GO Transit pilot program has early limitations

by | Feb 13, 2015 | News

Travis Kingdon
Transportation Reporter

To pass GO, please pay $60.

Monthly TTC Metro Pass holders are now able to pay $60 to get a GO Transit sticker affixed to their pass, but it can only be used between three GO Stations in downtown Toronto

The sticker is only eligible for use at Exhibition, Union and Danforth GO stations and according to Metrolinx allows riders to travel as many times as they want in a month between the stations.

With the TTC fare hike coming March 1, the cost of the adult Metro Pass will rise to $141.50. Riders purchasing the GO sticker would see their monthly transit cost rise to just more than $200.

Currently a one-way ride between Exhibition Station and Danforth Station costs just over $5.

In order for the new sticker to be worth it, the rider would have to use the service 11 times in a month.

The transit advocacy group TTC Riders believes that the $60 sticker is too expensive, said Brenda Thompson, Chair of the Board at TTC Riders and founder of Scarborough Transit Action group.

“If they want to give people that option to get on the GO Train do that, but don’t charge them $60,” said Thompson.

The new cost of the Metro Pass is enough to cover the cost of both, said Thompson.

Transit riders who purchase the new sticker will have the option to use GO Transit in addition to the TTC.  This will hopefully take some congestion off the TTC and move rush hour riders to the GO Train for their daily commute, according to Metrolinx.

By using GO in conjunction with the TTC, Metrolinx estimates it could save riders around 10 minutes on their daily commute.

“We don’t think that paying an extra $60 to get home 10 minutes faster is really going to be all that helpful,” said Thompson.

The project is still in its early stages and is only a one year pilot, said Anne Marie Aikins, manager of Strategic Communications at Metrolinx. Riders have only been able to purchase the sticker since Jan. 26 and the sticker has only been valid for use since Feb. 1.

There are no real numbers yet on sales or how the project is working because of how new the program is, explained Aikins.

People are anxious to find out though, she said.

When the year is up Metrolinx will assess the success of the program, she said.

Aikins expects by the summer they will have a much clearer picture of how the program is operating and whether riders are taking to it.

At Humber College, students are able to purchase Metro Passes at the discounted student rate at the bookstore but as of right now it doesn’t sell the new GO Sticker, said Debby Martin, the Campus Store Manager.

The announcement of the project came days before the unveiling of the 2015 TTC Customer Charter.  The Charter promised the Presto system would be available on a majority of TTC services by the end of 2015.

The Presto system will be accepted on all streetcars and a few subway stations by the end of this year, according to the 2015 Customer Charter.

Presto is gradually being rolled out in the TTC. “Our ultimate solution is to have Presto throughout the whole system,” said Aikins.

TTC and GO are not waiting for the Presto rollout because there was pressure from councillors to provide short-term options for transit relief, said Aikins.  This pressure resulted in the GO TTC sticker partnership.

The GO Sticker is a short-term fix, while the introduction of Presto is expected to be the long term solution, said Aikins.

The GO Sticker pilot project concludes in January 2016.