Monday, August 13, 2007

What fare is fair?

I believe that ridership is more affected by service frequency and speed than by fares, but new fares and much easier to implement than new service. Most cities in the GTA use a time-limited transfer, where paying a single fare gives you hop-on, hop-off privileges for two hours or so. This would be the first step for Toronto to do, but what more can be done to give riders more bang for your buck?

Being able to travel from Long Branch to the Toronto Zoo on a single fare is already a bargain, so I'm not proposing to change that. What needs addressing is the fare paid to cross the border between the 416 and 905. Currently, you must pay full fare to do this, and this clearly must be reduced to give riders more value. The way I see it, we have two options:
  • Your first fare gives you two hours of unlimited transfers. When you want to transfer to or from the 416, you pay half-fare, and get a fresh two hours (allowing you to hop-on, hop-off for two hours on either side of the border). This option gives you more time to complete your trips before your transfer privileges expire, but it comes with higher fares.
  • Your first fare gives you two hours of unlimited transfers on all systems in the GTA. You can transfer two or from the 416 for free, but your original two hours continue from the time you boarded. This option lowers the fare for cross-border travelers, but you trade off some of the hop-on, hop-off privileges.
So which fare is fair? You decide. I've setup a poll on the right hand column of the blog to vote on one of three options, and I'd love to hear comments.



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