When people ask, I say I’m from Toronto. But I actually live in Thornhill, a 15-minute walk from a 53 Steeles East bus stop.
Which means since high school I’ve been enjoying York Region Transit’s time-based transfer system, which lets me take a bus to Yonge and Steeles, run errands and return home within two hours without paying extra.
YRT incorporated this policy — also used in Brampton, Oakville and Mississauga — into the Presto card system, which was recently introduced at a handful of TTC subway stations.
With TTC officials in late January floating the idea of a possible implementation of a time-based transfer system (allowing commuters 90–120 minutes before having to board the second vehicle), we asked midtown people on the move whether it would encourage them to use the TTC more often when getting around in the city.
For me, the answer was obvious: I had to buy a day pass, because I was visiting three subway stations to do the streeter interviews you see on this page.
With a timed transfer, I could have used one token.
Responses weren’t all that different, with most of the dissenters admitting they own a metropass, so a time-based transfer would be useful only if they didn’t.
A “pilot” version of the time-based system was actually implemented in 2005 on the 512 St. Clair streetcar line, to make up for delays caused by the streetcar right-of-way construction.
The program was intended to run only for the duration of the construction, but to this day riders have two hours to board a 512 St Clair streetcar at any stop, in any direction, until the transfer expires.
The TTC has no plans to expand that program, however, despite estimates that it would cost only about $15 million.
On the other hand, it might be for the best.
The YRT is a lot more expensive than the TTC ($4 cash fare or $3.30 using Presto versus $2.70 for a TTC token), and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the increase-happy TTC used time-based transfers as an excuse to hike up charges yet again.
About this article: