Toronto Transit Commission fares
On the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), fares may be paid with various fare media. The price of fares is set according to the age of riders; children 12 years of age or under can ride on the TTC without paying a fare. Additionally, the TTC discounts the price of tokens, tickets, and Presto fares in comparison to cash fares.
Cash fares, tokens, and tickets can be paid directly to the fare box located on all TTC buses and most subway entrances. The TTC is in the process of deprecating traditional fare media in favor of the Presto card, a contactless system of fare media which is already in place at select subway stations and on board all TTC streetcars. Fares are priced per ride, not distance, although distance-based fares have been studied and proposed during the implementation of the Presto card.
- 1 Single-trip fares
- 2 Paper transfers
- 3 Proof-of-payment
- 4 Connection with GO Transit
- 5 Fares
- 6 Passes
- 7 Inter-agency media
- 8 Procedures
- 9 Overnight service
- 10 History of zone fares
- 11 References
- 12 External links
A fare is good for one continuous trip on the TTC, including transfers between routes. The basic fare media are cash, tickets, and tokens. Riders paying using the basic media are entitled to one free transfer per trip, to be obtained when the fare is paid. Transfers are proofs-of-payment and allow riders to switch between most routes without paying additional fares.
Fares paid in cash are the most expensive. Fares paid in tickets or tokens are slightly discounted from the cash fares.
The fare, and the purchase cost of non-cash media, is based on the rider's age.
The Adult group (aged 13 and up) pay the highest fares. The Student (aged 13 to 19) and Senior (aged 65 or older) groups pay a discounted fare if they show supporting identification at the time of payment. Students must produce a Student ID. Seniors may use a TTC Senior's Photo ID or other appropriate photo ID.
Tickets are available for seniors, students and children.
Adult tickets were issued until 29 September 2008, when they were withdrawn due to counterfeiting. Adult tickets were temporarily reissued between 23 November 2009 and 31 January 2010 to alleviate demand on tokens during a fare hike that also withdrew all older tickets and passes.
Tokens are sold only at Adult ticket prices but may be used by all riders.
Unlike cash and tickets, tokens may be used at automated turnstiles. Some subway and RT stations have completely automated entrances.
All tokens have been the same diameter, slightly smaller than a dime.
The tokens used prior to 1954 were brass coins. In 1954, the year the city's first subway opened, these were replaced by light-weight aluminum tokens produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. The new tokens were simply designed with the word "SUBWAY" prominently displayed on both sides.
By 1966, a new brass token was introduced for single-token sales. The brass token used a more elaborate design displaying the TTC crest on the obverse and the TTC logo on the reverse.
New aluminum tokens were introduced in 1975 using the design of the 1966 brass tokens. The 1954 and 1975 tokens remained in circulation until February 2007, when the remaining 30 million were withdrawn due to increased counterfeiting.
The replacement for the 1954 and 1975 tokens was a bi-metal design phased-in starting in November 2006. It replaced the old tokens completely in February 2007.
The 2006 tokens were heavier and more resistant to counterfeiting. 20 million tokens were ordered in 2006. 20 million additional tokens were purchased from Osborne Coinage Company in 2008 for US$2 million; these tokens were used to replace Adult tickets then in circulation.
Counterfeits of the 2006 tokens were discovered in 2010. The counterfeits had the correct mass and dimensions, but had subtle typographic errors and lacked the expensive nickel used in real tokens for durability. The counterfeits did not work in automated turnstiles but could pass undetected by a human collector.
A premium fare is required for the Downtown Express routes; Metropass bearers are not exempted from the extra charge.
The TTC operates a few routes that cross municipal boundaries; a premium fare is charged when crossing the boundary. The amount charged is the equivalent of the normal fare of the transit agency serving the municipality.
Bearers of the GTA Weekly Pass are exempted from the premium fare if they are crossing into a municipality that recognizes the pass. Although Toronto Pearson International Airport is not within Toronto city limits, TTC routes terminating at the airport are not subject to the extra charge.
Paper transfers are an integral component of the TTC's fare system. A transfer is a proof of payment receipt issued when a fare is paid; the transfers allows riders to switch between most routes without paying additional fares. Paper transfers are valid at first available transfer points for one-way continuous trips. On most routes, they are not valid for stopovers. Pass holders are not entitled to transfers.
