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Transit Fares for CNIB Card Holders in the GTHA


UpLift Vancouver
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Hello,

I am looking into visiting the GTHA for approximately 2 weeks this September, but I have hit a snag: as I hold a CNIB card (yes, I am legally blind), I am trying to figure out how the various agencies handle fares for people who hold such cards.

So far I have only figured out one agency's fare policy for valid CNIB card holders: MiWay, which allows those holding valid CNIB cards to ride free, as is the case here in BC (TransLink & all BC Transit systems) where I am coming from.

As for the TTC, while they do have their version of a CNIB card available, that is for legally blind residents of the city of Toronto only, so that will not work for me, so I need another solution for getting past Presto subway station fare barriers as a visitor holding another agency's CNIB card.

I plan on flying in via the YXX to YHM route, so HSR, GO & TTC are the more important agencies I need information on for my situation, but I would love to know about how the other agencies handle fares for CNIB card holders visiting from outside the GTHA as well.

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7 hours ago, UpLift Vancouver said:

Hello,

I am looking into visiting the GTHA for approximately 2 weeks this September, but I have hit a snag: as I hold a CNIB card (yes, I am legally blind), I am trying to figure out how the various agencies handle fares for people who hold such cards.

So far I have only figured out one agency's fare policy for valid CNIB card holders: MiWay, which allows those holding valid CNIB cards to ride free, as is the case here in BC (TransLink & all BC Transit systems) where I am coming from.

As for the TTC, while they do have their version of a CNIB card available, that is for legally blind residents of the city of Toronto only, so that will not work for me, so I need another solution for getting past Presto subway station fare barriers as a visitor holding another agency's CNIB card.

I plan on flying in via the YXX to YHM route, so HSR, GO & TTC are the more important agencies I need information on for my situation, but I would love to know about how the other agencies handle fares for CNIB card holders visiting from outside the GTHA as well.

Good morning and thanks for reaching out.

I too am visually impaired/legally blind myself and live in Oakville.

I use CNIB card for fare on Oakville, Transit, Burlington Transit, HSR, Brampton, Transit MiWay (Mississauga Transit), YRT (York Region Transit), DRT (Durham Reggion Transit ) as well as the Niagara based agencies.

For GO and the TTC,  I use Presto. I am aware of the TTC's own card for ts residents and I have looked into it, but hadn't followed through as of yet.

To me, Presto is the best way to go. Sure, you'd need a card and load it up using those rel8ad machines, which you can purchase a new card from them, too.

I'm hopeful this information helps you.

Take care. :)

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2 hours ago, newflyerinvero said:

Good morning and thanks for reaching out.

I too am visually impaired/legally blind myself and live in Oakville.

I use CNIB card for fare on Oakville, Transit, Burlington Transit, HSR, Brampton, Transit MiWay (Mississauga Transit), YRT (York Region Transit), DRT (Durham Reggion Transit ) as well as the Niagara based agencies.

For GO and the TTC,  I use Presto. I am aware of the TTC's own card for ts residents and I have looked into it, but hadn't followed through as of yet.

To me, Presto is the best way to go. Sure, you'd need a card and load it up using those rel8ad machines, which you can purchase a new card from them, too.

I'm hopeful this information helps you.

Take care. :)

Thanks for your help. Unfortunately, the TTC CNIB card is only for City of Toronto residents according to the TTC website, so I won't be able to get that. As for GO charging fares on CNIB card holders, that's quite backwards & ableist to be honest. I will be contacting both of those agencies to see what my options are.

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2 hours ago, UpLift Vancouver said:

As for GO charging fares on CNIB card holders, that's quite backwards & ableist to be honest. I will be contacting both of those agencies to see what my options are.

How is charging fares ableist?

The question of whether GO/TTC/etc are accessible to all is a different question. I believe that Mr. Lepofsky has done a lot here. Perhaps more yet is needed to do.

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On 6/23/2022 at 2:15 PM, Ed T. said:

How is charging fares ableist?

The question of whether GO/TTC/etc are accessible to all is a different question. I believe that Mr. Lepofsky has done a lot here. Perhaps more yet is needed to do.

As someone who can't drive at all due to my visual impairment being that bad, I'm one of those who believes transit should be more accessible & affordable to those in my situation.

While I do wish all fares were free for disabled passengers that can't drive, I understand that not all transport companies are able to do so. Charging fares isn't as bad as one might think as long as there is at the least some form of discount or reduced fare rates in place for disabled passengers holding valid proof of disability. Take BC Ferries for example: while I still get charged a fare if I take one of their services, I get 50% off when I show my CNIB card, making it slightly more affordable for me.

Does GO at least offer reduced fares for disabled passengers?

