Riding the Rocket or Emptying a Pocket?

TTC; not the fastest or the cheapest
Rahman Mohamed

According to the Statistics Canada 2011 National Household Survey more people are using public transit.  But not only is the car faster for commuting to work than public transit as reported by the Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, and other Canadian media, it’s faster than public transit throughout the day, not just rush hour.

The TTC might brag about more than 1.5 million riders on an average day, almost 70% of Toronto’s population.  But it still doesn’t rank number one in lowest fares or highest discounts.  There are Dismal Discounts (Page 2) on the TTC and it has trouble keeping speed with other systems to help one of its largest group of customers: Post-Secondary Students and Accessibility on the TTC (Page 3).

Cash fares for a single ride in a transit system in Canada’s largest municipalities ranges from $2.25 to $5.50.

Winnipeg Transit raised its fares in 2013 but is still close to number one for lowest fares. Only systems in the Maritimes have lower single ride cash fares.  Hamilton Street Railway isn’t far behind Winnipeg or the Maritimes, but the TTC trails.  It’s below the average, but has some catching up to do to speed past others and become the lowest.

All systems offer discounts to students and seniors, allowing children under 5 to ride free.
In Hamilton children under the age of 5 “are permitted to ride free of charge, provided they do not occupy seats to the exclusion of other passengers”.  La Société de transport de Laval extends it’s free service to children under 12 when “accompanied by an adult paying regular fare on weekends, holidays and summer”.  On the TTC only “Children under 24 months ride free”.

If you’re a teenage boy or girl starting to become independent, then it’s time to head out West.  TTC might give you 1/3 off your fare if you’re in elementary or secondary school, just like Societé de Transit de Montréal (STM), but the Victoria Regional Transit System (VRTS), serving Greater Victoria, Sidney, and Sooke, offers the lowest fare and lands in the top 5 for highest discount for teenagers.  If you want to escape the big city you can head north to Yellowknife or Whitehorse.  Both offer a discount as high as Victoria and fares that are just as low.  The only system in the East that lands in the top 5 for highest discounts and lowest fares to Students/Youth is London Transit.

Toronto doesn’t land in the top 10 for child or student discounts.

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