Surface routes (buses and streetcars) and rapid transit routes (subway and RT) issue different styles of transfers.
On most surface routes, transfers are issued by vehicle operators. The transfers are printed with the route and date, and torn off from a holder that marks the transfer with the time of issue and direction of travel.
Within subway and RT stations, transfers are issued by machines near entry points into the fare-paid zone. The machines print the station's name and date on standardized thermal paper. They were introduced in the mid-1990s, and are not valid on surface vehicles at station where issued. Subway transfers used to be printed on longer paper with a station-specific design in various colours with two rows of TTC logos. The station's name, date and time were printed by the dispenser. The Yonge–University line design lacked the thick middle stripe carried by the Bloor-Danforth line transfer.
On the TTC Flexity streetcars, after a passenger pays their fare at the "Fare and Transfer Vending Machines" (FTVM) a proof-of-payment transfer receipt is automatically dispensed from the FTVM which marks the date, time stop and route where issued.
In 2005, the TTC introduced "time-based" transfers allowing additional free rides within a time limit (up to two hours from the start of the vehicle's journey), even if the passenger makes a stopover or reverses direction. The experiment was linked to the temporary replacement of part of one streetcar route (the 512 St. Clair) by a bus service due to track reconstruction. Time-based transfers are available only on route 512 St. Clair; and on other routes, they are accepted only at normal transfer points.
Tess Kalinowski, writing in the Toronto Star, reported in January 2014 that TTC staff were studying shifting the TTC to a time-based transfer system, as part of introducing new, higher technology fare cards, and that they predicted it would result in a $20 million annual loss of revenue.
Since December 14, 2015, all TTC streetcar lines have operated on a Proof-of-payment (POP) system at all times. Under the POP system passengers must carry proof that they have paid the correct fares, such as a Metropass, paper transfer or Presto card. Passengers can board streetcars with POP at any door. Use of all-door boarding is at the driver's discretion, depending on the number of passengers boarding and weather conditions. The procedure is as follows:
- Passengers with a valid transfer, Metropass, a validated TTC senior/student ticket, POP receipt, or Presto card can board any vehicle at any door, without showing POP. (Curb-side FTVMs, which have been installed at busier stops along POP routes, allow passengers to pay their fare and receive their POP transfer prior to boarding, in which case they may also board at any door.)
- Passengers boarding CLRV/ALRV streetcars without POP must use the front doors, pay at the farebox near the driver and obtain a POP transfer receipt.
- Passengers boarding Flexity streetcars without POP (other than Presto card users) should board through the double doors in the second and fourth modules of each car. They pay their fare at one of two fare and transfer vending machines (FTVMs) on board the vehicle across from the double doors and receive a POP transfer receipt.
- Presto users tap on the Presto payment scanners upon boarding, the card itself serves as POP and it can be used as a transfer to connect with other streetcar lines or to the subway system, for those who are connecting to bus routes a paper transfer is required (since buses are not currently equipped with Presto machines), on the Flexity streetcars, customers must tap their card at one of six readers located at each of the four doorways and then at the FTVM for the paper transfer, on the CLRV/ALRV streetcars customers must board at the front tap the card and ask the operator for a paper transfer.
Passengers must show POP to TTC fare inspectors upon request on which they will be equipped with handheld Presto card machines to verify Presto card payments and check transaction history. A summons such as a fine can be issued if passengers fail to produce POP upon request, and even stiffer penalties such as criminal charges can be applied to repeat offenders.
POP was introduced on the Queen streetcar lines in 1990 to make better use of the Articulated Light Rail Vehicles on the line. Prior to August 2014 the POP system was limited to the Queen routes because these routes do not enter a fare-paid terminal of subway stations, due to concerns of further fare evasion. POP is incompatible with the paperless transfer system used by the subway and RT system. The POP system was extended to the 504 King route on January 1, 2015.
