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Metro Hall Mtg. Update: Tue Nov 11: 7pm*: Fare integration


Ed Drass
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How will GTA transit fares affect the regional transport network? Metrolinx has responded to a series of questions on the topic -- see bottom.

Tue Nov 11 Room 303: Fare Integration and Effect on Capacity

Time: *7pm, with moment of silence at 7:11pm

Metro Hall, 55 John St. @ King, about three blocks from Union Station.

Directions: Although Metro Hall is technically closed, the Facilities Management department has booked us space this evening. Use the John St. entrance just south of King St. (two stops west of University on the 504 King car) and find the handicapped accessible door.

Push the intercom button -- it looks “like a big mushroom” says security ;^) -- and mention you’re going to the “Transit” meeting in room 303.

The third floor is usually accessed by both escalator and elevator -- look for signs to room 303.

These topics may be updated to allow for Metrolinx involvement -- stay tuned. 7pm start times, at Metro Hall.

Tue Nov 18 Room 303: Goods movement, railways and highways

Tue Nov 25 Room 303: Budget and timeline for The Big Move

Also see transitforum.ca

An excellent source of news and public meetings is http://transit.toronto.on.ca/

====================

NOTABLE DATES:

Thu Nov 13: Transportation Futures: Road Pricing Forum

InterContinental Hotel Toronto-Yorkville www.rccao.com/events

----

Fri Nov 14: Last day for public comment on Draft Regional Transportation Plan and Draft Investment Strategy

http://metrolinx-consult.limehouse.com/portal

----

Fri Nov 21: The Canadian Urban Institute and Metrolinx present an Urban Leadership seminar:

Maintaining Mobility in a Fast-Growing Region: Can We Make the Land Use Work?

Starts 7:30am > reserve via canurb.com

=================

Latest column, on GTA transit fares

http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/comment/article/139045

In Transit columns at metronews.ca/intransit

=================

These queries were submitted to Metrolinx, with replies.

Question: What is the status of Metrolinx discussions with local transit agencies on fare integration?

(Answer: No formal discussions have taken place. Metrolinx is currently examining the travel behaviour patterns of various transit user groups (seniors, students, adults, etc) and non-user groups (auto users that are seniors, adults, students, etc.) in more micro level detail than the broad regional macro level strategic work undertaken for the RTP. This is part of ongoing FISC (Fare Integration and Service Coordination) work that started in Feb. 2008 and is currently in progress.)

Question: Is Metrolinx starting with the position that the same fare will apply regardless of mode? (For example, traveling from point A to B entirely by local transit = same fare as going by local transit + express rail = same fare as local transit + GO bus)

(Answer: Metrolinx has not yet determined the various options to evaluate, but you've raised an interesting point. Please note that GO Transit currently operates express trains and the entire fare structure is based on fare by distance).

Q: How will Metrolinx "integrate" GTA fares to encourage GTA transit ridership before Presto farecard is rolled out?

(Answer: Technology, such as the Presto farecard is definitely beneficial in offering many possible fare options for customers, but is not required to integrate fares. For example, significant ridership increases occurred in large regional areas, such as Greater Montreal through the use of a regional "flash card" called the "Tram" card (a customer simply shows the pass to the transit operator/collector as with any monthly pass) that was attractively priced, heavily subsidized by the province and available on several different modes (bus, commuter rail and subway/Metro). Metrolinx will examine a number of fare options based on economic feasibility and availability of funds given the current economic downturn.)

Q: Is Metrolinx studying GTAer's preferences, and have a preference between:

1. Zone fares;

2. Fare-by-distance;

3. Time-based fares?

(Answer: Metrolinx has not yet determined the various options to evaluate, but you've raised some interesting options. Please note that a zone system already exists today in the GTHA, which is a combination of zone fares based on current municipal boundaries and fare by distance used by GO Transit).

Q: What is expected increase in transit ridership (M) & modal split (% Toronto/% 905's) anticipated with GTA Fare Integration (i.e. less than current two-fare penalty?)

(Answer: Metrolinx is in the early stages of data analysis and has not yet determined expected ridership increases nor changes in modal split).

Q: Does Metrolinx have an estimate of the annual operating cost of providing GTA fare integration?

(Answer: We do know from some preliminary analysis at a high macro level that eliminating the second fare when crossing the Toronto boundary would cost millions of dollars, however, this work is still in progress and likely won't be available for public release until mid-2009.)

