The Toronto Transit Commission passed a significant policy today, allowing a two-hour transfer when using PRESTO. The policy passed 6-1 during today’s public transit meeting at City Hall with Councillor John Campbell being the only to vote against the proposal.
The TTC estimates that the new policy will add an estimated 5 million more trips per year, which works out to an average of 13,698 trips per day – a manageable addition considering the TTC handles around 1.6-1.7 million trips per weekday. And while the net cost is estimated to be $11.1 million in 2018 and up to $20.9 million in 2020, this is part of the Ridership Growth Strategy that will allow the TTC to provide higher quality service.
The new policy is also expected to benefit the everyday rider, including students.
The newly implemented two-hour transfer policy will offer more flexibility to plan many trips during a short time span. This will allow public transit riders to worry less about affordability and more on their trip, for a current college student, this could make a huge difference.
According to The Expatisan, the average Toronto resident spends $144 on public transportation tickets per month, or $1,728 per year. With the cost of tuition and many other expenses already facing college students, the two-hour grace period could alleviate cost issues for a lot of college students.
The new two-hour policy will benefit more than just students, as families will also benefit. Parents and guardians who have to make more than one stop along their heavy scheduled day will now be able to do so without the worry of an added cost for every errand on their agenda.
TTC officials also hope the two-hour policy makes the PRESTO system more attractive to low-income riders who will now be more drawn to using public transit as it becomes more affordable.
Metrolinx is planning to have the new policy available to Presto card users by August 2018 or sooner, following $5 million worth of software upgrades. This would be just in time for the start of the 2018-2018 school year, timing that the TTC hopes will prompt a sigh of relief for students headed back to class.
Other significant issues brought up at today’s TTC meeting included tackling common complaints from public transportation users, such as crowding, long bus waits, accessibility concerns and the need for more frequent services.