Edit: I have contacted GO, confirmed they do not allow solo travelers holding CNIB cards to travel free unless they bring along a support person for a 2 for 1 fare. I will get a Presto card to use with their services.

Edited by UpLift Vancouver
Updated information after hearing directly from GO Transit.
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4 hours ago, UpLift Vancouver said:

I will get a Presto card to use with their services.

If you plan on just taking the one GO trip from hamilton to toronto, you would be better off just buying a single ride ticket from the GO machine. 

As for the TTC, im assuming you will be riding around quite a bit. You may want to consider buying day passes, which come on paper tickets and can be bought from the black machines at any subway station. They cost 13.50 which means if you take 5 or more rides in one day you saved money by getting it.

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4 hours ago, UpLift Vancouver said:

Does GO at least offer reduced fares for disabled passengers?

Edit: I have contacted GO, confirmed they do not allow solo travelers holding CNIB cards to travel free unless they bring along a support person for a 2 for 1 fare. I will get a Presto card to use with their services.

If you are looking to get a Presto card, you can get one at both Terminal 1 and 3 if you are landing at Pearson International Airport. Just make sure you follow the signs for public transit. The Presto ticket machines are also for purchasing Presto one ride, two ride and day passes. Day passes are only available on a Presto ticket and cannot be loaded onto a Presto card. 

On top, the Presto day pass ticket shouldn't be tapped unless you intend to use for the entire day because they expire at 3 AM the next day. The bonus is that you can use any entrance on the subway and not be fixed to the main entrance which is the staffed ones that would let you through if paying with cash. All subway entrances on the TTC have Presto devices to purchase tickets or load a card.

Presto cards give you the lowest discounted fare on all transit agencies that use the Presto card system. 

If you are taking Go Transit on the weekends, you can buy a day pass or even a weekend pass. They are only good for Saturday and Sunday except for statutory holidays. Labour Day is the only statutory holiday which would turn the weekend pass into three days. Those passes are good for the entire system from what I have heard, but make sure you include a start and end point because Go Transit is based on fare zones. The issue is that you need a mobile device with cellular data which once you activate it (it requires 5 minutes), you simply show it to the operator or the revenue protection officer if on-board a train. 

Weekend day pass and two day passes expire at 3 AM which is when Go Transit changes their service day. $10 for one day and $15 for two days (Saturday and Sunday).

Metrolinx who owns Go Transit said they would make the day/weekend pass products available on Presto, but so far no dice. Wanted to mention that option if you are planning to take Go Transit on the weekends, it is a cheaper option to go anywhere on their network. 

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5 hours ago, GTAmissions1 said:

If you are looking to get a Presto card, you can get one at both Terminal 1 and 3 if you are landing at Pearson International Airport. Just make sure you follow the signs for public transit. The Presto ticket machines are also for purchasing Presto one ride, two ride and day passes. Day passes are only available on a Presto ticket and cannot be loaded onto a Presto card. 

On top, the Presto day pass ticket shouldn't be tapped unless you intend to use for the entire day because they expire at 3 AM the next day. The bonus is that you can use any entrance on the subway and not be fixed to the main entrance which is the staffed ones that would let you through if paying with cash. All subway entrances on the TTC have Presto devices to purchase tickets or load a card.

Presto cards give you the lowest discounted fare on all transit agencies that use the Presto card system. 

If you are taking Go Transit on the weekends, you can buy a day pass or even a weekend pass. They are only good for Saturday and Sunday except for statutory holidays. Labour Day is the only statutory holiday which would turn the weekend pass into three days. Those passes are good for the entire system from what I have heard, but make sure you include a start and end point because Go Transit is based on fare zones. The issue is that you need a mobile device with cellular data which once you activate it (it requires 5 minutes), you simply show it to the operator or the revenue protection officer if on-board a train. 

Weekend day pass and two day passes expire at 3 AM which is when Go Transit changes their service day. $10 for one day and $15 for two days (Saturday and Sunday).

Metrolinx who owns Go Transit said they would make the day/weekend pass products available on Presto, but so far no dice. Wanted to mention that option if you are planning to take Go Transit on the weekends, it is a cheaper option to go anywhere on their network. 

I will be flying in via the YXX to YHM (Abbotsford to Hamilton) route in my case as it's slightly cheaper than YVR to Pearson. Fortunately I've heard my CNIB card should be accepted on HSR buses by showing it to the driver, so that'll get me from YHM to either Hamilton GO Centre or West Harbour GO depending on which route I decide to take, so I can get a card from a machine at either one of those two stations, though I might just order one online & have it mailed to me before I make the transcontinental flight over so I have it ready to go without needing to stop at a machine. As for dates, I'm eyeballing September 6th to 21st.