Q: Does Metrolinx have an estimate of Operating savings if all buses are able to accept all fare media and pick-up passengers (e.g. hours and kilometres saved by minimizing duplication and no pick-ups along boundary routes and to subways: i.e. Steeles; Yonge to/from Finch; to/from Downsview, to/from Islington/Kipling, to/from Don Mills, etc.)

(Answer: Metrolinx is currently undertaking a FISC (Fare Integration and Service Coordination) study that started in Feb. 2008 to determine improved coordination of services and reduced duplication in the west corridors from Mississauga (TTC/Mississauga Transit) serving the Kipling and Islington subway stations and in the north corridor between the Downsview Subway Station and York University (TTC/YRT).

Our approach and basic principle is that transit services and routes should be planned as if no municipal boundary was present in order to meet the needs of the customer. A report to the Metrolinx Board is expected in the 1st quarter of 2009.)

Q: All GTA Transit properties save TTC have time-based transfers and fares. The TTC has one-way transfer which makes programming the Presto farecard algorithm much more complex and expensive. Is Metrolinx negotiating with TTC to adopt time-based transfer (expand St. Clair test)?

(Answer: No - Metrolinx is not negotiating with the TTC on timed-based transfers. We are aware that there are many transit systems in Canada using timed-based transfers as a method of improving services for customers. It is not driven by technology, but by providing better service to customers.)

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How will GTA transit fares affect the regional transport network? Metrolinx has responded to a series of questions on the topic -- see bottom.

Tue Nov 11 Room 303: Fare Integration and Effect on Capacity

Time: *7pm, with moment of silence at 7:11pm

Metro Hall, 55 John St. @ King, about three blocks from Union Station.

Directions: Although Metro Hall is technically closed, the Facilities Management department has booked us space this evening. Use the John St. entrance just south of King St. (two stops west of University on the 504 King car) and find the handicapped accessible door.

Push the intercom button -- it looks “like a big mushroom” says security ;^) -- and mention you’re going to the “Transit” meeting in room 303.

The third floor is usually accessed by both escalator and elevator -- look for signs to room 303.

These topics may be updated to allow for Metrolinx involvement -- stay tuned. 7pm start times, at Metro Hall.

Tue Nov 18 Room 303: Goods movement, railways and highways

Tue Nov 25 Room 303: Budget and timeline for The Big Move

Also see transitforum.ca

An excellent source of news and public meetings is http://transit.toronto.on.ca/

====================

NOTABLE DATES:

Thu Nov 13: Transportation Futures: Road Pricing Forum

InterContinental Hotel Toronto-Yorkville www.rccao.com/events

----

Fri Nov 14: Last day for public comment on Draft Regional Transportation Plan and Draft Investment Strategy

http://metrolinx-consult.limehouse.com/portal

----

Fri Nov 21: The Canadian Urban Institute and Metrolinx present an Urban Leadership seminar:

Maintaining Mobility in a Fast-Growing Region: Can We Make the Land Use Work?

Starts 7:30am > reserve via canurb.com

=================

Latest column, on GTA transit fares

http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/comment/article/139045

In Transit columns at metronews.ca/intransit

=================

These queries were submitted to Metrolinx, with replies.

Question: What is the status of Metrolinx discussions with local transit agencies on fare integration?

(Answer: No formal discussions have taken place. Metrolinx is currently examining the travel behaviour patterns of various transit user groups (seniors, students, adults, etc) and non-user groups (auto users that are seniors, adults, students, etc.) in more micro level detail than the broad regional macro level strategic work undertaken for the RTP. This is part of ongoing FISC (Fare Integration and Service Coordination) work that started in Feb. 2008 and is currently in progress.)

Question: Is Metrolinx starting with the position that the same fare will apply regardless of mode? (For example, traveling from point A to B entirely by local transit = same fare as going by local transit + express rail = same fare as local transit + GO bus)

(Answer: Metrolinx has not yet determined the various options to evaluate, but you've raised an interesting point. Please note that GO Transit currently operates express trains and the entire fare structure is based on fare by distance).

Q: How will Metrolinx "integrate" GTA fares to encourage GTA transit ridership before Presto farecard is rolled out?

(Answer: Technology, such as the Presto farecard is definitely beneficial in offering many possible fare options for customers, but is not required to integrate fares. For example, significant ridership increases occurred in large regional areas, such as Greater Montreal through the use of a regional "flash card" called the "Tram" card (a customer simply shows the pass to the transit operator/collector as with any monthly pass) that was attractively priced, heavily subsidized by the province and available on several different modes (bus, commuter rail and subway/Metro). Metrolinx will examine a number of fare options based on economic feasibility and availability of funds given the current economic downturn.)

