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City of Toronto launches fair fare pass
for low-income residents

Today, Tuesday, April 3, the City of Toronto launched a new program to make transit more affordable for low-income residents.

The Fair Pass Discount program, which starts tomorrow, Wednesday, April 4, provides about 150,000 eligible residents who receive assistance through Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) with a 12-month discount off the regular TTC adult fare or adult monthly pass.

When eligible cardholders load funds onto a PRESTO farecard, the system will automatically discount the fares. Cardholders may save a third of the fare, paying just $1 on an adult fare for a single ride and $30.75 on the adult monthly pass. Cardholders must load funds onto a PRESTO card to receive the discount.

Toronto City Council approved the Fair Pass Discount program as a poverty-reduction initiative to make transit more affordable for low-income residents. Making transit more affordable was one of the key suggestions City staff received during public consultations for the poverty-reduction strategy. The City’s 2018 budget invested $4.6 million to implement the Fair Pass Discount program. Other initiatives include the Kids Ride Free program for children 12 years of age and younger, lower fares for students and seniors and a “hop-on, hop-off” two-hour transfer.

The City will roll out the Fair Pass Discount program in three phases. Phase one starts tomorrow for OW and ODSP clients who do not receive transportation supports equal to or greater than $100. If City Council approves further stages of the program, phases two and three will extend eligibility to residents receiving housing supports or child-care fee subsidies and other Toronto residents living with a household income less than the low-income measure (LIM) plus 15 per cent.

In simple terms, the LIM is a fixed percentage (50 per cent) of median adjusted economic family income, where “adjusted” indicates that family needs are taken into account. Adjustment for family sizes reflects the fact that a family’s needs increase as the number of members increases. Most would agree that a family of five has greater needs than a family of two. Similarly, the LIM allows for the fact that it costs more to feed a family of five adults than a family of two adults and three children.

Other local transit agencies also provide discounts for low-income residents.