The only remaining issue I have left now is getting past the fare barriers at TTC stations since I'm told CNIB card holders can ride TTC services free, but only Toronto residents can get Presto enabled ones that work similar to my TransLink Compass enabled CNIB card. I'm told most TTC stations have a staffed booth at their main entrances, perhaps they can assist me if needed?

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3 hours ago, UpLift Vancouver said:

I will be flying in via the YXX to YHM (Abbotsford to Hamilton) route in my case as it's slightly cheaper than YVR to Pearson. Fortunately I've heard my CNIB card should be accepted on HSR buses by showing it to the driver, so that'll get me from YHM to either Hamilton GO Centre or West Harbour GO depending on which route I decide to take, so I can get a card from a machine at either one of those two stations, though I might just order one online & have it mailed to me before I make the transcontinental flight over so I have it ready to go without needing to stop at a machine. As for dates, I'm eyeballing September 6th to 21st.

The only remaining issue I have left now is getting past the fare barriers at TTC stations since I'm told CNIB card holders can ride TTC services free, but only Toronto residents can get Presto enabled ones that work similar to my TransLink Compass enabled CNIB card. I'm told most TTC stations have a staffed booth at their main entrances, perhaps they can assist me if needed?

That is correct. Except now, some stations no longer have the staffed booth anymore which is from Lawrence West to Vaughan Metro Centre. There are some other stations that may not be staffed outside of the corridor I mentioned. Instead they are customer service agents that will usually be at the main entrance where the ticket collector used to be.

Customer service agents are similar to what the people in the ticket collector booth used to do, except they are outside near the main entrance to provide assistance. Each main entrance has one fare gate beside the ticket collector booth that will let you in if you have cash or other kind of payment that is not tied to Presto.

If ordering a Presto card online, make sure it is within 30 days of when you will use it because of the activation process. Especially if you are loading value onto the card, the data is held on for so long before it is refunded back to your original method of payment. Buying one at a ticket machine, they are activated immediately. Just have to note the 24 hour lag time to upload transactions. 

Having the mobile app is handy since you can query your card and see how much value you have left. If you are unable to use the mobile app, you can also use the "card query" at the ticket machines that handle Presto transactions. 

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1 hour ago, GTAmissions1 said:

That is correct. Except now, some stations no longer have the staffed booth anymore which is from Lawrence West to Vaughan Metro Centre. There are some other stations that may not be staffed outside of the corridor I mentioned. Instead they are customer service agents that will usually be at the main entrance where the ticket collector used to be.

All stations are staffed, either by collector or CSA agent. 

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On 6/24/2022 at 9:59 PM, UpLift Vancouver said:

As someone who can't drive at all due to my visual impairment being that bad, I'm one of those who believes transit should be more accessible & affordable to those in my situation.

I would take that as an equity argument, not ableist.

The other question is the purpose of the visit. There are some visits that are forced by circumstances (e.g. health appointments, funerals, etc.) that would argue for fare equity when you arrive in Ontario. On the other hand, if the visit is for "pleasure", it may be hard to argue that transit at your holiday destination should be "affordable" if you have already flown across the country. (I wouldn't think the airline ticket was free?)

There are plenty of people in the city of Toronto, whether they have any impairments or not, who most certainly couldn't afford to fly to Vancouver.

22 hours ago, Kelvin3157 said:

All stations are staffed, either by collector or CSA agent. 

Well, how does one locate them if one can't see them?

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3 hours ago, Ed T. said:

the purpose of the visit

I plan on coming for multiple reasons... a friend of mine who I haven't seen in over 15 years lives out there, I want to check out Line 3 before it shuts down permanently & just transit fanning in a new area to me in general. I kinda saw the high expense coming given decent hotels charge minimum $200+ each night.

3 hours ago, Ed T. said:

it may be hard to argue that transit at your holiday destination should be "affordable"

I tend to expect transit fares to poke a hole in my wallet when travelling outside of Canada, particularly to other areas that have worse transit fragmentation than the GTHA, the San Francisco Bay Area is one such area I have been to where transit fares were all over the place with barely any cooperation between the 20+ agencies there aside from offering a regional card.

When travelling within Canada, I was expecting the vast majority of local transit agencies to accept my CNIB card & allow me to ride free or at a reduced fare while premium services, airlines & private operators still charge, but offer some form of accommodation such as a support person travelling at reduced rates or providing a partial discount. From the sound of things, GO falls under a premium service that offers free travel for a support person riding with a paying disabled passenger.

3 hours ago, Ed T. said:

(I wouldn't think the airline ticket was free?)

Airline tickets are never free, which is as expected, hence why I'm taking the cheaper route flying from YXX to YHM as opposed to the more expensive YVR to YYZ route.

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