike of around 5 per cent to GO Transit service, effective Feb. 1, 2015.
The hike will be implemented on a tiered basis, according to a proposal which the board will vote on Dec. 11. There will be a 10-cent increase on the minimum fare of $5.20, a 30-cent increase on fares between $5.21 and $6.50, a 40-cent increase on fares between $6.51 and $8.25 and a 50-cent increase on all fares over $8.25.
The proposal calls for a fourth price tier for the first time “to further exemplify the fare by distance approach.”
Discounts to Presto customers would remain unchanged, as would discounts offered to seniors and students.
This means that while riders buying paper tickets will see a larger hike, the difference will not be as great as last year’s hike, which saw an increase in the discount for PRESTO users as well. Last year’s hike saw an increase of fares between 35 and 55 cents per ride.
The disparity between regular and Presto fares is designed to nudge more riders toward a card. Currently, 81 per cent of rides are paid for with Presto cards.
An adult fare between Union and Oakville, for example, will be increased from $7.75 to $8.15 for regular users and from $6.98 to $7.34 for Presto users.
The fare hike would generate an estimated $23.5 million in additional annual revenue.
The proposal states that GO fares have generally increased by 5 per cent annually. That revenue is intended to “be used to fund new service improvements as well as offset increasing costs from annual escalation of operating contracts.”
Some of those planned service improvements include 1,500 parking spaces added through a new parking structure and expansions of existing lots as well as 50 more buses, with three new trainsets to handle ridership growth.
Initial capital construction costs are not funded through fares, but their operational costs are partially supported through that revenue.