The first full-time POP route, the 510 Spadina, came into effect on August 31, 2014, coinciding with the introduction on that day of new Flexity low-floor streetcars. Another full-time POP route was introduced on the 509 Harbourfront streetcar when the Flexity streetcars began operation on that line on March 29, 2015. Since the summer of 2015, route 511 Bathurst has operated occasionally on a POP system during special events, such as the 2015 Pan American Games and the Canadian National Exhibition, when the Flexity streetcars are used on that line.
The TTC announced during its 2015 TTC customer charter initiative on January 23, 2015 that it planned to extend POP to all remaining streetcar lines on December 14, 2015 with the introduction of the Presto card machines on all streetcar vehicles. The TTC's bus routes are also expected to go POP by the summer/fall of 2016 as the Presto card system is rolled out, by which point POP and all-door boarding would become the standard for all TTC vehicles and routes system-wide.
Connection with GO Transit
Passengers can use GO Transit (at normal GO fares) for an intermediate stage of their journey without having to pay a second TTC fare when they change back to the TTC, although there are few routes where this is useful; this policy is called "TTC Times Two".
These are the fares as of January 3, 2016:
|Single Fare Purchase||$3.25||$2.00||Free|
|Tokens or Tickets||3 tokens for $8.70||5 tickets for $9.75||Free|
These prices took effect on January 3, 2016:
|Fare Type||1 day||1 week||1 month||12 months|
*On weekends, valid for group: maximum of two adults over 19 and six people altogether.
Types of passes
A Day Pass, on a weekday, is valid for one person and is not transferable. On a weekend day or holiday, however, the same pass becomes a Family/Group Pass: this means that a single pass can be used, at no additional charge, by two adults traveling together or by one or two adults accompanied by people aged 19 or younger, with up to six people in the group. The pass can be bought in advance, to be marked with the date only when the owner is ready to use it.
A Weekly Pass is valid for seven days, starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday. The pass is marked for a specific week and is sold only from the preceding Thursday the Tuesday of that week. This pass is valid for one person at a time but can be used by different people at different times. Seniors and high-school students use the same pass, so it can be transferred from one type of user to the other.
The monthly pass is called a Metropass. It is valid for a specific calendar month and is sold from the 24th of the previous month until the fourth working day of its validity. Passengers who sign up to buy 12 months of Metropasses pay a lower rate, as shown above. The Volume Incentive Pass (VIP) program allows part-time post-secondary students, federally and provincially incorporated organizations, limited liability partnerships, hospitals, government departments and agencies, and trade unions to purchase Adult Metropasses in bulk, which are then sold at a lower price than the 12-month discount to the commuter. The pass is transferable under the same rules as the Weekly Pass. Full-time post-secondary students have a distinct Metropass, which can be transferred only to other full-time post-secondary students. Before September 2010, post-secondary institutions issued VIP Metropasses.
Day Passes are printed on card paper; Weekly Passes and Metropasses have a magnetic strip for automatic turnstiles and so, like tokens, work at all subway/RT station entrances whether staffed or not. On surface vehicles, the pass is simply shown to the driver.
A special pass available only to those attending conventions, trade shows, and similar meetings, is not sold to the general public. The TTC issues these passes for the applicable number of days and sells them to the convention operators.
Downtown Express fares
The TTC operates five rush-hour express bus routes serving downtown. In addition to the basic fare, the passenger must pay a supplement of one ticket or token, or its equivalent value. For example, an adult can pay with two tokens, or one token plus $2.70 (not $3.00), or $5.70 in cash. Pass users and those transferring from ordinary routes pay only the supplement; for Metropass users there is also the option of buying a sticker (sold only at King and St. Andrew subway stations) for $38.50 that covers use of the downtown express buses for the full month.
Express buses in other parts of the city charge regular fares.
Senior and Student Discount ID Pass
The seniors pass was created in the 1980s (valid with driver's licence/government-issued photo ID), with the additional capability of the same pass being used by students (with a TTC-issued photo ID card) some time later.
Post-secondary student passes
While the Senior/Student Metropass and other student fares were available only to high-school students, a separate Post-Secondary Student Metropass became available to university and college students (likewise requiring TTC-issued photo ID), starting with the September 2010 pass.
In September 2005, the Weekly Pass was introduced. This is a type of Metropass valid for only one week and available with a discount rate similar to that of the Metropass for high school students and seniors. There is no post-secondary student version available.
