Ontario’s 2018 budget will provide commuters cheaper transit in 2019
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced new plans to make transit more affordable Thursday morning.
She was joined by Toronto Mayor John Tory and Minister of Transportation Kathryn McGarry in a press conference at Willowbrook Yard.
GO riders who are traveling anywhere across the Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and anywhere under 10 kilometers will now pay a low fare of $3. The province will applying a $3 to $6 discount for commuters traveling between 10 and 20 kilometers.
TTC, York Region Transit, Mississauga’s MiWay, Brampton Transit and Durham Region Transit are working to add a new transfer between all the municipal transit networks, which will save commuters $1.50 per trip.
The reduced fares will also apply to travelers on the UP Express. Commuters will see lower fares on stops between Union, Bloor and Weston stations. However, it will not apply to Pearson Airport trips.
Wynne said that the government’s Climate Change Action Plan want to put a cap on pollution. She said that by lowering the fares on transit and offering transit users more options for travel, will help ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and fight climate change.
“We know people want to get where they’re going faster, easier, and it’s great to be able to offer a lower fare to make that happen,” said president and CEO of Metrolinx, Phil Verster.
Transit users should expect these new changes as early as the beginning of 2019.
The Ontario 2018 Budget will be investing $21.3 billon to transform GO Transit. They are building six new GO stations and will be upgrading 22 existing ones.
“This includes new trains, refurbished vehicles, infrastructure for electrifying the entire GO corridor, and improvements such as bridges, tracks and noise walls to make travel seamless. ”
“This also includes improvements right here at Union Station to its tracks as well as its platforms to make room for more train service and electrification across the entire network,” said McGarry.
PRESTO card users traveling on GO Transit between Union Station and stations near Toronto such as Port Credit, Malton, Pickering, Ajax or Markham will also see fare reductions.
Thursday’s fare changes was latest in the biggest shift to happen to Toronto transit since the opening of the line 1 subway extension late last year.
The line 1 subway extension from Toronto-York Spadina is the largest expansion of Toronto’s subway system in nearly 40 years.
Since its opening, Wynne said there has been an estimated 36 million more transit trips, as well as 30 million fewer vehicle trips per year.
“There are some who are saying we are doing too much,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said.
“They would have us pull back, even though families are telling us right now that they need us to do more. They need us to step up and do exactly the kinds of thing that we are doing today with this announcement.”