Just last week the government announced new plans to make transit more affordable, including discounts for GO Transit trips within the GTA.
Included in the 2018 budget is $3 trips for GO Transit and the UP Express anywhere in Toronto, as well as 10 kilometer trips anywhere on the GO network, beginning in 2019. The fares will only be available to PRESTO card holders.
"All of this will make it easier for families to get around. It'll improve daily commutes and it'll ease congestion for subways and buses by offering people more options," Kathleen Wynne said at the announcement.
Work is also being done between transit agencies including YRT, MiWay, Brampton and Durham Region Transit to add fare discounts when someone transfers from one system to the TTC. There are transfers in place between all other local transit systems, but not with the TTC yet.
John Tory then took the stand and called this a "great day for the SmartTrack project," one of his key election promises in the last mayoral race. Besides adding 22 new stations, which has now been pared down to only six, the plan was to lower transit fares to the price of the TTC.
Though this is definitely a welcome move for transit riders in the city, it is questioned whether this move will help to reduce overcrowding on the subway and streetcar networks. GO Transit stations are more spaced out and not all are easily accessible by transit (or are accessible for people with disabilities and the elderly). Until the GO electrification is complete, it'll be generally faster to take the train to reach your destination but it comes far less frequently as other methods.
Until this program is implemented the pricing to ride GO Transit will remain a mess. It's more expensive to ride shorter distances, but on a KM-by-KM basis, it can cost less on some lines to ride the same distance than it does on others.