History of passes
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The TTC has always been cautious about the loss of revenue from selling passes to riders who would otherwise make the same trips and pay more. Passes have been introduced gradually and always been relatively expensive compared to some other transit systems: for example, in the fares adopted in 2014, an adult Metropass must be used for 50 trips in a month or else tickets or tokens would be cheaper. (However, since July 2006, a federal income tax credit has been available on monthly transit passes. For those able to buy a pass and wait for their federal transit tax credit, which is 15%, the threshold is reduced to 43 trips per month.)
The first pass regularly offered on the TTC was the "Sunday or Holiday Pass", introduced in 1973. It allowed group travel on Sundays and holidays, similar to the later Day Pass. However, because the TTC was always heavily used on the last day of the Canadian National Exhibition, the pass was not offered on Labour Day.
The TTC introduced the Metropass in 1980. At that time, there was only one price, based on the adult fare. The pass was not transferable and had to be used with TTC-issued photo ID cards (in about 2000 the TTC also began accepting Ontario driver's licences as ID). A lower-price Metropass for seniors was added in 1984, and for students in 1991 (originally at a slightly higher rate than seniors). The magnetic stripe was added to the pass in 1990, allowing it to operate automatic turnstiles, even though this meant that the user's ID would then not normally be checked.
To combat fraud and sharing the pass amongst riders, a printable box was placed on the right-hand side of the card. To make the pass valid for the month, the commuter hand-printed the digits of either the commuter's Metropass Photo ID card, if the commuter had one, or the commuter's initials and abbreviated gender if the commuter used other ID. The holder of the pass was also required to show the commuter's Metropass Photo ID card or another piece of Government of Ontario-issued identification at the same time that the holder presented their pass.
In 1990, the Sunday or Holiday Pass was replaced by the Day Pass. It remained valid on Sundays and holidays (now also including Labour Day) for groups, but was extended to weekdays and Saturdays as a single-person pass. On weekdays, however, it was not valid until the end of the morning rush hour at 9:30 a.m.
From 1992 to 2009, free parking for Metropass users was provided at certain subway-station parking lots. Some lots were restricted to Metropass users.
In February 1993, the Metropass became the same size as a credit card and could be swiped at subway stations. The new design was a simple mono-coloured and two-shaded design, with the abbreviation of the month in a large font, and the year placed beneath it in the same font and colour. The background of the card's front had a shaded design so as to enable the holder to distinguish the text on the card.
At about the same time, the TTC introduced an Annual Metropass, good for a whole year. As a higher-cost option, the pass was available in transferable form: the first transferable pass on the TTC. Both versions were soon withdrawn and replaced by the 12-month discount plan for the regular monthly pass.
Around 1994, the TTC began announcing specific periods around Christmas, and sometimes other holidays, when the Day Pass would be accepted as a group pass on any day. Starting around 2002, they also offered transferable weekly passes during certain weeks.
From July 1996 to March 2004, the pass carried a faux gold-stamped version of the Toronto Transit Commission's seal.
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In 2000, the design was altered to include the "Toronto Millennium" logo, celebrating the changeover to a new millennium.
In April 2004, the Metropass changed its design to a multi-colour vertical gradient, along with a different type of faux gold-imprinted "Metropass" logo (it uses the unique TTC font used in several subway stations). The colours and pattern of the gradient vary from month to month. In addition, the year was now printed in a bold font at the upper right, with the month imprinted in the same faux gold as the Metropass logo.
In 2005, with a political climate including the prospect of subsidies tied to ridership, the TTC became more willing to promote pass usage even at the loss of other fares. First, in March, they extended the Day Pass to be usable by groups on Saturdays. Then in September, the Metropass became transferable (with ID required only to prove eligibility for the senior or student fare), and at the same time, the transferable Weekly Pass was introduced. On the Metropass, the printable anti-fraud box was removed and replaced by wording suggesting the transfer of the pass to others when one was not using it.
Though the reverse side of the pass has always had the conditions of use printed on the reverse, it did not see much updating until the passes were made transferable in 2005, at which point a "No 'Pass Back'" rule was added: in essence, a rider who enters the system using a pass must not hand it to someone outside the fare-paid area, which would allow both to use it at once.