Q: Is Metrolinx studying GTAer's preferences, and have a preference between:

1. Zone fares;

2. Fare-by-distance;

3. Time-based fares?

(Answer: Metrolinx has not yet determined the various options to evaluate, but you've raised some interesting options. Please note that a zone system already exists today in the GTHA, which is a combination of zone fares based on current municipal boundaries and fare by distance used by GO Transit).

Q: What is expected increase in transit ridership (M) & modal split (% Toronto/% 905's) anticipated with GTA Fare Integration (i.e. less than current two-fare penalty?)

(Answer: Metrolinx is in the early stages of data analysis and has not yet determined expected ridership increases nor changes in modal split).

Q: Does Metrolinx have an estimate of the annual operating cost of providing GTA fare integration?

(Answer: We do know from some preliminary analysis at a high macro level that eliminating the second fare when crossing the Toronto boundary would cost millions of dollars, however, this work is still in progress and likely won't be available for public release until mid-2009.)

Q: Does Metrolinx have an estimate of Operating savings if all buses are able to accept all fare media and pick-up passengers (e.g. hours and kilometres saved by minimizing duplication and no pick-ups along boundary routes and to subways: i.e. Steeles; Yonge to/from Finch; to/from Downsview, to/from Islington/Kipling, to/from Don Mills, etc.)

(Answer: Metrolinx is currently undertaking a FISC (Fare Integration and Service Coordination) study that started in Feb. 2008 to determine improved coordination of services and reduced duplication in the west corridors from Mississauga (TTC/Mississauga Transit) serving the Kipling and Islington subway stations and in the north corridor between the Downsview Subway Station and York University (TTC/YRT).

Our approach and basic principle is that transit services and routes should be planned as if no municipal boundary was present in order to meet the needs of the customer. A report to the Metrolinx Board is expected in the 1st quarter of 2009.)

Q: All GTA Transit properties save TTC have time-based transfers and fares. The TTC has one-way transfer which makes programming the Presto farecard algorithm much more complex and expensive. Is Metrolinx negotiating with TTC to adopt time-based transfer (expand St. Clair test)?

(Answer: No - Metrolinx is not negotiating with the TTC on timed-based transfers. We are aware that there are many transit systems in Canada using timed-based transfers as a method of improving services for customers. It is not driven by technology, but by providing better service to customers.)

The problem is that for example, you live on Finch Ave, and you want to travel to Major Mackenzie, on a round trip. That would cost you $11.00 when you pay both fares. 5 days a week and that's $55.00 per week just to go to work. Considering the distance that you travel, it's quite expensive. Not to mention that it could take you over an hour in each direction. Considering that you could do that in less than half the time with a car, and would cost you must less makes this type of travel unattractive. The fare from Union Station to Newmarket is only $2.00 more, and the distance is significantly more. There needs to be a way to make the distance traveled equal to similar cost. In Japan they have a system where areas of high traffic subsidize those areas that are less traveled. There has to be a system in place that allows a better calculation of distance traveled to make it attractive. $109.00 for a metro pass that gives you unlimited travel requires you to travel 6 round trips a week to make it worth while. It took them 20 years to figure out that allowing it to be transferable would make it more attractive. This backwards thinking has to stop. The more potentially economical you make a product seem the more people would buy it. I think a $80.00 a month metropass would be more attractive.

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I'm glad to see Metrolinx is already giving this true fare integration (not just a common fare card) serious thought. Obviously, this is fraught with financial issues that need to be worked through (e.g. I pay a DRT fare and then transfer to the TTC - how does the TTC cover the cost of my ride). A straight fare by distance system largely eliminates this problem in that if I ride for 4 km on DRT and 3 km on TTC, my total fare simply gets proportionally split between systems - which Presto would be able to handle automatically *provided* that this is worked out in time to allow the on-bus implementations to require swiping when boarding and when exiting.

If a flat fare system is used, Presto would still gather the data that would be needed to subsidize providers for rides originated on other provider - but it would be harder to work out how those costs are covered. It might have to be governmental subsidy.

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My fear is that the people that we want to use transit, will paying more, if we switch to a fare by distance system.

The theory is that you need to find a balance, so that those who go further have to pay more, but those who stay close pay less.

In practice, of course, it may not work out that way.

Dan

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The theory is that you need to find a balance, so that those who go further have to pay more, but those who stay close pay less.

Also, "fare by distance" does not mean that the calculation needs to be linear. It is possible to create a curve that increases or decreases fares in a given distance category according to whatever policy choices are made.

