Why New Transfer Rules Would Benefit Toronto’s Most Marginalized

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is considering switching its single-trip transfer system to a more flexible time-based system allowing short return trips to be made without paying twice. Low-income and marginalized riders stand to benefit most.

2 minute read

January 31, 2014, 1:00 PM PST

By Kasper_O_Koblauch

Hearing the appeal of its riders, the TTC is investigating the possibility of switching to a time-based transfer system which would allow riders to re-enter the system travelling in any direction within either a 90 or 120 minute transfer window. The current system permits only one-way continuous trips and prohibits backtracking.

The time-based system - already the standard in many North American cities - would allow riders to make quick errands on a single fare but as Ben Spurr writes, “the new transfers’ most important effect would be to make public transit more equitable, by providing fare relief to the vulnerable groups who rely on the TTC the most.” 

“In Toronto (as elsewhere) low-income earners are the biggest users of public transit. According to a 2010 study, 56 per cent of households earning less than $24,000 a year did not own a car, compared to 29 per cent of households making $40,000 or more.”

Transit users in Toronto are also disproportionately female (58.2%). Dr. Kara Santokie, project director for the Toronto Women’s City Alliance says “’timed transfers would ease the burden on low-income women, who are disproportionately new immigrants or from racialized groups, by allowing them to make round trips on a single fare. That’s especially important as fares continue to rise year after year.’”

Scrapping single-trip transfers would also relieve bus and streetcar operators the onerous duty of enforcing the system. The TTC estimated the switch would cost $20 million annually in lost revenue.

Monday, January 27, 2014 in Now Magazine

Black and white Rideshare Pick-Up Zone sign

The Slow Death of Ride Sharing

From the beginning, TNCs like Lyft and Uber touted shared rides as their key product. Now, Lyft is ending the practice.

June 1, 2023 - Human Transit

Red on white 'Room for Rent, Inquire Inside' sign

In Most U.S. Cities, Archaic Laws Limit Roommate Living

Critics argue laws preventing unrelated adults from living in the same home fail to understand the modern American household.

May 24, 2023 - The Atlantic

Vancouver Chuck Wolfe

Ten Signs of a Resurgent Downtown

In GeekWire, Chuck Wolfe continues his exploration of a holistic and practical approach to post-pandemic urban center recovery, anchored in local context and community-driven initiatives that promote livability, safety, and sustainability.

May 24, 2023 - GeekWire

Self-driving Mercedes semi truck on highway with white semi truck behind it

California Moves to Limit Autonomous Trucks

A bill passed by the State Assembly and moving on to the Senate would require autonomous semi trucks to have a trained human operator in the vehicle.

June 2 - The Sacramento Bee

Minnesota state capitol building with red flowers on green front lawn

Minnesota Budget Includes Significant Transit Investments

After a contentious debate, the state legislature passed a budget that changes how transportation projects are funded and supports increased transit service in the state.

June 2 - Governing

A vacant lot between two one-story brick buildings with graffiti in Detroit, Michigan

Proposed Land Value Tax Plan in Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan proposes hiking property taxes for vacant land and buildings while lowering the rate for occupied homes and businesses in a split tax plan he contends will resolve many of Detroit's blight and high property tax woes.

June 2 - The Detroit News

Project Manager III

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

UDO Transportation Planner

City of Charlotte - Charlotte Area Transit

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.