In February 2006, to reduce lineups at the collector booths, the TTC introduced vending machines (accepting payment by debit card only) at some subway stations for the Weekly Pass and the Metropass. In April 2006, the Day Pass became valid all day on weekdays.
On certain special occasions the TTC has offered passes with other periods of validity as appropriate. These have included the Papal Visits of 1984 and 2002.
The TTC redesigned its Metropasses to include custom holograms and a yellow "activation" sticker, beginning with the July 2009 Metropasses, due to widespread counterfeiting of the Metropasses between January and May 2009. In addition, removing the "activation" sticker reveals a thin film, which is used to prevent the reapplication of the sticker, and removing the film would leave a sticky residue, in which dirt and other particles can obscure the hologram. The thin film reads, "Do not remove," to prevent curious Metropass users from removing it.
The TTC offers the Metropass Hot Dealz [sic], in which a current Metropass user and three guests can receive an admission discount at various venues and events, such as Casa Loma, the CN Tower, the Hockey Hall of Fame, Ontario Place, the Ontario Science Centre, and the Toronto Zoo.
See also the Fares outside Toronto section below
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GTA Weekly Pass
The GTA Weekly Pass is valid on the TTC, MiWay, York Region Transit, and Brampton Transit. It is good for unlimited travel for seven days starting on a Monday. It is sold at selected locations on starting the Thursday before the week of use, until Tuesday on the week of use.
Pass bearers are exempted from the extra charge for crossing the municipal boundary between areas served by the four participating agencies. Bearers are not exempted from the extra charges for certain "premium" and "express" routes.
The pass was introduced in 1994 based on a recommendation of the provincial government. The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) provided a subsidy at the onset, but this was withdrawn in 1998. Revenues from pass sales are split between the participating agencies.
The provincial Minister of Transportation announced plans to introduce the Presto card, a unified smartcard-based payment system for the entire Greater Toronto Area similar to the OPUS card used in Montreal, and the Octopus card used in Hong Kong. It was introduced on October 2008 (after trials were completed by GO Transit in Mississauga from June 25, 2007 to September 30, 2008).
Presto card readers on the TTC are available at 26 subway stations and on the Flexity streetcars on routes 511, 510 and 509. Future Flexity vehicles will be equipped with the system upon delivery, and existing CLRVs and ALRVs have been retrofitted with Presto card machines and went into operation on December 14, 2015. The bus system and all remaining subway stations will be equipped with Presto by the end of 2016.
Fares on the provincially operated GO Transit are separate from TTC fares, for travel within and outside of Toronto. A "Twin Pass", which combined a Metropass with a monthly GO Transit ticket for a specific journey at a discount compared to their individual prices, was available from 1988 until 2002.
Tickets, tokens, and passes may be bought on the subway and RT system at staffed collector booths. They may also be purchased around Toronto at over 1200 Authorized TTC Fare Media Sellers.
Tokens may be bought at stations from vending machines, while some stations also have pass vending machines. Two ticket machines in Pearson Airport's Terminal 1 sells tokens and single-fare tickets using cash or credit cards.
A new type of ticket machine, called a "Fare and Transfer Vending Machine", are located on board new Flexity Outlook streetcars (at the second and fourth modules of each car near the double doors), which were first introduced on the Spadina line in 2014. They may also be found at busier stops along streetcars routes using proof-of-payment. These machines dispense transfers when payment is made using tokens, cash, or Presto card, and are also designed to accept credit and debit cards.
Subway and RT stations
All subway and RT stations have at least one fare collector's booth where single-ride cash fares are paid, and cardboard tickets and metal tokens are sold and can be used. There are also automatic turnstiles operated by tokens, and some stations have unattended secondary entrances with automatic turnstiles only.
Tickets are available for students and seniors, but do not operate the automatic turnstiles. Turnstiles are operated only by adult fare tokens. Tokens are sold in the collector's booth, and from automatic machines that accept $10 and $20 bills.