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Also, "fare by distance" does not mean that the calculation needs to be linear. It is possible to create a curve that increases or decreases fares in a given distance category according to whatever policy choices are made.

Very true.

Case in point: GO Transit. The base fare is a higher amount than the incremental cost to pass through each additional fare zone.

Dan

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While I think that a regional flat fare (many of you refer to this as "time-based fare") would attract the most ridership, I would be very concerned about the finances. I think it's going to have to be some sort of fare by distance, but, we have to get a few things right:

  • 416 to 416 local transit costs will have to remain relatively static or an integrated fare system will not fly politically.
  • 905 to 905 local transit costs should also remain relatively static, but I don't expect nearly the same level of political fallout.
  • Inner 905 to 416 local transit costs should be lowered to encourage people to take local buses from their front door instead of driving to the station.
  • Outer 905 to 416 should cost more than inner 905 to 416 due to longer distances. But, more express routes should be implemented to give riders bang for their buck.
  • GO transit cannot exist as a separate fare system to the local transit. By looking at GO lines as "subways to the suburbs" we can bring rapid transit to all corners of the region with much less spent than extending subway lines.

I'm going to be there tonight, and as much as I like seeing the familliars, I'm looking forward to seeing some new faces.

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You don't have to pay $55 a week to go to work at Major Mackenzie from Toronto.

All you got to do is buy a GTA pass at $47 a week that allow you to do all the riding you want to in York, Peel and Toronto at any given time for your travel.

I use this pass close to 60% of my travel trips a year on top of my GO fares.

One card that can be used on 4 transit system allowing you not to worry about the fare structure of those systems or having their fare media.

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I think the easiest way for fare integration would be to make tickets purely time based (ie, 1 dollar buys 30 minutes, etc) which can be used anywhere in the GTA until they expire.

Hmmm, that's actually rather interesting. Supposing it could be made to work, it's strikes the balance needed between the time-based transfer system many systems use and a fare-by-distance system. You pay a smaller fare if you're only going a short distance/only on one bus and you pay a higher fare the longer you ride/the more transfers you intend to make. You can transfer to other modes as much as you want, even staying within the local area, but it also limits how far you can go if you only pay that "$1" (as an example), so fares stay reasonable for both short trips and require additional fare, still at reasonable cost, for longer trips (since if you make a long trip on one bus right across town with your $1/30min transfer your transfer would expire en route, so there's your fare control). There could also be a fare cap set up that you essentially buy a day pass after spending, let's say (for example) $10. On top of this you could still have various incetive passes like the GTA pass and monthly passes etc.

Making the assumption all the fareboxes are made electronic, a printer attached to the farebox could print a transfer based on how much money the individual puts in the farebox. GFI has a printer they call "trim" that programs a magnetic stripe on a transfer it spits for the customer to take, so the technology is there, it just needs to be adapted. As for Presto, there could be two different options for users, a pay as you go system/electronic purse and the ability to put passes on there. You could in theory also have both on one card, say they create "pass zones" based on upper tier municipalities (ie. Peel, York, Halton) or even based on zones similar to ones used by GO Transit, you could buy your monthly pass for your zone zones you travel in most and still load extra credit on there if you travel out of that area and the system would work as above.

There's certainly potential here.

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You don't have to pay $55 a week to go to work at Major Mackenzie from Toronto.

All you got to do is buy a GTA pass at $47 a week that allow you to do all the riding you want to in York, Peel and Toronto at any given time for your travel.

I use this pass close to 60% of my travel trips a year on top of my GO fares.

One card that can be used on 4 transit system allowing you not to worry about the fare structure of those systems or having their fare media.

\

I totally agree with you. I personally think the price is high(I use it also), but I am able to use MT, BT, TTC, AND YRT/Viva. You cannot beat that. It's simple to use, and you do not have to worry if you have enough on your card, especially if you would have to travel various zones.

I personally think that the fare structure is going to be more complex than it needs to be. Making people pay more on local transit just because they travel long distances, is not going to help. I understand that people want to find a balance, but people who live closer to downtown, or to work have more travel options then people like myself, who work in the suburbs, but choose to live in the city, and vice versa.

I highly doubt I'll switch over to Presto when it's implemented, and I honestly think you're going to have a problem convincing other GTA pass users to use the Presto Card, unless it's guaranteed that we will be paying the usual flat fare. I like paying one fare, and not having to worry about "topping up".

I am not against Presto, by any means. But I have a feeling that if a complex zonal system is introduced, where a different cost is deducted depending on where you get off, you won't attract riders to transit.

