By Laura Strachan, volunteer writer
There are so many options and new developments in Toronto’s transit system. UP Express, TTC, GO Transit, the SRT (Scarborough Rapid Transit), not to mention the upcoming Eglinton Crosstown. But which one is best for your commute and how do you navigate the fare systems? We broke down your fare options so you can get on your way efficiently and economically. If you need more information on PRESTO and transit, consider joining the Smart Commute program, which offers workshops to educate your staff on PRESTO, transit and other sustainable commuting modes.
Riding the TTC
If you are riding within the core of Toronto and using strictly TTC services (buses, streetcar & subway) you have the option of purchasing tickets, tokens, a PRESTO card or just using straight up cash. There are benefits to purchasing in bulk quantities, which will save you a few bucks. For example, a single Adult one-way fare has the following options (note: Seniors 65+ and Youth aged 13-19 have reduced fares):
- Single Cash Fare: $3.25
- Token: $3.10 (must buy minimum of 3 tokens)
- Prepaid Presto Card: $3.10
Depending on how frequently you travel you might want to purchase a Monthly Pass ($151.15/month) or a 12 Month Pass ($138.55/month).
Note: The TTC is ending sales of tickets, tokens and passes on November 30. You will still be able to buy tickets and tokens at some third-party retailers. No end date has been set for when the TTC will stop accepting tickets, tokens or cash but refunds will not be provided for tokens and tickets so you are encouraged to use them up.
Let’s look at some scenarios:
I travel to and from work every day by TTC, five days a week. I drive all other times.
Your best option is a preloaded PRESTO card. At $6.20/day you are still paying less than a monthly pass. And you don’t have to fuss with tokens or cash.
I use TTC to commute to work and get around on weekends.
A Monthly TTC pass is for you. Better yet, save $151/year and commit to a 12-Month Pass (paid in monthly increments).
We are a family of five with three kids under 12. We use TTC occasionally to get downtown or to special events.
Kids 12 and under ride free on both TTC and GO Transit. The adults in the family could pay cash or purchase tokens and save them for future rides as there is no set expiration date for tokens yet.
My teenager takes the TTC to school.
Youth, as well as seniors can ride at a reduced rate. If your teen also uses the TTC on weekends consider a Monthly Pass to save some cash. A Monthly Pass is worth 27 return trips, but gets you unlimited travel!
I live near a GO station and work in the core. Should I GO or TTC?
Depends if you want to be fast or economical, or prefer less hassle.
For example, a direct trip from Main St. & Danforth Ave. to Union Station on the Danforth GO costs $4.40 cash (or $3.70 with PRESTO) and takes about 14 minutes. A trip from Main St. & Danforth Ave. on the subway costs $3.25 cash (or $3.10 with PRESTO) but takes about 36 minutes. This trip also includes a stopover and train change.
I am a tourist.
A $13 Day Pass is a great option for travellers and gets you unlimited one day travel.
If you are visiting for the weekend a Group/Family Day Pass will admit 1 adult + 5 youths; or 2 adults + 4 youths; or 2 adults. A Single Day Pass can be used any day of the week for one person.
There are many options available for all kinds of riders. If you do the math you will find an affordable option that best suits your commuting frequency.
Photo by Enoch Leung