Buses and streetcars
On most surface vehicles (buses and streetcars), fares are deposited into a farebox near the driver. Tickets and tokens are accepted but are not sold; passengers must buy them in advance at a subway/RT station or an authorized TTC retailer. Single-ride fares must be paid with exact cash; change is not given. Presto card users on streetcars tap their card on the card readers located at each set of doors on the vehicles.
(The exact-fare policy was introduced in 1975. Before that, retail stores did not sell TTC fare media; tokens were sold only at subway stations, but surface route drivers sold tickets and made change for cash fares.)
All TTC streetcar lines employ a proof-of-payment (honour) system, allowing all-door boarding since December 14, 2015. On the Flexity vehicles since the driver sits in an fully enclosed cab, they do not monitor fare payments. Fare payment on Flexity vehicles are as follows:
- Cash or tokens must be inserted into one of two "Fare and Transfer Vending Machines", which will then dispense a proof-of-payment receipt. When paying with cash, the machines are also able to produce pre-validated adult, student, and senior tickets.
- Tickets for senior, or student fares must be validated by inserting them into one of the two smaller, red "TTC Ticket Validator" machines beside the larger "Fare and Transfer Vending Machines".
- Presto card users tap their card when boarding the vehicle at one of six readers located at each of the four doorways; for those connecting to bus routes, customers must tap their card again on the "Fare and Transfer Vending Machine" to receive a proof-of-payment transfer receipt. The card itself can be used as proof-of-payment when requested by officials since they are equipped with handheld machines to confirm that a passenger has tapped the card as well as to check recent card transaction history.
The TTC's Blue Night Network charges the normal TTC fares. The overnight period is considered, for purposes of TTC passes, as part of the preceding traffic day: in effect, the date changes at 5:30 a.m. or the start of daytime service, not at midnight.
History of zone fares
From 1921 until 1953, one TTC fare was good for any distance within the City of Toronto. Where were routes extending outside the city, extra fares were charged.
In 1954, Metropolitan Toronto ("Metro") was created, covering the whole present area of the City of Toronto. The TTC took on responsibility for transit within the entire area. A flat fare was not considered to be feasible for so large an area; so the TTC created the Central Zone, which roughly incorporated the City of Toronto, and set up a series of concentric semicircular rings around it as Suburban Zone 1, 2, etc., with an additional fare required for each one. Routes extending beyond the Metro limit continued to be separate radial routes, so the zones still had the effect of fare stages, but, within Metro, it became possible to change buses within a suburban zone. This external link shows a route map of this period. The (roughly rectangular) Metro limit is not marked on the map, but Suburban Zone 2 extends to just reach this limit in the north and the southwest only; the Port Credit bus and part of the North Yonge bus are the only TTC routes then extending outside Metro.
In 1956, Suburban Zones 1 and 2 were combined as Zone 2 and the Central Zone became the new Zone 1.
During this early period, the outer zones within Metro were relatively undeveloped and bus routes in them were sparse; but as development increased, there was pressure for lower suburban fares, and in 1962 the outer boundary of Zone 2 was extended to all the way to the Metro limit. Higher fares, still on a zonal basis along each radial route, now applied only on the few routes running beyond Metro; in effect, the zone boundaries outside Zone 2 had changed from semicircles to rough rectangles. (Eventually the zones along each remaining route beyond Metro were combined and the fares coordinated with those of adjacent transit agencies; see below.)
In 1968, the Bloor–Danforth Subway was extended east and west through the boundary between Zones 1 and 2, but the subway remained part of Zone 1. On January 21, 1973, with construction already well advanced on a similar extension of the Yonge–University Subway, the TTC acceded to pressure to abolish the zone boundary, and all of Metro (now the unified City of Toronto) gained service at a single flat fare. (The new subway stations on both lines in what had been Zone 2 had not been designed for the change: their bus terminals were outside of the subway's fare-paid area. The layout of some stations allowed this to be easily corrected by moving the fare barrier, but at other stations this was unfeasible and they were not reconfigured until a later renovation, if at all.)
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The TTC is considering switching to time-based transfers but the switch will cost the transit agency millions in lost fares
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- Fare media
- Surface transfers from 1944-1955 (Transit Toronto)
- Subway transfers from the late-1980s and early-1990s (Primary Access Node)