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\I totally agree with you. I personally think the price is high(I use it also), but I am able to use MT, BT, TTC, AND YRT/Viva. You cannot beat that. It's simple to use, and you do not have to worry if you have enough on your card, especially if you would have to travel various zones.

...

I highly doubt I'll switch over to Presto when it's implemented, and I honestly think you're going to have a problem convincing other GTA pass users to use the Presto Card, unless it's guaranteed that we will be paying the usual flat fare. I like paying one fare, and not having to worry about "topping up".

You're not likely to have a choice but to use Presto. From what I'm hearing, all non-cash fare mechanisms will be replaced by Presto, including your GTA pass.

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I am sure they would have some sort of period pass. Monthly, and weekly passes are too popular to discontinue.

I'm sure that you could get daily, weekly and monthly passes programmed onto Presto. NYC's Metrocard is the same for all fare types (pay-as-you-go, daily, weekly and monthly), I presume that something gets programmed onto the magnetic stripe telling the reader what type of card it is. I don't think you can switch between Pay-as-you-go and Fixed period formats. Ideally these types of cards would have different designs in order to differentiate, but I guess it was a cost-saving measure when the cards were tendered.

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Would depend on what form the fare integration takes. For all we know, all period passes could be GTA-wide.

However, GO is dropping period passes with the advent of Presto. Instead, there will be progressive discounts the more you ride.

If a common fare mechanism ends up being distance or time based, it would be hard to see how a true monthly pass could work. GO's current monthly pass is only useful for regular commuting use. It's actually kind of annoying that I give GO $200 per month to get to work and yet if I want to go downtown on a weekend, I have to pay full price unless I choose to ride the bus to York Mills and take the subway downtown from there.

(Actually, this isn't really a problem since if I'm going downtown with my wife, I can just sponge off her).

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Don't forget Milton :lol:

Milton at this point does not have any direct connections to any of its neighbouring systems (Mississauga, Oakville or Burlington). Unless they work out some sort of local fare agreement between Milton, GO and either Oakville or Mississauga Transit similar to what DRT and YRT have.

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Milton at this point does not have any direct connections to any of its neighbouring systems (Mississauga, Oakville or Burlington). Unless they work out some sort of local fare agreement between Milton, GO and either Oakville or Mississauga Transit similar to what DRT and YRT have.

There won't be a need to make an agreement with Oakville Transit because a GTA-wide agreement will be in place.

And with respect to GO, I'm sure that their plans are well underway, and I wonder how easily they will be brought into the fold if the Metrolinx vision is significantly different than the vision they've been working on.

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I keep forgeting that Milton has a transit system! haha! Yes. Add add Milton too. And I agree. We should not be bound by agency connectivity.

However, GO is dropping period passes with the advent of Presto. Instead, there will be progressive discounts the more you ride.

If a common fare mechanism ends up being distance or time based, it would be hard to see how a true monthly pass could work. GO's current monthly pass is only useful for regular commuting use. It's actually kind of annoying that I give GO $200 per month to get to work and yet if I want to go downtown on a weekend, I have to pay full price unless I choose to ride the bus to York Mills and take the subway downtown from there.

(Actually, this isn't really a problem since if I'm going downtown with my wife, I can just sponge off her).

I remember, when I used to buy student Monthly passes between Union Station,and Brampton, I had access to not only to the train/Train Bus service, but also the service between Brampton, and Yorkmills, and I was able to get on the bus at any stops along the routes, as long I did not go further than Union, or Brampton. It was very useful actually. I used to use my pass for local travel within Brampton. I do not know if that policy changed, but that is how I used to travel to Toronto on the weekends.

I couldn't use York Mills service with my Trinity Common Express pass though.

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But the whole point of fare integration is to be able to use a single payment system and rate plan to get from A to B. We're not bound by the lack of direct connections.

Agreed. And at any rate, fare integration will take a few years to sort out a plan and another year or two to plan for implementation (including Presto modifications), so Milton will likely have direct connections by then.

I remember, when I used to buy student Monthly passes between Union Station,and Brampton, I had access to not only to the train/Train Bus service, but also the service between Brampton, and Yorkmills, and I was able to get on the bus at any stops along the routes, as long I did not go further than Union, or Brampton. It was very useful actually. I used to use my pass for local travel within Brampton. I do not know if that policy changed, but that is how I used to travel to Toronto on the weekends.

That policy still exists. I sometimes get off my North York-Ajax trip at STC for shopping, and I've even taken GO between York Mills and Yorkdale on that pass.

Still, the money you pay for a monthly pass on one route should at least entitle you to a discount on another route, I'd think - particularly when the route about the same length.

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