Transit commutes in Greater Golden Horseshoe get more affordable with initiatives set to roll out in mid-March

March 2, 2022
Ontario and a dozen regional transit agencies will reduce fares and increase youth and student discounts.

The government of Ontario is making transit more affordable through a series of initiatives set to take effect on March 14. Co-fare agreements with municipal transit systems will subsidize rides connecting to and from the GO Transit system, PRESTO discounts for youth and post-secondary students will increase and a new affordability pilot will launch for GO Transit residents in the Peel Region.

“Affordability and cost of living concerns are very much on the minds of families throughout Ontario, and that is why our government is taking action to make riding transit cheaper,” said Ontario Associate Minister of Transportation Stan Cho. “As we cut costs for drivers, including by eliminating license sticker renewal fees and removing tolls on Highways 412 and 418, we’re also slashing fares to keep more money in the pockets of families and young people when they need it most and making it easier to get from point A to B.”

Co-fare agreements

Riders connecting to or from GO Transit on 12 municipal transit systems will see their local fares reduced to zero. The 12 municipal agencies participating in the co-fare agreement include Durham Region Transit, Milton Transit, Grand River Transit, Guelph Transit, Oakville Transit, MiWay, Brampton Transit, Hamilton Street Railway, Burlington Transit, Bradford West Gwillimbury Transit, York Region Transit and Barrie Transit.

The province estimates a rider who takes three roundtrips weekly can save between C$156 (US$122.52) to C$312 (US$245.04) annually, depending on which municipal system is used.

Metrolinx explains a rider who uses their PRESTO card to pay for their GO Transit trip, as well as a municipal system trip, will see a full municipal transit fare reimbursed on their PRESTO card. A PRESTO card, valid single-ride ticket or day pass ticket can act as proof of GO fare payment on systems that do not use PRESTO.

Expanded youth discounts

Kids under 12 will continue to ride GO Transit free and those aged 13 to 19-years old and anyone enrolled in full-time post-secondary education will see PRESTO discounts of 40 percent off full adult fares on GO Transit and UP Express rides. The PRESTO discount was previously 22.5 percent off full adult fare. Metrolinx explains riders with the current student fare on their PRESTO card will begin receiving the increased discount on March 14.

“With students learning in-person, our government is making transit more affordable and accessible for them,” said Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. “These fare discounts will save working families money, along with expanded access to free tutoring programs to help students get back on track.”

GO Transit Affordability Pilot

The third initiative to be rolled out this March is an Affordability Pilot for low-income riders for GO Transit riders in the Peel Region. Metrolinx says this is the first time GO Transit is introducing an affordability pilot for GO fares. And the aim of the program is to increase access to job, education and leisure opportunities to the riders who need it most within and beyond their municipalities.

The pilot will begin with residents enrolled in Peel Region’s Affordable Transit Program. Those residents will be reimbursed 50 percent of their regular GO Transit adult fare when using a PRESTO card. While the pilot will begin with residents of Mississauga and Brampton, rides do not have to originate, end or include those areas for the resident to benefit from the program.

The province says the pilot will be rolled out to other transit systems in a phased approach. Metrolinx says it will work closely with municipal and transit agency partners throughout the pilot to determine next steps.

"These initiatives show fantastic progress on our efforts to build a seamless transit experience and connect people to and from GO Transit across the Greater Golden Horseshoe, all while making transit more affordable. This is made possible through effective collaboration with partners across the network, enabling us to work together to best meet the needs of customers,” said Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.