GO fund me please: What GO transit’s new student discount means for commuters

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By Prapti Bamaniya

Some Ryerson students say they are glad GO Transit is doubling its current student discount for Presto card users starting March 14.

GO Transit announced on March 1 that it will now cut 40 per cent off the adult fare for post-secondary students and youth aged 13 to 19. The student fare price, originally available only to those who attended school, will now be called a “youth fare price,” available to customers regardless of enrollment, broadening current eligibility.

“Just this week I probably spent 50 dollars already on transit…so that’s a good thing for me,” said Faizah Alam, a second-year business technology management student who commutes to campus from Brampton on the GO train.

Rhiannon Pinkerton, a second-year master’s student in environmental management and applied sciences, commutes about six times per week. “They should be doing [discounts], especially with the way rent prices are rising in Toronto and the [Greater Toronto Area],” she said. 

A recent rental report released by Rentals.ca and Bullpen Research and Consulting found an annual increase of about 11 per cent in rent this year compared to February 2021. That means the average Torontonian could be paying $2,495 by the end of this year, according to Narcity

“It is frustrating when you already tapped on the GO train, and you already spent so much money”

GO Transit also announced that starting March 14, local transit will be free for customers connecting to and from GO Transit on a number of municipal transit systems through the agency’s co-fare agreements. This includes Mississauga’s Mi-Way system as well as Durham Region Transit, Brampton Transit, Hamilton Street Railway, York Region Transit and more. 

Noticeably absent from the announcement was the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The agency currently does not have a co-fare agreement in place with GO Transit.

“It is frustrating when you already tapped on the GO train, and you already spent so much money…[then] you have to probably spend another additional [TTC] fare,” said Alam. 

Under the previous provincial government led by the Liberals in 2018, the TTC and Metrolinx had an agreement that offered a $1.50 discount per trip on fares when a customer would transfer between the TTC and GO Transit using their Presto card. That program expired in March 2020 under the current Progressive Conservative government due to budget cuts.

Ontario Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Nicholas Rodrigues said the new changes are just one part of the work taking place to make transit more affordable. “This work is ongoing and we will continue to make transit simple, convenient and affordable at a regional and local level,” Rodrigues said in an email to The Eyeopener

“Better coordinated fares and service will make choosing local and regional transit in the [Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area] more affordable for customers, simplify the customer experience and help to rebuild ridership as we recover from COVID-19.”

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said the agency has “expressed [its] desire to be part of the [GO Transit] program and continue to discuss this with the province.” 

Pinkerton said she would appreciate a free transfer on the TTC. “I think that’s something the TTC should implement. It would be nice to tap on TTC again for free. Anyone would want that.”

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